BEDFORD - The threes were wild for Bedford Little League.
Bedford erupted for 10 runs in the third inning, highlighted by a trio of three-run home runs, en route to a 19-1 win over Salem in District I tournament play.
The Bedford win forces a winner-take-all final game Monday at 6 p.m. at Salem, which was previously undefeated. Bedford emerged from the loser's bracket.
"We're cautious. We did this two years ago against Rye. We beat them 14-1 and then we ended up losing the championship," Bedford coach Tim Destafani said. "We have to be cautious. This is a very good Salem team. We expect a much different result Monday."
Playing as the visiting team, Bedford was ahead 5-0 in the top of the third when the barrage began. In all, Bedford sent 14 batters to the plate in the frame.
Alex Douidi started things with a walk, Noah Lavalle doubled and Justin O'Neill homered to left field to make it 8-0.
Luke Ramsay drew a one-out walk, Spencer Adams singled and Jacoby Collins, who hit two home runs in Bedford's 8-6 win over Manchester North Friday, sent another blast over the left field wall for an 11-0 lead.Cade Destafani reached on an error, Matt Zifchak was hit by a pitch and Doudi used his second trip to the plate in the inning to deposit another pitch over the left field wall. Lavalle followed with a solo homer to make it 15-0. While the 10-run third was the big inning, things started to go Bedford's way in the first. Bedford battled at the plate, fouling off numerous pitches and forcing Salem starter Matt Soldano to throw 43 pitches that inning as Bedford built a 2-0 lead on a Graham Reynolds single and Noah Hughes home run to deep center.
"That (inning) hurt," said Salem coach Dean Borrelli. "We had to throw a lot of balls in the good part of the plate and these guys can hit."
Bedford scored three more runs in the second, with two of them coming on bases loaded walks. Salem scored its run in the bottom of the third on an error that scored Jake Emerson. Bedford then added three in the fourth to make it 19-1.
O'Neill came in to pitch with a runner on in the third and worked out of trouble there and then delivered a one-two-three fourth to end the game by mercy rule.
Salem will look to put the game behind them and regroup for Monday.
"The kids did a great job of brushing this aside. No one hung their heads," Borrelli said. "The message was, we know we're a better team than that and we know we can play with these guys. We get to play on Monday and we're going to come out with our 'A' game."