Trumbull National earns rematch with Fairfield American
TRUMBULL — The lucky fifth inning saved Trumbull National again.
Deadlocked in a tie game with Fairfield National and heading into the last of the fifth, Trumbull National scored four runs — the third time it put together a big fifth-inning rally to win a game — eliminating Fairfield National 6-2 in the loser’s bracket final of the District 2 Little League tournament Thursday night at Unity Park.
“Once again, the fifth inning, it’s the magic inning,” Trumbull National manager Matt Wood said. “Against Westport, against Fairfield American, against Fairfield National, it’s been the fifth inning and that seems to be the time when they get hungry.”
In a 4-3 win over Westport in the opening elimination game, Trumbull National scored a fifth-inning run to break the tie, and despite a 7-5 loss to Fairfield American the next time out, Trumbull scored five runs in the fifth to make things interesting.
Against Fairfield National, Trumbull used five singles and a walk to score four times and punch its return ticket for a rematch with Fairfield American.
“It was a great game,” Wood said.
With the victory, Trumbull National gets a third shot at Fairfield Amercian on Saturday in the winner’s bracket final at noon. Trumbull National would have to win on Saturday to set up the winner-take-all championship game on Sunday at 2 p.m.
In their two previous meetings, Fairfield American posted a 1-0 victory in round robin play and won 7-5 — after Trumbull National used a five-run fifth inning to get back into the game.
“We’ve beaten everyone in the district but them, so hopefully we can get them on Saturday and play again on Sunday and see what happens,” Wood said.
First-inning RBI singles from Matthew Wood and Luca Antonio gave Trumbull National a 2-0 lead. After that, Fairfield National starter Paddy Galvin settled down and pitched his team into the fifth before giving way to reliever Brendan Gagner.
“Paddy was fine. He gave up two (runs) through four … we came back, we were definitely sleepwalking through the first couple of innings, they took advantage of that, which is what good teams do,” Fairfield National manager Jack Kelly said. “We battled back but what’s been our Achilles’ heel all season has been our inability to get the big hit.”
Indeed. In the fourth, Fairfield had runners on second and third with one out and couldn’t score and in the fifth, had runners at first and second with one out. Again, nothing.
“We never got the big hit. You need the big hit to win,” Kelly said. “They made every play in the field, tip of the cap to them.”
An RBI double from Charlie Gulbin and a RBI single from Gagner tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth before that magic fifth inning lifted Trumbull National.
“Basically, we’ve been playing elimination games for the last five games,” Kelly said. “We were 1 and 2 and we had to beat Trumbull American and Fairfield American to stay alive and then we beat Westport in extra innings. Eventually, the snake is going to bite you.”
TRUMBULL NATIONAL 6, FAIRFIELD NATIONAL 2
FAIRFIELD NATIONAL 000 200 — 2 7 0
TRUMBULL NATIONAL 200 04X — 6 12 0
Records: Fairfield National (4-4, 1-2); Trumbull National (5-3, 2-1)
Batteries: FN — Paddy Galvin (L), Brendan Gagner (5) and Charlie Gulbin; TN — Jake Colucci, Henry Berrien (W, 5), Matthew Wood (6) and A.J. Albaladejo. Highlights: FN — Charlie Gulbin had an RBI double; Brendan Gagner had two hits, including an RBI single. TN — Jackson DePino went 3 for 3 and scored two runs; Matthew Wood went 2 for 3 with an RBI; Jeff Kraus, doubled, singled, scored a run and had an RBI; Henry Berrien had two hits and two RBI.