FAIRFIELD >> Fairfield American Little League baseball head coach Mike Steed knows what it takes to win.
Two summers ago he watched his son Patrick and the 2012 American team advance to the Little League World Series. He witnessed Westport’s run last summer.
And now, American (4-0), along with an undefeated Fairfield National and tough Westport squad will be among a handful of teams vying to win the District 2 title this week and looking to extend their season. The double elimination tournament starts Monday at Trumbull’s Unity Park.
“The bar is set pretty high,” Steed said. “But we temper their expectations to say anything could happen, any team could beat any team. Just prepare for the games and see what happens.”
That’s good advice for the group of 12-year-old boys that have dreams of playing in Williamsport come August. For American, Steed has focused in on the philosophy of one game at a time.
“We asked them today what’s the most important game of the summer; it’s the next game,” Steed said last Saturday morning.
Playing in one of the toughest districts in the state, American has relied upon a balanced attack, featuring solid pitching, strong defense and the ability to put the ball to the bat when need be.
“What’s unique about this team is every kid can play every position,” Steed said.
American, which has a deep rotation on the mound, is led by PJ Egan who has two of American’s four wins.
“PJ has been our workhorse,” Steed said. “He’s done exceptionally well on the mound.”
At the plate Brian Howell has produced seven home runs in four games, including a walk off 3-run home run to defeat Monroe in the opening game of pool-play. Behind the plate catcher Vince Camera has shown his range at bat as well.
While American is undefeated, National comes into Monday’s tournament without a loss and on the other side of the bracket. The two clubs could potentially meet for the title at the end of the week.
National will play Monroe (3-1) Monday at 5:30 p.m., while American faces Westport (3-1) at 7:30.
“Fairfield is a great baseball town, National is an excellent ball club,” Steed said. “They’ve got great pitching, great hitting, great defense, they’re coached well. They know how to play well and win, I kind of feel we’re very evenly matched.”
Steed said while the idea of advancing further in the summer is always there, the kids have stayed grounded and focused on that next game mantra.
“Really our motto is, ‘Do it together,’” Steed said. “We can’t rely on one kid, we do it together, prepare in practice together and just go out there and have fun.”