WINTHROP — In a battle of freshmen Tuesday, Winthrop’s youngsters won out.

The Ramblers got a strong pitching performance from Ben Allen while fellow freshmen Mario Meucci and Dakota Carter came up with big hits in Winthrop’s 8-6 win against Madison in a Western Maine Class C tournament prelimary game.

Seventh-seeded Winthrop, 8-7, advances to play No. 2 St. Dominic on Thursday while No. 10 Madison finishes at 6-11.

Winthrop coach Marc Fortin took a calculated risk in saving ace Tyler Reeve for Thursday’s game, starting Tyler Foster instead. In the long run it worked, but Foster lasted only two innings and left with a pair of runners on and nobody out in the third inning. Allen escaped by allowing just a run.

“I actually prefer pitching in relief,” the left-hander said.

The Bulldogs scored three runs in the third, getting key hits from two of their own freshmen, KP Carpenter and Jack Money, to take a 5-4 lead. The pair were among five freshmen in the starting lineup.

“We have a great young nucleus,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “We’ll take it as a learning experience. What we’ve done the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten back to having fun.”

The Ramblers scored three runs in the first on a single from Foster and a two-run double down the right-field line from Meucci. They took a 6-5 lead in the third inning as Reeve singled off starter Garrett Emery and took second on an error. Following a fielder’s choice, Carter singled home a pair of runs.

The Ramblers made it 7-5 in the fourth on Reeve RBI double to right-center. The threatening rain finally fell in the Madison half of the sixth inning. The Bulldogs scored a run, but Allen somehow escaped despite the wet conditions.

“It was pretty rough,” said Allen, who had a hard time gripping the ball. “It got a little annoying having to change balls every pitch.”

The game was halted for 30 minutes and when the teams returned Allen finished out, getting two quick outs before walking the next two batters. He ended the game by getting Cody Soucier on a fly ball to center field.

“We’ve got a young group of kids,” said Fortin, who started three freshmen and three sophomores. “We didn’t expect to be in the playoffs. This is way past our expectations.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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