Salem hangs on to win LL championship series opener
Jake Delaney was the starting pitcher for Salem Little League when they matched up against Rye on Saturday afternoon in Manchester. (Bruce Preston / Union Leader)
The District I champions rallied late to knock off Rye, 8-4, on Saturday at Manchester Central Little League's Sam Harris Field and move one step closer to the state Little League championship.
The teams meet again today at 5 at Harris Field for Game 2. Game 3, if necessary, will be on Tuesday at 5:45.
"That's a real good example of our team being resilient," said Salem manager Dean Borrelli. "The kids contained their emotions and were aggressive on the bases. Hats off to them."
He came on in relief of Salem starter Jake Delaney in the second inning and shut down a rally and limited Rye to a couple of hits over the last four innings.
"He's been like that the whole tournament," Borrelli said. "It's like he's got ice in his veins. He pumps strikes in there and throws hard."
"One inning," said Rye manager Ron King. "That's what baseball is sometimes. One inning. We didn't hit like we wanted to. That's a really good team. But I don't think the score is an adequate reflection of how good a team we are."
Down 2-0, Salem grabbed its first lead with the three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Nick Robertson led off with a single to right field and Delaney drilled a 1-and-1 pitch over the wall in center field to tie it.
Mike Borrelli then reached when he was hit by a pitch. Donovan Abraham put down a sacrifice bunt and Borrelli hustled his way to third base. He scored on John Palardy's ground out to the third baseman.
Salem struck again in the bottom and got five runs in to go up 8-4 before there were any outs.
"We played a little small ball and the leadoff bunt was huge," Borrelli said. "The kids had good at-bats, fouling balls off, laying off pitches that weren't in the zone."
Rye opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Spencer Leger led off with a bunt single and Will Gerrish was hit by a pitch. The runners moved up on a passed ball and Leger then scored on Calvin Kobynski's sacrifice fly to right fed. Gerrish slid under the tag and scored on another passed ball.
Salem answered quickly.