A loss to Fairfield National June 25 left the margin for error nonexistent for the Westport Little League team through the remainder of District 2 pool play. Westport returned to action on Monday in must-win mode against Stratford and, despite falling behind early, Westport's bats came alive in time to save their season.
Fraser Lyons hit a 2-run home run in the third inning to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead as Westport downed Stratford 5-1 at Unity Park in Trumbull. Westport improved to 2-1 in pool play with one game remaining.
"Every game is a must win, that's how we are approaching it," Westport coach Andy Thompson said. "We did feel a sense of urgency after dropping one to Fairfield; they were a good team and we needed to bounce back."
Westport trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the third inning. James Trinkle walked to lead off the frame and Lyons crushed a ball over the right-center field fence.
"Fraser Lyons got us going," Thompson said. "Whenever you face a hard throwing pitcher like (Stratford's); the second time through (the order) helps the kids get their timing better."
Westport plated three more runs in the fifth inning to seal the win. Adam Petro socked an RBI double against the outfield fence and Will Eichhorn had an RBI single.
"We had a couple of good hits," Lyons said. "Then we had the home run and it kind of carried on from there."
Westport pitcher Nick Rossi, who entered the game in the third inning, pitched three and two thirds innings to earn the win. Rossi struck out the side in the fourth inning and allowed just one hit. Adam Petro got the final out in the top of the sixth inning.
"Nick did an outstanding job," Thompson said. "His curveball was on, his fastball was on, he was locating. He was gritty, he got outs and that's what we needed."
The must-win approach will continue into the final round of group play on Thursday. Westport meets 2-1 Trumbull American in a virtual playoff game with the winner advancing to the district semifinals.
"(Trumbull) always puts a good team on the field; I know they are good this year," Thompson said. "I think it will be a good contest and we are looking forward to it."