TRUMBULL -- The Westport Little League team made one outstanding defensive play after another through five innings against Trumbull American to preserve a two-run lead with hopes of advancing to the District 2 semifinals.
Then the sixth inning happened, and all of the web gems were overshadowed by an offensive barrage that left both coaches at a loss for words to explain.
Adam Petro hit three home runs, including two as part of a 16-run sixth inning as Westport defeated Trumbull American 18-0 on Thursday afternoon at Unity Park to advance to the knockout stages. Westport (3-1) will meet Fairfield American (4-0) in a double-elimination semifinal that starts Monday.
"I thought it was two baseball games," Westport coach Andy Thompson said. "We played a 2-0 game where (starting pitcher) Will Eichhorn pitched really well, we played some good defense and got a couple of home runs. The second half of the game, I can't believe how many runs we scored. It was a very different ballgame."
The top of the sixth inning lasted 35 minutes, included 20 batters, five walks and four home runs. Westport scored nine runs on eight hits before an out was recorded.
"We led off with an error and I can't explain what happened after that," Trumbull coach Greg Kauffman said. "Never in my life; (my assistants and I) have never seen anything like that whatsoever."
Petro and Luc Yokoi belted back-to-back home runs in the third inning to stake Westport a 2-0 lead.
Trumbull (2-2), which fell 5-2 to Fairfield National on Monday, had opportunities to tie up the game in the middle innings. With runners on first and second with two outs, Trumbull's Brian Hance hit a hard single up the middle to the outfield. Westport centerfielder Blake Lawrence made a sharp throw and Yokoi made a perfect tag to record the final out of the inning.
"(Westport) made some nice defensive plays," Kauffman said. "We're looking at a 2-2, 3-2 game in that scenario.
Eichhorn fired five shutout innings for Westport, scattering five hits and recording five strikeouts. Eichhorn and Lawrence also hit home runs.
Petro went 3-for-5 with eight RBI for Westport, while Kevin Rabacs went 2-for-4 with a walk.
"(Petro was) unbelievable," Thompson said. "I think he was having fun; that's we want our kids to do is to just go up there and have fun and that's what he was doing and we're really proud of him."
Westport now moves onto elimination play hoping to duplicate the success from last season's team that went 17-0 to advance to the Little League World Series.
"There are a lot of strong clubs in that next round," Thompson said. "We're going to do the same thing that we did in this round; come out every game ready to play and give it our best shot."
WESTPORT 200 00(16)--18 14 1
TRUMBULL AMERICAN 000 000--0 6 2