For the first time since 1999, South Windsor will be playing for the chance to represent the state in the New England Regional in Bristol.
South Windsor and Fairfield kick off their state championship best-of-three series Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Harwinton Sports Complex in Harwinton. The two section winners will play the second game on Sunday and a third on Monday if necessary.
"They have the support of the entire town; everyone is excited," South Windsor Little League President Al Maximino said. "They are just a great bunch of kids and everyone has contributed — from the first guy on the team to the 12th."
South Windsor is coached by Steve Curtis, who was a member of the 1999 South Windsor team that lost to North Branford in the state final. South Windsor's only out-of-state Little League appearance came in 1971, when both Section 1 and Section 2 winners advanced to the Eastern Regional.
South Windsor National advanced from District 8, going 6-0 in pool play and defeating Somers 4-1 in the district title game. South Windsor went on to beat Killingly and Colchester in the sectional tournament before knocking off Madison 9-8 in eight innings to set up this weekend's series with Fairfield. In total, South Windsor is 12-0 in tournament play.
"We need to continue to play strong defense," Maximino said. "You can't afford to give a team like Fairfield extra outs and opportunities. … But they are the only undefeated team left in the tournament, so they are confident and ready to go."
Fairfield is seeking its fourth New England Regional appearance in the past five years. Fairfield American lost to Norwalk 8-4 in sectional play but managed to survive the pool, defeating Farmington 2-1 in the sectional final in eight innings. Fairfield won the New England Regional in 2010 and 2012.
"The unique thing is every year it is a new year and a new team. Our guys aren't worried about Fairfield, they are just playing one game at time and are focused on continuing to do what they've done to get here," Maximino said.