TRUMBULL >> The Fairfield American Little League baseball team played true to their team motto Saturday afternoon.
“Our motto for the whole team is we do it together,” American head coach Mike Steed said. “And we have different heroes every night; and that’s the beauty of this team is they pick each other up.”
With the district title up for grabs, American displayed that quality against a tough Westport squad.
Tied at three headed into the six inning, American’s Jamie Flink blasted a 3-run home run for the eventual game-winning runs.
American added two more runs in the sixth and then starting pitcher PJ Egan collected the final three outs as American defeated Westport 8-3 for the District 2 Little League title at Unity Park.
With the win, American moves on the Division 1 play on Thursday. They will face the winner of the Division 4 vs Division 1, who play on Wednesday at the Orange Little League Complex.
“I’m surprised and just really happy,” Flink said.
True to their motto, American needed a little help from everyone Saturday against a gritty Westport squad.
Starting pitcher Will Eichhorn kept the normal high-powered American offense guessing at the plate, allowing a lot of infield hits that the defense took control of. American’s Ian Bentley, who finished the day 4-for-4, provided his team with two RBI’s through the first three and a half innings for a 2-0 lead.
“I thought Will Eichhorn pitched an unbelievable game,” Steed said. “He had us off balance all game. It was a gutsy performance by him.”
Down 2-0 headed into the bottom of the fourth, Westport cut the lead in half with an RBI double.
Bentley came through again for American at the plate, as he hit a two-out solo home run in the fifth for the 3-1 advantage.
Westport, however, came right back. With one on, Adam Petro smashed a 2-run home run over centerfield to tie the game at three apiece.
“I was really nervous when that home run was given up, but I knew PJ (Egan) would keep firing strikes and that kid just put a good swing on the ball,” Flink said.
American stayed calm and slowly chipped away in the top of the sixth. Two runners got on, which set up Flink, who got a good pitch that carried over the right field fence for a 3-run home run and the 6-3 advantage.
“Running around the bases I was just so happy,” Flink said. “When I put the swing on the ball, I saw the right fielder going back and I didn’t know if it was going to go out and luckily it did. I didn’t know I put that good of a swing on it.”
American’s Brian Howell got on base and then Vince Camera, who was named the tournament’s MVP, added a 2-run home run for the 8-3 lead.
Egan, who collected his fourth win of the summer, fired the final three outs as American was able to celebrate the programs fourth district title since 2010.
“We’re really lucky,” Flink said of Egan. “He just keeps firing strikes, keeps us in the game, never gives up. He’s such a workhorse.”
For Westport, the loss ended an incredible run in the district tournament. After an opening loss on Monday, the team strung together two impressive wins – beating Fairfield National and Monroe – to fight for a spot in the district final.
“Our team is representing the town of Westport, they are all all-stars coming together, they’re friends, it’s a great experience,” Westport head coach Andrew Thompson said. “I just couldn’t be prouder of them. And what I told them at the end was they should hold their heads high; they played an amazing tournament.”