FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s softball team won its second straight state championship Sunday with a 7-6 extra-inning win over Mystic. The team did it the way it always has in each of the last two years, by taking advantage of the smallest mistake of its opponents.
Megan Belinsky scored on a passed ball with two outs in the seventh inning to lift Fairfield to a 2-0 sweep in the best-of-three series. Fairfield won Saturday’s opening game, 7-4. The girls advance to the East Region tournament beginning Friday. Fairfield plays Swanton, Vt. in its first game on Friday at 8 p.m.
“That’s something we practice all the time,” manager Jarry Rasmussen said. “We practice a lot of the little things. Sometimes the parents think we’re crazy. Mystic didn’t even make a throw to the plate.”
Belinsky singled with two outs and stole second and third. Amanda Schramm fell into an 0-2 hole before fouling off two pitches before Belinsky slid in with the winning run.
Besides Belinsky’s big play, Fairfield got a gritty effort from pitcher Maddie Russell. After getting carried off the field in Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle, she returned Sunday to go the distance. She settled in after allowing four first inning runs.
“We didn’t expect to see Russell at all,” Rasmussen said. “We would’ve been down to our fourth or fifth pitcher. Our No. 3 pitcher got hurt in the sectional tournament. We kept working at it. We asked her, ‘Can you walk? Can you jog?’ She just battled through it.”
Fairfield was tested in both games. In the opener, Mystic jumped on starter Brittany Romero for a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning. Fairfield responded with a five-run inning to take the lead for good, and added two more later in the game.
In Sunday’s game, Fairfield scored four runs in the fifth for a 6-4 lead before Mystic tied it with two in the sixth. A diving catch by Michaela O’Donnell in center prevented further damage. That set the stage for the final drama in the seventh.
“We were very nervous in the first game,” Rasmussen said. “I think we made three errors on one play in the first inning. We settled down after that. Mystic played quite well. They like to run you right off the field. They hit Brittany hard, but we were able to make the plays and they were frustrated.”