Little League: Trumbull National rallies in fifth to top rival

Trumbull National put together a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning to capture 4-1 victory over Trumbull American in the District 2 Majors 12U tournament at Unity Park on Saturday.

“This was bittersweet,” Trumbull National manager Matthew Wood. “These kids play travel ball together. My hat’s got to go off to their coaches. It’s just a tough district. Kids got bigger; kids got stronger. I was hoping to play them in the elimination round.”

Trumbull National will meet Westport in the double-elimination playoff bracket opener on Monday at 5:30 at Unity Park. Fairfield National will play town rival Fairfield American at 7:30.

“We left runners on base all day, and all of a sudden, the bottom of the lineup comes up, they’re getting the ball in play, putting some pressure on the (defense).”

Both teams scored runs in their first at bat, before pitchers dominated until the home fifth.

Sean Francoeur and Jake Colucci stood out on the hill for Trumbull National. Derren Wood and Matt LaSala were lights out for Trumbull American.

In the decisive fifth, Luca Antonio and John Duda drew one-out walks and moved up a base on a passed ball. Ben Miller then hit the ball to the right side, and Antonio slid under the tag at home to break the 1-all deadlock.

LaSala then struck out his second batter of the inning, but Francoeur beat out a ball hit to the third base bag. Duda scored on the play. With runners on first and second, Jackson DePino delivered the final run home with a single to left.

Trumbull American went on top 1-0 in the top of the first when Jake Hull’s sacrifice fly scored LaSala, who had walked. The American’s stranded two in the inning.

Antonio drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game in the home half of the frame, in an inning sparked by Francoeur’s single and Matthew Woods’ double.

But a pattern was forming as Trumbull American pitchers got out jams in the second, third and fourth.

Miller reached on an error and Charlie Krasinski walked to open the Trumbull National second.

Wood struck out two batters, around a single by DePino, and enticed an inning-ending grounder to second.

In the third, Wood struck out four batters. He got the extra k after Hayden Brill reached on a strikeout-wild pitch.

D.J. Amaral was the featured player in the home third, as Trumbull American’s right fielder made a tough sliding catch on Jett Daly’s foul ball to deny him another swing.

Francoeur walked, but Woods caught a liner from DePino for the second out.

Amaral looked to make another sparkler on Woods’ sinking drive, but it was ruled a trap.

The Nationals had two runners on base. LaSala came on in relief and put the third out in the book on a roller to first base.

Trumbull American’s Jack Durland led off the second with a single, but Francoeur set down eight consecutive batters before Durland walked on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth.

Jake Colucci came in to pitch and Matthew Wood made a fine scoop of a hard hit ball hit to first by Drew Colucci to end the threat. Jake Colucci struck out the side in the top of the fifth.

Trumbull American’s Cole Occhicone singled with two outs in the sixth, but was stranded.

Matthew Wood is assisted by Pete Kraus and Mitch DePino. Trumbull National players are Sean Francoeur, Jackson DePino, Luca Antonio, Matthew Wood, Jeff Kraus, Henry Berrien, John Duda, A.J. Albaladejo, Jett Daly, Ben Miller, Charlie Krasinski, Hayden Brill and Jake Colucci.

Trumbull American manager Vince DeSala is assisted by Dave Fowler. Team members are Matt LaSala, Nick Lobuono, Ryan Warner, Jake Hull, Dylan Lamy, D.J. Amaral, Jack Durland, Derren Wood, Brandon Fowler, Cole Occhicone, Drew Colucci, Connor Stamos and Ryan Paine.