NORWALK, Conn. — The Central Maine 13-year-old Babe Ruth team made quite a bit of noise in the New England Regional tournament this week.

On Thursday, the show came to a close.

Mike Lonardo hit a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally Cranston, R.I. past Central Maine 4-3 to take the title.

“We have nothing to hang our heads about,” Central Maine coach Butch Cunningham said. “We’ll be back. We’ll beat them next year. Nobody gave us a chance here, but we were for real.”

Indeed, Central Maine enjoyed an impressive run through the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.

It needed to beat Cranston twice Thursday to reach the World Series.


Central Maine was in control of the opener, thanks to the combined pitching of Nick Mayo and Ben Frazee. The pair combined to strike out five.

However, Cranston rallied in the seventh, putting the first two runners on second and third.

“We had to pull the outfield in a little bit, and (Lonardo) hit one over our center fielder’s head to win the game,” Cunningham said. “It’s part of the game. It happens.”

Central Maine trailed 2-0 in the fifth before JT Nutting hit an RBI single to cut the deficit in half. Central Maine pulled ahead 3-2 in the top of the sixth when Jonathan Wilkie hit a two-run triple.

Dan Pooler and Frazee each singled in the inning before Wilkie drove them in.

Cranston, which defeated Central Maine 12-11 in a nine-inning game Tuesday, out-hit Central Maine 8-7.

Tony Collins, who struck out two, earned the victory.

“It was an awesome run,” Cunningham said. “These kids were awesome. We played hard. It was a good run.”

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