Alex Smith hit a two-run, walk-off homer with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to earn Falmouth, Maine, a 3-2 win over Goffstown in the opener of the New England Regional Little League Tournament Friday at Breen Field in Bristol, Conn.
Leading 2-1 in the sixth, Goffstown was one strike away from victory after Clay Campbell struck out the first two batters of the inning. But Falmouth’s Joshua LeFevre hit a double, then advanced to third on a wild pitch.
That’s when Smith got up to the plate and drove Campbell’s seventh pitch, with a full count, over the center field fence for the victory.
“I think nerves got the better of us,” said Goffstown coach Mark Campbell. “And you can tell the 11-day layoff left us rusty.”
Goffstown could muster only five hits. One was a double by starting pitcher Connor Hujsak in the first inning.
Another factor: The fences at Breen Field are 225 feet away from home plate, 25 feet further than at Goffstown’s home field. “Our pitching kept us in it because we weren’t getting it done at the plate,” said Campbell. “We had three hits that went to the warning track. On our field, they would be out.”Falmouth scored first on a home run by Sam Manganello in the bottom of the first inning to make it 1-0. The game stayed that way until the top of the fifth.
That’s when Goffstown loaded the base with two outs and Ben Harris singled home Connor O’Connell to the tie it. Derek Steckowych reached first on an error by Smith and Hujsak scored to put Goffstown up 2-1.
Campbell relieved starter Hujsak on the mound in the fourth with a runner on. He gave up another hit but then closed the door, standing two Maine runners.
In the fifth, he retired three batters in order, then struck out the first two he faced in the sixth before LeFevre and Smith delivered.
“Their two best hitters hit home runs,” said Mark Campbell. “We had the opportunity, though. We kept scrappin’.”
Hujsak had six strikeouts over three innings.
“We’ve gotta win two more, that’s the bottom line,” said Campbell. “We need to regain that chip on our shoulder and play like we’re capable of.
“The sun always rises tomorrow,” said Campbell. “We’ll come back. We’re that kind of team.”