SKOWHEGAN — Skowhegan put together a strong final inning Sunday in knocking off Pepperell, Massachusetts, 9-7 at the Cal Ripken 11-Under New England baseball tournament

The winners scored two runs in the top of the sixth on three hits, then left-fielder Collin LePage preserved the victory in the bottom of the inning with a shoestring catch to end the game.

Earlier in the day Skowhegan defeated Stratham, New Hampshire 13-5. The team finished pool play with a 2-1 record and now advances to the single-elimination portion of the tournament where it will play Oxford, Connecticut on Tuesday.

Skowhegan lost its opener Saturday 15-1 to Freetown/Lakeville, Massachusetts.

“The first game we played was upside down, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Skowhegan manager Doug McEwen said. “Coming out here today, getting a couple of Ws, shows we can hang with these guys.”

Winning pitcher Simon Lewis was named his team’s MVP while Mike Archambault was Pepperell’s MVP. Lewis singled, hit a solo home run and doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

“The first game was tough but I think we’ve rebounded pretty well,” Lewis said.

Skowhegan scored four runs in the first inning off starter Colby Goldrup. Three of their five hits in the inning never left the infield but they took advantage of two errors and some heads-up base-running. Pepperell battled back to within a run, scoring three times against Skowhegan starter Ben Morgan in the third to make it 6-5.

Lewis made it 7-5 with his home run over the left-field fence in the fourth. Pepperell again fought back and tied the game at 7 on Rocco Lamonica’s two-run blast over the right-field fence in the fifth. Skowhegan regained the lead in the next inning as Hunter McEwen singled and Quintcey McCray doubled to the gap in left-center, moving McEwen to third. McEwen scored when a Lewis high fly to left dropped in for a double and McCray scored on Morgan’s sacrifice fly.

Skowhegan collected 13 hits in all, including three from Lewis and McEwen and two from Morgan.

“I think that’s one of our greatest strengths is that we do hit,” Doug McEwen said. “We hit a ton. Probably two thirds of our practice is hitting.”

Lewis, who relieved Morgan for the final three innings, struck out five and hit a batter. After Brian Morse led the sixth inning with an infield hit, he fanned Goldrup and Archambault, the team’s 3 and 4 hitters. With Lamonica waiting on deck, Mike Riordan hit a sinking liner to left that LePage picked off his shoetops as he dove to the ground.

“I was just hoping it wouldn’t get by me,” he said.

Skowhegan collected 11 hits in its win over Stratham, led by Lepage with four singles. McCray added two singles and a triple while winning pitcher Payson Washburn fanned eight and singled twice.

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