TRUMBULL >> After battling for nearly four hours, two days and 13 innings, when Westport’s Emily Stone finally made contact with the ball Saturday afternoon against Fairfield, all she was concerned about was making sure she actually touched the base.
In a conclusion of Friday night’s District 2 U12 Little League Softball title game at Unity Park in Trumbull, that was stopped in the 10th inning due to lack of light, both teams picked up right where they left off.
It took till the bottom of the 13th inning, but with two runners on and one out, Stone connected with a short blooper to right-center for the game-winning hit as Westport defeated Fairfield 14-13 for the title.
“At first I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to touch first base, otherwise what I just did had no point,’” Stone said. “And also, yes, my team has done it and it’s happening. And everything just changed when I saw it hit the field.”
This is Westport’s first U12 District 2 title since 1999 and a large portion of the girls played on the 10-11 squad last summer that won the state title.
“Never in my wildest dreams,” said Westport head coach Mark McWhirter of playing 13 innings. “I thought it was a six-inning game. I thought we had them, they kept coming back and nobody could put the other team away. Our kids fought hard; this is certainly meaningful. But these girls, they just like to play.”
Westport will advance to the state tournament on July 5 at the Old Tavern Complex in Orange at 1 p.m. They face the winner of the District 1 vs District 4 game.
After battling for nine innings Friday night and knotted at 13 apiece, McWhirter said he just told his players coming into today to just take it easy and relax. Don’t think about Friday’s tie game.
“They looked good today,” McWhirter said.
Part of Westport’s success came from pitcher Sophia Alfero who went four innings Friday and pitched the final innings Saturday. She was backed by a solid defensive performance in the infield and outfield.
“They (Fairfield) didn’t do much with her,” McWhirter said. “She had a great outing and she’s been doing tremendous for us.”
Stone said it’s a nice comfort having a strong presence on the mound in Alfero.
“It’s amazing,” Stone said. “If she ever falls short we never criticize. We always try to do our best to help her regain herself.”
For Fairfield, it was a heartbreaking finish as they battled back multiple times and stayed right with Westport for all 13 innings.
“There were 13 of them and they fought every tooth and nail,” head coach Matt DeSabella said. “Nine innings yesterday, today for four straight innings they fought hard, every single one of them. It hurts, but we stressed to them, keep your heads up…they fought hard, they are a great group of girls, they played well together as a team, and once again they should all be proud.”