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Fairfield American Outslugs National for D2 Crown

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Grant Carnemark changed his routine Sunday morning. The Fairfield American Little Leaguer needed something special before his team’s District 2 championship game against Fairfield National . So his father mixed him up a “power shake” to wash down his cereal.

Carnemark might want to down one before every game. The 12-year-old hit three of this team’s eight home runs in Fairfield American’s 26-12 victory over its cross-town rivals. The Americans put together a 16-run sixth inning to win the league’s second straight District 2 championship.

“It was a team effort,” Carnemark said. “We all did our part, and we got it done.”

Fairfield American jumped ahead early with five runs in the first inning with homers by Connor Lynch, Carnemark and Brendan Flynn. National answered with a two-run home run from Hunter Rempe and Reed Harrington’s baserunning to put the score at 5-3 by the end of the first. American then pulled further ahead with a two-run double from Eddie Schwartz and Carnemark’s second homer to lead 10-3 in the middle of the third.

National, however, showed off the hitting that led to their 11-3 victory the day before . The boys took advantage of American’s walks and errors to pull within 10-7 entering the fifth. The Nationals then used a four-run rally capped off by Jack Cohen’s two-run double to take their only lead of the game at 11-10.

Faced with their last at-bats, American turned up the heat in the top of the sixth. The defending champs sent up 22 batters and recorded 13 hits in the last inning alone, including homers from Sean Gutierrez, Schwartz, Carnemark and Flynn. By the time Zavier Espinel, National’s fourth pitcher of the inning, recorded the final out, 16 American players had crossed the plate in the inning.

National seemed primed for a comeback to start the sixth when Jono Zarrilli launched a ball over the right field fence. But the second-base umpire had called time out before the pitch, negating what would have been a two-run homer. Instead, National managed only a single run on a fielder’s choice in its last half-inning.

“The wheels just fell off,” National manager Luis Garcia said. “And we just couldn’t put them back on.”

Fairfield American’s next challenge will be the Section 1 tournament, beginning Wednesday night in Orange. The defending New England champs will face District 4 champions East Haven in its first game.

Do you think Fairfield American can return to the Little League World Series this year?

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