After Fairfield used its top two starting pitchers in the previous night's New England regional victory, Steed knew he had to go with Flink, his No. 3 starter, who hadn't pitched in almost two weeks. Steed said he'd be mixing and matching pitchers throughout last Saturday night's game against Falmouth, Maine.
Flink, however, was so sharp there was no need to relieve him in Fairfield's 10-0, five-inning, mercy-rule victory at Breen Field in Bristol.
Flink threw a three-hitter with five strikeouts and two walks as the Americans improved to 2-0 in pool play and 14-1 overall with their sixth win in a row. Maine's first hit just eluded the dives of third baseman Brian Kiremidjian and shortstop Brian Howell a split second later. One of Maine's other two hits failed to escape the infield.
Other than that, Flink was dealing.
"We came into this game with a whole grid of potential pitching scenarios based on how the game was going to go, if Jamie was on or if there were challenges," Steed said Saturday night. "He was cruising. Jamie was being efficient. He was pitching lights out.
"From my perspective, that was the best pitching performance he's ever had."
"I definitely think that was one of my best performances," Flink said. "I had pretty good command, and the coaches called a pretty good game. I tried to keep the players off balance. I was kind of lucky."
But there was no luck involved with Fairfield's fielding (error free) and hitting (13 hits) once again.
"They're a great fielding team," said Matthew Rogers, the manager for Maine (1-1 New England, 10-3 overall). "They're a great team. We played a great game tonight and lost."
Maine's start was far from great. Fairfield used three infield hits and three walks, along with one Maine error to open a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Vince Camera's bases-loaded walk produced the first run, then Ian Bentley, who went 3-for-4, drove in the second run with a comebacker for an infield hit.
The Americans then scored two runs each in the third, fourth and fifth innings. PJ Egan and Kiremidjian had run-producing hits in the third; Egan had one in the fourth, with the other coming off a double-steal before Camera's single drove in two in the fifth.
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New England Little League regional pool play
Fairfield American 10, Maine 0 (5)
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 402 22--10 13 0
MAINE 000 00--0 3 2