FARMINGTON — When one thing went bad for the Franklin County 13-15 year-old Babe Ruth team on Sunday, everything went bad. Whether it was hitting, pitching, or defense, nothing worked right for Franklin against Braintree, Mass. Braintree capitalized on Franklin’s collapse in the fifth inning, scoring seven runs to take an 11-1 win in a game shortened by the mercy rule.

Braintree stays alive with the win and will play at 5:30 p.m. today. Franklin, the host team, was eliminated from the tournament.

Ahead 4-1 after four innings, Braintree sent eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth before recording an out. Joe Harrington, Steve Lee, Matthew Bickford and Patrick Horrocks started the inning with consecutive singles before Jimbo Flaherty walked. Connor Leslie walked with the bases loaded to push Braintree’s lead to 7-1, and Alex Alexander singled to drive in another run.

Two more runs scored when Ciro Castaldi reached on an error, and Lee singled with two outs to score Luke Murray with the game-ending run.

Franklin used four pitchers in the game, including three in the fifth inning, after starter Scott Hall worked into the fourth.

“We knew we were going to be shaky on pitching today,” Franklin manager Dave Duley said. “Scottie Hall kept us in it by throwing strikes… Once they got that lead, the ball was rolling downhill for them.”

Franklin managed just one hit off of Braintree’s Flaherty, an infield single by Cam Abbott in the first inning. Flaherty struggled with his control in the first, walking Ryan Greenman and Andrew Pratt and hitting Charlie Martin with the bases loaded to give Franklin a 1-0 lead.

“We got one run, but I certainly didn’t think that would be it,” Duley said.

But Flaherty settled down and retired the last 12 batters he faced, and finished the game with nine strikeouts.

“I was all around the plate (in the first inning). I really just couldn’t find the strike zone,” Flaherty said. “I needed to slow down and not try and throw as hard, and keep it low.”

Flaherty was able to spot his fastball on the corners, working Franklin hitters inside and out to keep them off-balance.

“He was putting it right there on that corner,” Duley said.

Six Franklin errors helped contribute to seven unearned runs for Braintree. Horrocks scored on a Leslie sacrifice fly in the second to tie the game at 1-1, and Braintree took the lead when Leslie hit a two-run double in the fourth. Horrocks scored three runs, while Bickford and Alexander each had two hits.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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