BY TRAVIS LAZARCZYK

Staff Writer

WINOOSKI, Vt. — Coming out of the loser’s bracket to win a double elimination baseball tournament is a tough task, particularly when you lose the first game. But with four consecutive victories in the New England 14-year old Babe Ruth tournament, Central Maine went from the verge of going home to the final day.

On Thursday, however, a talented and rested Pomperaug, Conn. team was too much for Central Maine. Pomperaug scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, completing a comeback win to earn the New England championship and advance to the Babe Ruth World Series, which will be later this month in Murray, Utah.

“It’s all on the kids. They’re warriors,” Central Maine coach Butch Cunningham said of his team’s effort after dropping the opening game of the tournament to Cranston, R.I. “They’ve got nothing to hang their heads about. We knocked four teams out. We were planning on five, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Michel Kitrich walked to open the bottom of the seventh inning for Pomperaug, and went to third base when Devin Polomski reached on an error. With one out, Pomperaug leadoff hitter Nick Sarno slapped a single to right field, scoring Kitrich with the winning run.

“I was just looking for a pitch to drive, a pitch in the zone, and I got it,” Sarno said.

Dan Pooler led off the top of the sixth inning with a double for Central Maine and, when he scored on Jacob Trask’s groundout to first base, Central Maine had a 4-2 lead. John Boisits and Ryan Johannes each drove in a run for Pomperaug to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, but for the second consecutive inning, Pomperaug left the bases loaded.

Pomperaug also had a runner thrown out at the plate in the third inning and again in the sixth. Sarno said he thought his team began capitalizing on its chances.

“I was feeling like that was just the start of our momentum. We’d had the bases loaded, and it was time to come through,” Sarno said.

Ben Frazee pitched into the sixth inning for Central Maine, allowing eight hits while striking out eight and walking one. With Frazee tiring, Cunningham went to J.T. Nutting to get out of the sixth and Nick Mayo for the seventh inning.

“Ben was starting to get a little tired and he’s thrown a lot. We’re not going to risk a kid’s arm for this,” Cunningham said.

Central Maine scored a run in the top of the first when Jared Cunningham singled and scored on Pooler’s triple. Pomperaug tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third when Sarno doubled to score Dennis Mitchell.

In the fourth, Pooler led off with a walk, stole second and third base and scored on a Jonathan Wilkie groundout to first base. Mayo pushed Central Maine’s lead to 3-1 with a solo home run to center field.

Boisits scored on a Sean Daily single in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull Pomperaug within a run, 3-2. Kitrich pitched six innings for Pomperaug, allowing seven hits and a walk while striking out one.

“We hit the ball well today, a lot of them just right at them. That’s baseball. Not every ball’s going to fall in for you,” Coach Cunningham said.

 

Travis Lazarczyk – 861-9242

[email protected]

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