Fairfield National LL gets past Westport
Published 12:00 am, Friday, June 30, 2017
TRUMBULL — Just call them the cardiac kids.
Just two days after John Heitzman’s walk-off home run in bottom of the sixth gave Fairfield National an electric victory over Trumbull American, the same scenario was playing out Wednesday night against Westport. Tied after six innings, the game moved to extras where just one mistake could prove to be the difference.
And this time, Heitzman delivered again.
His two-run home run in the top of the seventh, highlighted a four-run rally as Fairfield National got past Westport 6-2 at Unity Field. Fairfield National improved to 3-0 in round robin play while Westport, who defeated Monroe 3-1 earlier this week, fell to 1-1.
“It was a hard-fought game, I’m really proud of the players,” Westport coach Tom Whelan said. “We just had that one tough inning in the seventh. The comeback (Westport was down 2-0), the kids were really excited for each other, the kids all had each other’s backs ... we’ll bounce back.”
It was another well-played game by both sides, with solid defensive plays showing up on both sides. Westport pulled off a 6-4-5 double play in the fifth and threw a runner out at the plate in the third on a wild pitch-attempted steal while Fairfield National also threw a runner out at the plate and played its second straight error-less game.
“We played great,” Fairfield National manager Jeff Passeck said. “The first five innings, we left a lot of men on base … we hit a lot of balls right at people and for whatever reason, we waited until the seventh inning to break out.”
Tied 2-2 heading to the top of the seventh, Jack Passeck reached after being hit on the helmet on a pitch from reliever Alex Laskin and scored the go-ahead run when Heitzman, homering in his third straight game, crushed a pitch deep over the fence in right center to put Fairfield National ahead 4-2.
After Heitzman’s blast put Fairfield National in front, Charlie Swanson and Griffen Polley answered with back to back blasts - three straight home runs - to give Fairfield National a four-run cushion.
“Oh my, John’s ball vanished into the darkness and then Charlie Swanson and Griffen Polley, that was great,” Passeck said.
Before that offensive explosion, however, it was a pitcher’s duel between Fairfield’s Nick Hios and Westport’s James Hillhouse. Hios pitched into the fifth, allowing just two runs and four hits with three strikeouts while Hillhouse surrendered just two runs and five hits with five strikeouts.
Fairfield National took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Garrett Larsen walked, went to third on a double from Passeck and scored on a wild pitch. National grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third when Harry Tavella launched a solo home run over the fence in left.
But Westport answered in the fourth when Hiro Wyatt singled and scored on three wild pitches to cut the Fairfield lead to 2-1. Westport tied the game in the fifth when David Gervasio opened with a single, advanced to second on a bunt single from Hillhouse, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Jason Wolgast singled to center.
But after that, Westport was silenced by the relief work of Passeck, who picked up the win, allowing no runs and three hits while striking out six in three innings.
“Nick was great. Jack was great. Nick gave up four hits and walked a couple of guys, I just thought we was getting a little tried out there and I wanted to get a fresh arm in there and we went to Jack to close it down,” Jeff Passeck said.
“I knew that the top of their lineup was coming up, so I wanted to attack them,” Jack Passeck said. “I had some good defense behind me on some hard-hit balls, I just tried to throw strikes.”