HARWINTON >> Thirteen games into the summer and Fairfield American Little Leaguer Jamie Flink said he’s still in a little bit of awe each time he hits a home run.
The left-handed hitter blasted a 3-run home run Sunday afternoon at Harwinton Sports Complex against South Windsor in the bottom of the third inning to break open the state tournament game and help propel Fairfield to a 12-2 win in four innings.
“It’s kind of a surprise each time it goes over the fence,” Flink said with a smile. “But I don’t know, I just try and be patient and wait for a good pitch to drive.”
With the victory, Fairfield (12-1) swept South Windsor (they won Saturday, 10-0) to claim the state crown and advance to the New England Regional Tournament in Bristol at the Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center.
Fairfield’s first game will be Friday at 8:15 p.m. against Williston of Vermont.
This will be Fairfield American’s fourth time in five years advancing to the regional tournament as a program and fifth straight year for a District 2 team.
“It’s going to be pretty cool,” Flink said of regionals. “I went to watch other Connecticut teams and it looks really awesome, and I’ve always wanted to go. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Playing without one of their starting players – third baseman Zach Hoffman, who was drilled in Saturday’s game with a line-drive to the face – South Windsor came out strong Sunday afternoon.
Jacob Main scored first after he singled and then came home on a wild pitch in the top of the first. South Windsor (12-2) added one more in the third, as starting pitcher Ethan Grade held Fairfield’s offense silent for the first two innings.
“Their pitcher did a great job mixing his pitches early in the game so the guys were off balance,” Fairfield American head coach Mike Steed said. “We really respect them as a team. It had to be a tough ride here to the ball park to go out there and compete knowing one of their best buddies suffered a serious injury. It’s a credit to them, credit to their fight, and it’s a credit to their love of baseball.”
Fairfield’s starting pitcher PJ Egan was able to work himself out of a few jams and hold South Windsor to just two runs through the first three innings.
In the bottom of the third, Fairfield’s offense came alive. Flink scored his team’s first run off an RBI double from Vince Camera that was misplayed in the outfield. Ian Bentley followed with an RBI single to tie the game, and then with the bases loaded, Fairfield’s Sam Davenport walked and the go-ahead run came in for the 3-2 lead.
Fairfield’s offense kept attacking as Flink put the game out reach with a 200-foot plus 3-run home run for the 8-2 lead.
“The hitters learned to be patient and took advantage of opportunities,” Steed said.
Egan threw back to back Ks to highlight the fourth and Fairfield’s offense picked up right where it left off. Fairfield scored three runs and then with the bases loaded again, Brain Howell got hit by a pitch that sent the game-winning run across home plate to end the game early due to the mercy rule.
“It’s great, we’re so happy for the kids,” Steed said of advancing to the regionals. “Obviously every little league team in the state has had their sights on it and has aspired to it and just so thrilled for them.”