BRISTOL - Maine-South Portland American Little League jumped out to an early lead over Vermontâ€™s-Essex Junction Little League and captured an 8-5 win Thursday afternoon.
â€śWe really took our bats out today, and it was a really nice win,â€ť Maineâ€™s Andrew Heffernan said.
Back-to-back singles by Aiden Lee and Ben Stanley in the bottom of the first inning gave Maine a 2-0 advantage and the team never looked back.
Nolan Hobbs and Richie Gilboy added to Maineâ€™s lead an inning later, hitting back-to-back home runs and sparking a four-run second.
But Vermont finally got on the board in the third when Eli Bostwick hit an RBI single. Another hit, this time by Jake Reyome, brought the score to 6-3 when he singled with the bases loaded.
Maine responded in the fourth as Lee hit an RBI double to increase the teamâ€™s lead to five.
â€śAll we can do from day to day is work on the execution, communication, and belief in ourselves,â€ť Maine manager Jim Poole. â€śIn each and every game, we believe were as good as anyone here and thatâ€™s the key; belief and playing the way weâ€™re capable of playing.â€ť
Vermont, however, kept battling. After Bostwick was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth, Andrew Goodrich cleared the outfield fence on a line drive, putting the score at 8-5.
That would be as close as Maine would let its opponent get.
With one pop out, one flyout and one groundout, Vermont lost its chance in the top of the sixth inning.
For his play, Heffernan was named defensive player of the day with nine total catches.
â€śEvery time Iâ€™m in the field, Iâ€™m thinking the next ball is coming to me, itâ€™s all in the mindset of the game,â€ť Heffernan said. â€śI got a lot of balls hit to me and I didnâ€™t want to make any errors, all these reps and practices have helped me.â€ť
Maine will play New Hampshireâ€™s Goffstown Little League on today at 1 p.m. in a win-or-go-home scenario.
â€śWeâ€™ve got our man Hobbs lined up [against New Hampshire],â€ť Poole said. â€śHeâ€™s one of our aces, thatâ€™s why he started the game with 20. We knew this was a competition where, we have too plan to win, not just win one game. We have a plan for success.â€ť
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 firstname.lastname@example.org