FAIRFIELD, Conn. – After a few days off to recover from a grueling run to the state championship, the Fairfield Little League Girls Softball 12-and-under All-Stars return to the field Friday to take on their hardest test yet.
Fairfield plays Swanton, Vt., at 8 p.m. in Bristol to start the Little League Eastern Regional Tournament. The winner of the 10-team tournament earns a berth in the World Series in Portland, Ore.
This is the second straight year Fairfield has reached the regional tournament. Last year, Fairfield fell in the championship game to New York, 9-5. Fairfield went 4-1 in pool play and won the New England championship.
Fairfield’s All-Stars have yet to lose this summer. The girls went 5-0 to win the District 2 title, then mowed down the Section 1 field with another 5-0 mark. Fairfield won two straight games over Mystic to win the Connecticut championship.
Fairfield has had its share of challenges, however. In the District 2 championship game, Fairfield rallied to nip Black Rock, 4-3, on a two-run single by Maddie Russell in the fifth inning. In the Section 1 tournament, Fairfield topped Darien, 2-0, with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. In the Section 1 title game, Fairfield beat North Branford, 3-1.
Russell and Brittany Romero have been the team’s primary pitchers. That has been one of the team’s strengths, along with its defense. Fairfield allowed only five runs in the Section 1 tournament.
Romero, Anna Rasmussen and Mary Rose Finnigan are the only three players who return from last year’s team. Romero was 2-0 in the Eastern Regional tournament last year and Rasmussen and Finnigan were part of an offense that led the region in runs scored. Jarry Rasmussen and his coaches, Doug Romero and Dave McCartney, were also the coaches of last year's team.
Fairfield plays on Saturday at 5 p.m. against Cumberland, R.I., on Monday at 8 p.m. against Scarborough, Maine and on Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Worcester, Mass. The top four teams from New England begin elimination play on Wednesday. The East Regional championship game is scheduled for July 27.