STAFF REPORT

WESTFIELD, Mass. — Central Maine Babe Ruth all-star coach Tom Bell had a message for his players as they prepared to open play Friday in the New England tournament.

“I told them we were probably done mercying people,” Bell said. “We were going to start to see some really, really good teams.”

Central Maine faced one Friday, dropping a 7-6 decision to a team from Warwick, R.I.

“We battled until the end,” Bell added. “It was a tight game.”

Tight, indeed.

Central Maine jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning and led 5-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

But that’s when the game unraveled.

Warwick scored five runs, aided by a Ryan Viti two-run single, to take a 7-5 lead.

Central Maine rallied for a run in the top of the seventh on a Curtis Martin RBI double to pull within 7-6. However, the game ended when Martin tagged up on a fly ball to left but was called out for leaving the bag early.

“I thought I had the tying run at third with two outs and my No. 6 hitter up,” Bell said. “I thought we were about to tie it up right there. It was a tough deal. I asked the ump if he would check with the others but he refused, which was his right. Hey, what are you going to do? It’s baseball, man.”

Martin finished with two doubles, a single and four RBIs for Central Maine, which will play Marblehead, Mass., today at 10 a.m.

Connor Garland had an RBI double in the first inning and Ben Smith had four singles for Central Maine as well.

Smith, Dalton Wood and Adam Barre shared the pitching duties.

“We got off to a strong start,” Bell said. “Putting four on the board in the first inning, that’s what you need to do. We had Rhode Island on their heels, but they scratched until the sixth inning.”

Justin Wentworth, Chase Duguay and Sam Bell each had hits for Central Maine as well.

Viti and Elijah Brown each had two singles to pace Warwick.

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