Fairfield American tops Ridgefield in LL state sectionals

Scoring all of its runs in a two-inning span, Fairfield American defeated Ridgefield, 6-2, in the first game of the Little League 11/12-year-old state sectionals Wednesday in North Branford.

Ridgefield, the District 1 champion, will now play host North Branford (the District 4 winner) tonight in the second of its two pool-play games in Section 1.

By beating Ridgefield, Fairfield American, the District 2 champion, remained unbeaten in post-season play. Fairfield (10-0) will face North Branford in the final pool-play game tomorrow.

On Wednesday night, Fairfield American opened the scoring with a four-run rally in the bottom of the second inning. The big hit was Michael Iannazzo's three-run triple, which came with two outs and the bases loaded.

Ridgefield got one run back in the top of third. Matthew Bucciero and Daniel Bucciero singled and Justin Keller walked to load the bases with two outs. Joel Strand was then hit by a pitch to force home Matthew Bucciero and cut Ridgefield's deficit to 4-1.

But Fairfield American responded in the bottom of the inning, as Sean O'Neil's two-out triple scored two runs and made it a 6-1 game.

Ridgefield closed within 6-2 on Keller's solo homer in the top of the fifth, but Fairfield American's third pitcher of the game, Matt Vivona, retired the side in order in the top of the sixth to end the contest.

Notes: Strand started for Ridgefield and went two and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on three hits while walking one batter and striking out six. Matthew Bucciero was charged with two unearned runs on two hits before giving way to Daniel Bucciero, who pitched two and one-third scoreless innings.

Matthew Bucciero, Daniel Bucciero, Keller, and Strand accounted for all four of Ridgefield's hits. Keller's solo shot was Ridgefield's 19th homer in its six post-season games.

The two-top teams at the end of pool play will meet on Saturday night (8 p.m. in Orange) to determine the Section 1 champion. The winner advances to the four-team state tournament in Guilford. Fairfield American is going for its fourth Section 1 title in the past five years.