BRISTOL â€“ A two-run single from Ryan Gorman highlighted Connecticutâ€™s 3-1 win over Vermont during the Little League East Regional on Monday at the Giamatti Little League Center at Breen Field.
Gorman slapped a single to right field during the top of the sixth inning that scored Arlen Peyman and Jacob Budarz, pushing Manchesterâ€™s Connecticut squad ahead, 3-0. It was Gormanâ€™s only hit of the contest, but it proved to be critical as the victory pushes Connecticut to the New England Region winnerâ€™s bracket semifinal.
â€śHeâ€™s been such a great bat in our lineup,â€ť Connecticut manager Rob Rastelli said. â€śHe always seems to come up with runners in scoring position. I think he leads our team in RBIs during this all star season.
Essex Townâ€™s Vermont team kept the hometown bunch on its toes during the bottom of the sixth inning as it cut the deficit to 3-1 on a bases-loaded walk from Peyman. With two outs and the winning run on first base, Vermontâ€™s Grayson Pike came up short as Connecticutâ€™s Budarz resided the side with a five-pitch strikeout.
â€śWe kind of put ourselves in a bit of a situation, but we have the arms to dig ourselves out,â€ť Rastelli said.
Connecticutâ€™s first run of the ballgame came during the third inning after a wild pitch from Vermont starter Jacob Laroche scored Alex Rastelli. Rastelli and Peyman poked singles in the frame to reach base while Eli Bucko drew a walk.
Bucko tossed four innings of scoreless baseball for Connecticut as No. 28 gave up one hit, while striking out 10 and walking two batters, to pick up the win on the mound.
Budarz recorded the gameâ€™s only extra-base hit with a double late in the contest.
For Vermont, Laroche took the loss despite a solid outing that included six strikeouts and four hits, but four walks wound up counting as the most of any pitcher during the game. Luke Tumilowicz pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for Vermont and didnâ€™t allow a run or hit.
Laroche added Vermontâ€™s only hit of the battle with a single during the third inning.
The turning point of the game occurred during the bottom of the second when Vermont put two runners in scoring position with two outs in a 0-0 game. Bucko escaped by striking out Pike, and then Connecticut used that momentum to tack on a run immediately after in the third. Gormanâ€™s clutch hit two innings later cushioned Connecticutâ€™s advantage en route to the victory.
â€śWe tried to get out to an early lead,â€ť Rastelli said. â€śThe nerves and jitters of being on TV, it takes a couple innings to get out of it. It was good to see us starting to hit. We knew our guys can hit it, as soon as we got the first one we knew we could open up the flood gates.â€ť
Connecticut will play the winner of the Massachusetts-Maine on Thursday at 1 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.