Playing the Fairfield
Fairfield, Conn. defeats Auburn, Wash., 3-1, in Little League Baseball World Series opener
Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Friday, August 20, 2010, 1:00pm ET
The Fairfield, Conn. All-Stars seem to have a pretty good pitching formula in place to win the big games, even though Manager Chris Daley never really plans its out: have ace Nick Hardone throw as long as he can, and then bring in Eddie Magi to shut the door.
It worked splendidly in the New England region title game against Cumberland, R.I., as Hardone worked 5.2 innings before reaching the pitch-count limit. Magi then toed the rubber in a bases-loaded jam and got a strikeout to end a thrilling 1-0 game.
In today's opener of the 64th Little League Baseball World Series against Auburn, Wash., the formula happened to be in place yet again. Hardone tossed another 5.2 innings before reaching the 85-pitch limit, and Magi got Washington's Dylan Davis to fly out to right fielder Nate Klein to finish off a 3-1 win in front of 7,800 Little League fans at Volunteer Stadium.
"(Magi) is one of our top three starters," Daley said. "The way things played out, he was available and he got the job done both times."
Jack Quinn's two-run double with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning snapped a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game-winner.
"I knew he was going to throw a fastball to me because he couldn't walk me [after the first two batters of the inning reached base]," Quinn said.
Added Daley: "We just had to keep it close and hope to get a big hit late in the game, which we did."
The win puts Connecticut in Sunday's winners bracket game at Lamade Stadium against the either Pearland, Texas or Plymouth, Minn. Washington plays in Saturday's elimination contest against the loser of those teams.
Prior to Quinn's hit, Nardone escaped trouble in the top of the fifth with the score tied at 1-1. He surrendered a leadoff single to Tyler Tan and then a double to Ikaika Nahaku which advanced Tan to third. But Nardone got Isaiah Hatch to ground one to shortstop Tom Ryan, who threw a perfect strike to Connor Daley at the plate to tag out the sliding Tan.
Washington manager Kai Nahaku asked for a review of the play, a new rule instituted at this World Series, but the call was not overturned.
Nardone subsequently got another fielder's choice groundout before striking out Casey Manning to end the threat. Nardone fanned 10 overall (one more than his total from the New England region finale) and relied on that defense behind him to keep the Washington offense in check.
"I threw fastballs and set them up for the curve," he said. "The infield made a lot of nice plays. The defense keeps me in the game."
Manager Daley described the effective battery of Nardone and his son Conor this way: "They develop the game plan as the game goes on. Connor calls the game. These guys are really on the same wave length."
Something that helps make the formula work so well.