MANCHESTER — Manchester delivered a strong statement Tuesday that it's not going to be an easy out.
Joey Silva and Nick Duhaime each delivered a two-run hit to highlight a five-run, second inning rally, leading the Tom Woodlock All-Stars to a 6-0 victory against Plymouth, Mass., in an elimination game in the ages 13-15 Babe Ruth League Baseball New England Regional at Gill Stadium in Manchester.
The victory advanced Manchester to today’s 7 p.m. losers bracket final against the loser of Tuesday’s late game between Bennington, Vt., and Waterford, Conn.
“We’re starting to play up to our ability as a team,” said Manchester manager Mickey Hanagan. “We can still hit the ball better than we’ve shown so far in this tournament. We’re still not getting production out of three or four guys in our lineup. If they come around, we’re going to be a tough out for any team the rest of the way.”
The Woodlocks generated a run in the first inning when Silva scored from third base on a fielder’s choice groundout by Nate Hall.
Then the bats started to crank up in the next inning.
Manchester deflated Plymouth with a five-run second-inning rally behind a five-hit attack in the frame.
Pat Swanson, who twirled a complete game win against Pittsfield, Mass., lit the fuse with a leadoff single and advanced to second on a walk to Drew Merrick. Trouble really started brewing for Plymouth when Matt Reynolds singled to load the bases.
Duhaime took advantage of the his opportunity by poking a single to left, scoring Swanson and Merrick. Following an out, Silva drilled a double to right, plating Reynolds and Duhaime for a 5-0 lead. One out later, Jon Robinson got into the act with a single, scoring Silva for the 6-0 cushion.
The run support was more than enough for Manchester starting pitcher Jason Derome, improved to 2-0 in the regionals. Derome, who will enter his junior season this fall at Manchester Memorial, blanked Hampton 11-0 on a two-hitter in five innings Saturday.
On Tuesday, he shut down Plymouth’s offense, limiting the Bay Staters to just five hits. He fanned four, walked three and hit one batter.
He stranded two Plymouth runners in the seventh inning to preserve his second shutout win in the regionals.
“I wasn’t concerned about the shutout. I just wanted to win for the team,” said Derome. “I knew if I pitched well that my teammates were going to give me run support. We can score lots of runs and that’s what happened in the second inning. After that I concentrated on my change-up, which was my best pitch tonight.”
Derome said he enjoys pitching at Gill Stadium.
“The mound is great for me because it slopes down at a good angle,” he said. “That allows me to throw the ball low.”
Despite needing three more wins to earn a World Series berth, Manchester has enough pitching to run the table. Matt Reynolds, Drew Merrick, Swanson and Nick Salcito give Hanagan enough arms to meet the challenge ahead.
“We’ve got enough pitching. The defense is playing well,” said Hanagan. “If we can get a little more hitting, especially with runners on base, we’re going to be in good shape.”