Sunday, December 22, 2013
NEWTON, Conn. — Cranston, R.I. scored three runs in back-to-back innings to defeat Central Maine 6-4 in the 15-year-old New England Babe Ruth regional tournament Tuesday evening.
The game matched the two remaining unbeaten teams in the double-elimination tournament. With the loss, Central Maine faces Braintree, Mass., at 3 p.m., today in an elimination game. The winner of that game must beat Cranston on Thursday and Friday to win the championship.
Central Maine played Braintree on Sunday, winning 3-2 in nine innings.
“It’ll be a dogfight,” Central Maine coach Butch Cunningham said.
Central Maine outhit Cranston, 11-7.
Central Maine took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Derek Bowen singled and Nick Bryand doubled him home.
In the fourth, Bryand reached on a walk and Nick Mayo got on with a single, and Jared Cunningham delivered a two-run single to put Central Maine up 3-0.
Cranston tied the score with three runs in the fourth, and went ahead for good with three in the fifth.
“They hit the ball well, too. They play a lot of small ball,” Coach Cunningham said. “They’d walk, move the guy over, and the next kid would hit a gapper. It’s just one of those games.”
Christian Aybar, who batted in the No. 8 spot for Cranston, went 2 for 3 with a triple.
Central Maine knocked out Cranston starting pitcher Austin Lamarre in the sixth, and got within 6-4 on singles by Mayo and Trevor Gettig and an RBI single by Jared Cunningham.
But Central Maine left the bases loaded. In the seventh, reliever John Beniduce gave up a two-out pinch-hit single to Jonathan Wilkie before striking out the next batter to end the game.
Coach Cunningham said there is still pitching available for Wednesday’s game. J.T. Nutting threw only one inning Tuesday, and Central Maine didn’t pitch Nick Mayo.
“I’d really like to save Mayo as much as I can for Cranston, but you’ve got to win tomorrow, first,” Cunningham said.