Lufkin All-Stars reach U.S. title game
By Brandon Ogden
Aug. 24, 2017 at 9:46 p.m.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — After suffering its first loss Wednesday night, many people were unsure how Lufkin would respond Thursday night.
An eight-run first inning quickly answered that question as Lufkin rolled to a 14-4 win over Fairfield, Connecticut, in five innings in an elimination game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
The win advances Lufkin to the United States Championship game against Greenville, North Carolina, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. That game will be televised on ABC.
Collin Ross got the scoring started with his third home run of the tournament — a three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning. Christian Mumphery and Chip Buchanan both scored on wild pitches to push the score to 5-0. Chandler Spencer then reached on an error to bring in Mark Requena for the sixth run, and Malcolm Deason had a two-run single to give Lufkin an 8-0 lead after the opening frame.
An RBI single by Blake Slaga scored Chip Buchanan in the second inning to push the score to 9-0.
Michael Ianazzo put Connecticut on the board in the top of the third inning with a two-run home run, but Lufkin had an answer as Charlie Deaton and Deason scored on wild pitches, and Hunter Ditsworth came home on an RBI ground out by Mumphery to give Lufkin a 12-2 advantage.
Connecticut avoided being run-ruled in the fourth inning when Sean O'Neil had a two-out RBI double. A home run by Matthew Vivona in the fourth inning cut the score to 12-4.
Lufkin eventually got its run-rule victory, though. Ditsworth, Ross and Mumphery all reached base to load the bases, and Clayton Wigley delivered a two-run single to put Lufkin as one of the final two teams remaining in the United States.
Lufkin's opponent in that game will be North Carolina, which edged Lufkin 2-1 in seven innings Wednesday night.
Against Fairfield, Requena struck out seven batters in 4 2/3 innings of work before reaching the 85-pitch limit. When Requena did get Connecticut to put the ball in play, Deason, Ross and the rest of the team were making defensive plays.