MANCHESTER — Hampton mounted a great comeback, but luck eventually allowed Central Maine to prevail Sunday.
A six-run seventh inning rally just wasn’t enough for Hampton, which suffered a 12-11 losers bracket loss in the 13-15-year-old New England Babe Ruth regional tournament at Gill Stadium.
In other second round action Sunday, Pittsfield, Mass., eliminated Cranston R.I., 10-1, and Waterford, Conn. trounced Plymouth, Mass., 13-2, in six innings in a winners bracket game.
Central Maine will face Plymouth, Mass., today at 5 p.m. in a losers bracket game. In the 8 p.m. nightcap, Pittsfield, Mass. will play the loser of Sunday’s late game between Manchester and Bennington, Vt., in an elimination game. Hampton, which lost to host Manchester 11-0 in five innings in its first opening round game Saturday night, was eliminated Sunday but returned home with some satisfaction.
“To come back like we did against Central Maine after losing 11-0 to Manchester says a lot about our team,” said Hampton coach Larry Forsley. “This was a tough game to lose, but it was also our most competitive game of the summer. I’m just proud of the way our kids battled to the end.”
Entering the home seventh trailing 12-5, Hampton got key hits from Adam Woodman, Luke Sanborn, Mike Flacco, Drew Forsley and Jon Stevens to close its deficit to 12-9.
The key play occurred with two outs and the bases loaded when Hampton’s Brock Crowley bounced a routine grounder to short. The throw to first base sailed past the first baseman and rolled out of play. The error allowed Hampton to scored three runs. That sparked a celebration because Hampton thought it had tied the game.
But umpires Gary Simpson and Tom Fischer both ruled that because the ball rolled out of play, Crowley was only awarded only two bases. That meant Hampton was allowed only two runs on the play, leaving it down by one, 12-11, with runners on second and third.
The next Hampton batter bounced out quickly to first base and Central Maine held on for the victory.
“This is a game of inches and luck,” said Forsley. “If that ball stayed in play, we’d be tied with a runner on third base. It’s a tough loss, but I’m still proud of my team.”
Central Maine was led by Connor Garland who scored four runs and teammates Sam Bell and Josh Joy who each scored twice.Waterford, Conn. 13, Plymouth, Mass. 2 (6 inns.): Waterford started fast, scoring nine runs through the first three innings, and tacked on four more in the sixth frame for its 10-run mercy rule victory. Ben Pickowitz had a two-run hit and teammates Dan Castelpoggi, Corey Conderino, Alex Petchark, and Steve Gerovitz each drove in a run. Cam Drew had both RBIs for Plymouth.Pittsfield, Mass. 10, Cranston R.I. 1: A nine-run, third inning rally by Pittsfield sealed the deal. The inning was highlighted by a pair of two-run hits from Jack Scarafoni and T.Y. Bramer. Shane Tierney and Ryan Abel each drove in a run in that frame.