FAIRFIELD, Conn. Fairfield's 12-and-under softball team needed to show the heart of champion. It did, and now the girls are one victory away from claiming the Section 1 championship.
Fairfield defeated Seymour, 8-5, on Monday at Unity Park in Trumbull. Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Fairfield sent 12 batters to the plate, scored seven runs and showed the moxie that defines a team that is serious about extending its summer of softball.
"We've had some big innings this year, but nothing like that,'' manager Jarry Rasmussen said. "We talked about trying to cut that deficit in half. We got it going, and then we were able to keep the momentum."
Sarah Cotto and Anna Rasmussen singled to start the inning. After a double steal, Emma Houghton delivered a sacrifice fly. Erin Rosengren followed with an RBI double. After another out, Madison Burress drove home Rosengren with an RBI single. The next six batters singled. Gabriella Natoli, Alice Nelson and Rasmussen had RBIs, and Brittany Romero scored on a wild pitch. Cotto and Rasmussen each had two hits in the inning. "I really wasn't nervous,'' Anna Rasmussen said. "I've seen these games turnaround. There was plenty of game left."
Seymour, the District 3 champion, built a 5-1 lead with a run in the first, two in the second and two in the fourth off Romero, who struggled with control. She walked eight but struck out nine. She also got out of several big jams, as Seymour stranded seven runners over the first four innings. Romero finished strong, striking out two in the sixth to shut the door and pitching a scoreless fifth and sixth.
Cotto had three hits to lead Fairfield, while Rasmussen and Romero had two each. Fairfield (3-0) is the only undefeated team in the tournament and will play in the championship game Wednesday against a winner to be determined. Fairfield finishes up pool play Tuesday against winless Darien. Each of the other four tournament teams has at least two losses.
The Section 1 winner advances to next week's best-of-three state championship series, with the winner moving on to the New England Tournament.
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