New York advances to Metro Region Championship after beating Fairfield American in five-hour marathon

Published on Tuesday, 9 August 2022 10:21
Written by Cameron Beall


BRISTOL – Five hours and 18 minutes after New York’s Brendan Hanley threw the first pitch to Connecticut’s Fairfield American Little League, the state champions from Massapequa Coast Little League punched their ticket to the inaugural Metro Region Championship on Friday.

After the top half of the first inning the game was sent into its first delay of the afternoon due to thunderstorms in the area; this delay lasted just over two hours.

Both teams went back to their dorms during the delay and New York manager Roland Clark explained that it was a team effort to keep each player mentally ready to resume play. The rain delay festivities included music and dancing even featuring some of the coaches.

New York wasted no time welcoming Connecticut back to the field in the bottom half of the first inning. After a leadoff single from Christian Bekiers, Joey Lionetti homered to right-center field to open up the scoring for both sides.

Lionetti was surprised to see his ball get over the fence. He thought it was going to fall in as a double into the gap, but Clark explained it was the perfect remedy out of the first delay.

“I think that’s what we needed moving out of a long rain delay like that,” Clark said. “It brought the fans back into the game. It got the team back into the game. It got us back to New York baseball and we wanted to make a statement.”

Connecticut got one run back in the third inning before Mother Nature made its presence known once again. At the conclusion of the third inning the game saw its second weather stoppage which lasted about 90 minutes.

The rain continued to fall for Massapequa Coast out of the second delay. The Empire State champions poured on five more runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Three-straight singles by New York helped them gain as much as a six-run advantage in the fifth.

The 7-1 New York lead heading into the final inning was nearly erased by Fairfield American. Connecticut sent all nine batters to the plate and was able to scratch four runs across before the afternoon finally came to a close.

Clark explained how they had a feeling this game was going to be interesting until the very end.

“No matter how it got done, we knew it would be a dog fight,” Clark said. “We always say that the game isn’t over until it’s over.”

Connecticut is still alive after Monday’s loss. They will now move to the elimination bracket for a game with Toms River East of New Jersey on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. 

Massapequa Coast will now have three days off before their winner-take-all Metro Region Championship on Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN. They’ll face the eventual winner of Connecticut and New Jersey.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports on Tuesday, 9 August 2022 10:21. Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2022 10:24.