SKOWHEGAN — One day after some last-inning magic for a walk-off win, Skowhegan turned comeback spoilers. The result was another heart-pounding victory.

On the second day of the 11U Cal Ripken New England tournament, Skowhegan led Marlboro (Mass.) by five runs at one point. It wasn’t destined to be that easy, but Skowhegan held on for an 8-6 victory on Sunday evening at the Carl Wright Complex.

“That was a great game to be a part of,” Skowhegan coach Ken Reed said. “That’s a good team we just played. These kids have battled. I’m just — I’m so proud of them right now. They just seem to step up one level every game, get a little bit better.”

The win means Skowhegan gets Monday off and is one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the tournament. Skowhegan will face the other unbeaten, Riverside (Mass.), at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday.

Skowhegan was clinging to a 6-5 lead when Jimmy Reed singled to lead off the top of the sixth. After Cam Louder grounded into a fielder’s choice, Chance Towle hit a line drive that cleared the center field fence for a two-run homer and an 8-5 lead.

“That’s my first home run in a game,” said Towle, who was 2 for 3 with a walk and three RBIs. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! Yes!'”

Reed came on to pitch the bottom of the sixth, and Marlboro patiently tried to rally. Matt Farrell led off with a walk, and Tyler Dossas (3 for 4) singled to center. Ben Morris then plunked a single into right field, but the relay to Reed and then third baseman Sam Shields nipped Dossas at third for a huge first out.

“We’ve always talked, you win these tournaments on pitching and defense,” Coach Reed said. “The bats will come and go, but you gotta play defense and get good pitching. So far, through the state tournament and this tournament, we’ve got pretty good pitching and good defense.”

Reed got the next two outs, the last one on a line drive that was speared by Hansen Towle at first base. Reed raised his arms in triumph as he ran over to Towle following the out.

Louder had to get an out in Saturday’s win over Oxford (Conn.), so by tournament rules, he was allowed to pitch only five innings on Sunday. He struck out eight and worked out of some tough jams. In the first, Louder struck out back-to-back batters with the bases loaded to end the inning. In the fourth, he got another strikeout to leave the bags full. In the fifth, with Skowhegan leading 6-5, Marlboro had two out and a runner on third. Andrew Cash hit a soft liner that shortstop Kyle Kruse picked out of the air.

“(Cam) will fight you tooth and nail to the end,” Coach Reed said. “That kid, he’s a tough kid. Just when you think you’ve got him in trouble, he finds a way to get out of it.”

Louder scored Skowhegan’s first run when he singled in the first inning and came home on a double by Chance Towle. Hunter Towle doubled Chance home for a 2-0 lead. In the third, Shields singled home a run and Kruse delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double to make it 5-0.

Marlboro charged back with four runs in the third, and the teams traded runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Skowhegan looked ready to extend its lead after loading the bases with one out. Zack Fitzgerald hit a hard shot toward left field, but Marlboro third baseman Jayce Ginnetti gloved the ball on one hop and threw to the plate. The throw was wide, but Marlboro catcher Soham Santikary not only dove and caught the ball, he tapped the plate with his foot before Hansen Towle slid in. Santikary probably ate some dirt and both he and Towle were shaken up, but they remained in the game.

It will take another strong performance from Skowhegan to win again on Tuesday, as Riverside has also looked strong in the tournament.

“They’re a good ballclub, too,” Reed said. “I’m assuming we’ll probably get their No. 1. I’ve seen them swing — they can hit. But we’ll be ready.”

• • •

In Sunday’s other winner’s bracket game, Riverside (Mass.) defeated Andy Valley, 9-0, as Drew Blackwell went the distance for a four-hit shutout. Zachary Dorso singled twice and homered, and Tom McAndrews also hit one out of the park.

In an elimination game, Barrington (N.H.) scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to stun Washington Park (R.I.), 4-3. The winning run scored when Bode Harmon reached on a fielder’s choice to bring home Brendan Thivierge.

Thivierge had three singles for Barrington, while Washington Park’s Salomon Lluveres singled twice and doubled.

In Sunday’s other elimination game, Hartford (Vt.) defeated Oxford (Conn.), 5-1. Hartford scored all five of its runs in the bottom of the fifth after Oxford had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning. Vince Biondo had two singles for Oxford. Alex Bushway got the win on the mound for Hartford.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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