BRISTOL, Conn. — The distance from third base to the plate is only 90 feet, but for the Yankee Ford American Legion baseball team, it might seem like a mile.

For the second time in as many days, the South Portland squad left the potential tying run stranded on third in the ninth inning and saw its season end Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the Northeast Regional at Muzzy Field.

Despite allowing 10 hits, Sam Fick went the distance for Pittsfield, striking out Nate Ingalls looking on a 2-2 pitch in the top of the ninth to seal the win.

Matt Schneider’s two-run double off Sam Troiano, who allowed six hits in seven-plus innings, gave Pittsfield a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Troiano walked three and struck out seven.

“Losing both games by one run is kind of tough but we have to think of the positives,” said Springfield College-bound Alex Livingston, who went 3 for 4 for Yankee Ford (24-4). “Anything after winning states is a bonus and (playing in the regionals) really is a special moment for us, a chance of a lifetime to come down here and play.”

In Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Rochester, New Hampshire, Yankee Ford led 3-2 after six innings. Henry Curran struck out swinging to end the game.


“I don’t think we were outplayed,” said Yankee Ford Manager Andy Wood, whose club was the first from South Portland to win the Maine state championship since 1980. “I think we competed and we were just as good as anybody down here.

“Definitely bummed that the season came to an end. I wish we had a little bit more time together because this is a fun group to be a part of.”

Missed opportunities came back to haunt Yankee Ford, which loaded the bases with no outs in the first on consecutive singles by Troiano, Anthony Degifico and Ingalls but managed only one run in the inning after Matt Riggle grounded into a double play.

In the third, Ben Conti walked with the bases loaded to make it 2-0 but once again Fick limited the damage.

The game might have turned on a critical base-running mistake by Livingston an inning later. He reached on an infield single to lead off the fourth and raced to third on a throwing error, only to be ruled out on an appeal play for missing second base.

“It should have been a 3-0 ballgame, which is totally different,” Wood said.


Pittsfield cut the deficit to one run in the fifth on Jack Cooney’s groundout.

Troiano cruised through seven innings, allowing only three hits, but Cooney singled and Matt Koperniak walked the start the eighth and both scored on Schneider’s double.

Marshall Peterson took over on the mound for Troiano and retired all three batters he faced to keep it a one-run game.

In the ninth, Troiano singled with two outs, moved up when Degifico was hit by a pitch and stole third but couldn’t advance those final 90 feet.

“Sam Troiano pitched his heart out and gave us a chance to win,” Wood said. “He just left that one bad pitch up on the kid who hit the double to score two runs.”

Troiano was the only other player with multiple hits for Yankee Ford, going 2 for 5.

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