Drbal lifts Westport 12s past Fairfield National in District 2
Updated 10:56 am, Monday, August 19, 2013
It took some pop from Chris Drbal and a little bit of trickery for the Westport Little League 12-year-old All-Stars to hand Fairfield National its first defeat in districts.
Drbal homered to lead off the game and socked a run-scoring triple in the sixth to lift Westport to a 6-2 victory in the winners' bracket final of the District 2 Tournament Wednesday in Trumbull.
"Chris is a stud. That was huge," Westport manager Tim Rogers said, referring to the first-inning blast that cleared the right-center field fence on the game's fifth pitch.
Westport (2-0) snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with two runs -- the first on a forced rundown. Drbal scored the go-ahead and eventual winning run, bolting from third to home after Chad Knight intentionally got himself into a rundown following a walk. Two batters later, Harry Azadian doubled to make it 4-2.
"We practiced that. We had one of our best baserunners on third," Rogers said, referring to the rundown. "It certainly wasn't that we didn't have confidence in the next hitter -- we thought the combination could get that done.
"We took a risk."
And for Westport, it proved to be a risk worth taking. After going unbeaten in four pool-play games, the all-stars can clinch the district title with a victory Saturday at 4 p.m. in Trumbull. Westport will meet the winner of Friday's elimination game (4 p.m. in Trumbull) between Fairfield American (1-1) and Fairfield National (1-1).
"When I saw the pitcher running towards (Knight), I knew I could steal home and be safe," Drbal said.
In the sixth inning, Westport tacked on two insurance runs on Drbal's triple -- one of the runs scoring when the throw home bounced away and rolled out of play -- to make it 6-2
Azadian, a right-hander, pitched the final two innings of spotless relief to wipe out Fairfield National's diminishing hopes. Max Popken earned the win by tossing a scoreless fourth inning.
"We got right back in the game. The game was a very winnable game for us," Fairfield National manager Lenny Klein said. "We put ourselves right in position. Unfortunately, we made some uncharacteristic bonehead plays.
"We're usually a lot sharper than that."
Trailing 2-0 after a half-inning, Fairfield National plated a run in the first on a groundout. But on the same play, the team had a runner thrown out at home.
Fairfield National tied it 2-2 in the third inning on Chris Bogan's RBI single.
After a shaky start, right-hander CJ Palmieri held Westport hitless from the second inning through the fourth, which gave Fairfield National time to fight back.
"We make a play or two, it's a different ball game," Klein said. "Being down 2-0 was nothing because we put ourselves right back in position to win the game. We were there. ... We knew it was going to be tight."
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WESTPORT 200 022 -- 6 6 1
FAIRFIELD NATIONAL 103 000 -- 2 4 2
Doubles: W -- Azadian. Triples: W -- Popken, Drbal. Home runs: W -- Drbal.