ORANGE >> It was over before it even began.
The Fairfield American Little League baseball team wasted no time in defeating Farmington 2-1 in eight innings for the Section 1 crown Thursday evening at Roche Field in Orange.
In a game that was postponed from Wednesday night due to weather, the two teams came back the next day with the score tied at one in the bottom of the eighth inning with American up to bat.
With two on and two outs, Fairfield’s Vince Camera slapped one to left field for the game-winning hit as John Reynolds crossed home. It took American less than 10 minutes to seal the win, as the game was finished before the scheduled 7 p.m. start time.
“That was quick. We knew it could happen,” Farmington head coach Dave Conrad said. “We didn’t make the plays.”
With the victory American moves onto the state tournament where they will face South Windsor in a best of three series. The first game starts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Harwinton Sports Complex in Harwinton.
American set up the game-winning play as Reynolds reached first on a fielder’s choice and then moved to second on a ground out. Brian Howell followed with a single. Camera came up and smacked the game winning hit.
“It was just like any other at bat, it didn’t feel any different,” Camera said of his game-winner.
Camera finished the game with two RBIs as he scored the teams only run Wednesday with a solo home run.
“Vince was just amazing,” American head coach Mike Steed said.
The quick finish almost erased an amazing performance from the mound on Wednesday as both teams were locked in a pitcher’s duel.
Farmington starter Benny Hughes threw six full innings striking out 12 and gave up just one hit. The tall, strong lefty kept Fairfield’s bats silent with a solid fastball.
“He’s the best pitcher we’ve faced,” Steed said. “Great velocity, great location…he’s very talented.”
“He’s been great all year,” Conrad said. “I think he’s given up four runs all year. He’s pretty tough for us.”
American’s PJ Egan was just as impressive as he went 4 2/3 inning, striking out six and gave up no hits.
American’s Brian Howell came in and pitched the final out of the fifth Wednesday, and provided solid relief for Egan. Howell pitched the full sixth and seventh inning, not giving up a run.
After failing to score in the bottom of the fifth, Farmington walked and then advanced to third. An error in the infield scored Farmington to tie the game at 1.
American couldn’t muster a run in the bottom of the sixth as the game went to extra innings on Wednesday.
Howell did a nice job of holding Farmington’s offense at bay, as did Farmington’s Ben Scudder.
“The second kid (Howell) we saw was probably the hardest we saw,” Conrad said. “The first kid (Egan) was probably the smartest pitcher we saw. They were good; they’re not here for no reason. He mixed up the curve ball, he hit the corners; they made our big guys reach.”
After failing to score in the bottom of the fifth Wednesday evening, Farmington walked and then advanced to third. An error in the infield scored Farmington to tie the game at 1.
American couldn’t muster a run in the bottom of the sixth as the game went to extra innings.
Now, American gets ready for the state tournament this weekend. This group won the state title last year as 11s.
“It’s pretty good; it’s only two teams from all of Connecticut move onto the tournament and it’s pretty special to do it two years in a row,” Camera said.