MANCHESTER, N.H. — Central Maine will have its work cut out for itself if it hopes to make a deep run in the New England Babe Ruth regional 13-15 year-old tournament.

The Maine state champs dropped its opener to Bennington, Vt., on Saturday 9-5 at Gill Stadium in Manchester, N.H., and as a result, will have to battle its way through the consolation bracket.

“They came ready to play today, we just didn’t have our best game. We’ve got to put it behind us and be here tomorrow,” Central Maine coach Tom Bell said. “Loser’s bracket is never where you want to be but it just means you get to play more baseball games than anybody else if you keep on winning.

“Obviously they’re disappointed by the loss but I think we’ll snap back fine. We didn’t play poorly, we just didn’t play well enough.”

In the end the fifth inning proved to be Central Maine’s undoing, as a bases-clearing double by Ryan O’Neil plated three of Bennington’s five runs in the inning.

“We had one bad inning or they had one good inning, I guess it depends on how you look at it,” Bell said. “They scored their five runs on three singles and a double and two walks that inning.”

Nathan Violette and Connor Garland led Central Maine with two hits apiece in the loss, while Kyle Lafreniere chipped in with a double. Pat Hopkins and Devon Webb also had strong games at the plate.

Central Maine will look to keep its tournament alive Sunday at 1 p.m. when it takes on either New Hampshire champ Towns of Hampden or host Manchester. Josh Joy is scheduled to get the start for the Mainers.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: Evan_Crawley

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