For motivation, Steve Hanna says his players on the Ridgefield Little League 12-year-old All-Star team need only look back to last summer. After winning a district title and advancing to the state quarterfinals as 10-year-olds in 2015, Ridgefield lost in the district semifinals as 11-year-olds a year ago. \u201cHopefully, last summer will push us to do better this year,\u201d said Hanna, the team\u2019s manager. \u201cThey were disappointed to not go farther after winning districts the summer before.\u201d With nearly all of its core players from the past two post-seasons back, Ridgefield is considered one of the favorites in District 1. \u201cIt\u2019s a real tight group with great chemistry,\u201d said Hanna, who also managed the players as 10- and 11-year-olds. \u201cThat\u2019s a definite plus for us.\u201d On the field, Ridgefield is skilled in several key areas, according to Hanna. \u201cPitching, speed and defense,\u201d he said. \u201cI would say those are our strengths. We have some big bats \u2014 five or six guys can hit home runs \u2014 but I don\u2019t think we are a power-hitting team.\u201d Joel Strand, the team\u2019s closer the past two years, has moved into the starting rotation for Ridgefield. \u201cHe has always thrown the ball hard, but he has improved his accuracy and also developed a change-up,\u201d said Hanna about Strand. Twin brothers Matthew and Daniel Bucciero \u2014 who recently led Community Center to the Ridgefield Little League Majors Division town championship \u2014 join Will Hanna and Justin Keller in Ridgefield\u2019s five-man pitching staff. \u201cAll of them could start for us,\u201d said Steve Hanna, \u201cand all of them can pitch out of the bullpen.\u201d Aidan Stern, Aidan Bogursky and Strand are the team\u2019s catchers, with Strand and Matthew Bucciero at first base and Bogursky and Hanna at third base. Ridgefield\u2019s middle infield features Hunter Jewell at second base and Daniel Bucciero at shortstop. Grady Gernert returns in centerfield, backed by Hanna and flanked by a corner-outfield group that includes Matthew Shepard, Justin Heinsohn, Brendan Busby, Myles Gythfeldt, and Keller. At the plate, Ridgefield will look for Matthew and Daniel Bucciero to get on base and set the table for middle-of-the-order hitters Keller, Strand and Hanna. \u201cThose are the likely top-five batters,\u201d said Steve Hanna. \u201cAfter that we have a lot of kids who can put the bat on the ball and play small ball and some other guys, like Heinsohn and Busby, who have bigger bats.\u201d Notes: Mike Bucciero and Craig Bogursky return as Ridgefield\u2019s coaches. Stamford National is considered the favorite after winning both the District 1 and state championships as 11-year-olds last year. Wilton should also be strong, according to Steve Hanna. Ridgefield plays the first of three Pool A games on Sunday at noon against Stamford North at Fitzgerald Field. The team\u2019s other pool games are Tuesday (7:30) at Weston and Friday (5:45) at Darien. Once pool play is completed, the teams who are unbeaten or have one loss will advance to the double-elimination playoffs. The district winner moves on to the state tournament, with that champion heading to regionals. The regional winner qualifies for the Little League World Series in Williamsburg, Pa.