FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The Fairfield American Little League All-Star baseball team has done it the hard way, but they will get a chance to play Saturday to reach the Little League World Series.
The Americans crushed Massachusetts on Friday, 11-0, to reach the New England championship game in Bristol. Fairfield will play undefeated Rhode Island on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the New England title. The winner advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
After a tense 17-11 win over New Hampshire on Thursday, Fairfield cruised on Friday. The Americans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and were never threatened. Richie Kerstetter’s three-run homer put Fairfield on the board. Kerstetter pitched the first four innings before giving way to Matthew Sawyer. Kerstetter also had an RBI single in a two-run fourth. Fairfield iced the game with six runs in the fifth.
Kerstetter finished the game with three hits and five RBIs. Ben Gaffney ripped two hits and scored two runs, while Michael Iannazzo lined three hits and also scored a pair. The Americans collected 12 hits, giving them 33 hits and 28 runs in their last two games.
Kerstetter walked three and struck out nine before turning the ball over to Sawyer, who pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth to end it via mercy rule.
After losing its first game of the tournament to New Hampshire, Fairfield has reeled off three straight victories. Rhode Island advanced by winning its first two games, beating Maine and Massachusetts. The team from Warwick, R.I., is well-rested as it has not played since Wednesday, but will need its best pitching effort to stop a torrid Fairfield team.
Fairfield American is playing in its fifth New England championship in the past seven years. The league captured New England championships in 2010 and 2012. Westport, in 2013, was the last Connecticut team to reach the Little League World Series.
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