SKOWHEGAN — Tom McAndrews saw he was being intentionally walked, and he grinned the kind of big grin children usually save for their birthday, or Christmas.

“I’m like, ‘O.K., I’m used to this,” McAndrews said. “It’s happened before.”

The leading slugger on a strong hitting baseball team, McAndrews had a fantastic tournament during the New England 11-under Cal Ripken baseball tournament. A catcher/pitcher for Riverside, Mass., McAndrews went 12 for 18 during the tournament. Five of those dozen hits were home runs, and his bat helped Riverside win a pair of games on Thursday to beat host Skowhegan for the title.

Riverside clinched the championship with a 6-1 win over Skowhegan in the winner-take-all final game. Earlier in the day, Riverside forced the final game with an 11-2 victory over Skowhegan.

Riverside trailed for just a half an inning on Thursday, when Sam Shields singled to score Cam Louder and give Skowhegan a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the deciding game.

In the bottom of the first, Riverside’s power was on display. First, Drew Blackwell hit a homer run to center field to tie the game. After McAndrews doubled, Dominik Cignatti homered to give Riverside a 3-1 lead.

“Give the credit to Dominik and Drew for getting us going,” McAndrews said.

McAndrews hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run third inning for Riverside.

“There’s a lot of skills on that team over there,” Skowhegan manager Ken Reed said. “We had no answer to their bats. They deserved to win.”

Blackwell earned the win in both games, while McAndrews threw three innings of scoreless relief in the clincher, striking out the side in the top of the sixth inning to set off a Riverside celebration.

Skowhegan defeated Riverside, 13-2, on Tuesday. Like in the Eastern Mass. tournament, Riverside had to come out of the loser’s bracket for the title. McAndrews said the coaches emphasized they could do it again.

“They said we’ve been in this spot before,” McAndrews said. “We knew what to do.”

In game one, Riverside jumped to an early lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Nico Giurado’s two-run homer in the third pushed Riverside’s lead to 5-1.

“Coming into today, I felt like we had a great chance,” Reed said. “The kids battled. They did their best. That’s all you can ask.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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