FAIRFIELD, Conn. Fairfield lost in the semifinals of the East Regional last week, but the four-year run by the girls have set a standard that future teams will have a hard time duplicating.
Fairfield finished 16-2 in postseason play this summer. Over the last four years, primarily the same cast of girls has compiled a 60-8 record. They have collected Little League banners galore, including three New England championships as well as four titles in District 2, Section 1 and Connecticut. It all started in 2009, when the team went 12-2 and won the first state championship for the Fairfield Little League Girls Softball program.
Jarry Rasmussen, manager of the 12-and-under All-Stars the past two years, was an assistant to Dave McCartney on the 2009 team. McCartney was also manager of the team in 2010, which went 16-1 and suffered its only loss in the East Regional final. Doug Romero has also been part of the coaching staff during the run.
Besides the three coaches, players Brittany Romero, Anna Rasmussen and Mary Rose Finnigan have been part of all four teams. Maddie Russell and Shannon McCartney played on three of the teams. Six players from this years squad Megan Belinsky, Kayla Bivens, Zoe Holderied, Abrianna Natoli, Michael ODonnell and Megan Szuchman played on the 2010 and 2012 All-Star teams. Amanda Schram was a first-year All-Star for Fairfield this summer.
Fairfield played some close games even before the East Regional this summer. We didnt have a lot of room for error, Rasmussen said. They kind of caught the wave. I know a lot of people expressed surprise at how far we got, but I would never say that.
Romero led the region in batting (.579), hits (11), RBIs (nine), runs (nine), and pitching wins (three), along with several other categories in this year's regional.
But unlike its baseball counterpart, the New England softball winner does not advance to the World Series. In softball, only the East Region champion advances. In baseball, teams from the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions got to the World Series. The teams Fairfield lost to in each of the last two years advanced to the World Series.
That does not diminish the Fairfield girls' accomplishments. The 14-year-old team also won the Section 1 championship, and its 10-and-under team won the District 2 title. Other towns have made strides, but Fairfield softball remains the measuring stick in Fairfield County all led by a group of 12- and 13-year old girls who have won 60 games in four years against elite competition.
Sometimes we were a little bumbling and jumbling, but they believed in what we were doing, Rasmussen said. Theres a lot to be said about hard work.
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