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Fairfield Little Leaguers Sticking Around

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File photo from the Little League World Series. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

File photo from the Little League World Series. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ Kevin Oricoli finally has
bragging rights over his big brother.

Not many 12-year-old boys can say they hit a two-run single at
the Little League World Series.

Oricoli’s two-out clutch hit keyed a three-run third inning, and
Matt Kubel silenced Nebraska’s bats to help Fairfield, Conn., avoid
elimination Saturday at the Little League World Series with a 12-0
victory.

Oricoli is savoring the moment _ and not just because his team
is one step closer to a Little League title.

His 14-year-old brother, Jack, played on the Fairfield American
All-Star team last year that lost in the regional semifinals. Egged
on by his manager, Bill Meury, Oricoli didn’t waste an opportunity
to talk smack following Saturday’s win after a reporter asked who
was getting the last laugh in the Oricoli family.

“Right now, right now, everyone except my brother. As you know,
I made it farther than him,” Oricoli said, smiling, as Meury
laughed. “Now, he’s jealous of me and now it’s kind of awkward
around him now because he’s jealous.”

The kids from Curacao were feeling pretty good, too, after
staying in contention with a 14-2 victory over Ramstein Air Base,
Germany. The Kearney, Neb., team and Germany will play Monday in a
consolation game after both teams were eliminated.

Mexico also relied on the lumber in eliminating from contention
the adopted hometown favorites from Uganda, 12-0. New Jersey and
Oregon were scheduled to face off in the nightcap, with the loser
facing Uganda in another consolation game Tuesday.

Connecticut gets a well-earned day off before returning to the
diamond Monday. Kubel, a 13-year-old lefty whose favorite player is
Yankees ace lefthander C.C. Sabathia, frustrated his foes with
well-placed fastballs and about a half-dozen harmless bouncers to
third.

Kubel, who struck out six over 4 2-3 innings, was a little
anxious coming into the elimination game.

“Obviously, you get a little nervous looking at 10,000 people
in the stands, but I just tried to focus and play my game,” he
said with an ice pack strapped to his left elbow.

Nebraska’s strategy to swing early in the count to avoid falling
behind to Kubel and his big curve didn’t work.

After Connecticut’s own slow start, the offense exploded for
three runs in the third and six in the fourth. Both times, the
bottom of Connecticut’s order got the rallies going.

Ninth-place hitter Patrick Steed reached base on a walk in the
third before coming home on Oricoli’s single. Steed also doubled in
a run in the fourth. Will Lucas added a homer and five RBIs.
Nebraska manager Brad Wegner hoped to get his team refocused to
leave South Williamsport with a win in Monday’s consolation game.

“They’ve had a great time, but they’re hugely disappointed,”
Wegner said. “It’s been an awesome experience.”

One that Jack Oricoli was able to share with his little brother
after cheering him on from the stands. He took Kevin’s good-natured
ribbing in stride.

“He was with me last year during regionals and I’m here with
him in Williamsport,” Jack said as the boys’ father, Steve, smiled
nearby. “And yeah, he’s gotten farther than me and he’s teasing me
about it.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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