BRISTOL – Tristan Lucier led New Hampshire in its 11-1 run-rule win against Manchester Little League during the New England Region championship game of the Little League East Regional at Breen Field on Saturday.
Lucier finished with six RBIs on a pair of three-run homeruns, and also punched out nine Connecticut batters on the mound over four innings.
Both teams already earned a spot at this summer’s Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa by advancing to the Region title game.
North Manchester-Hooksett New Hampshire showed power from the batter’s box as it finished with 10 hits, with four of them good for extra-bases.
Connecticut produced one run on three hits as an RBI single from Paul Virdokian in the top of the fourth erased Lucier’s shutout from the bump.
Jacob Budarz, and Ryan Gorman (double) also tallied hits in the defeat, which served as the squad’s first loss since the Sectional tournament.
Eli Bucko lasted three innings for Connecticut and allowed nine runs on seven hits, with five walks and five strikeouts also on his final stat-line.
New Hampshire started strong with a two-run first inning, thanks to a RBI double from Keith Townsend.
In the next frame, Lucier blasted his first of two homeruns over the left-field fence after Ryson Michaud and Dom LaBranche reached base for a 5-0 lead.
More of the same occurred in the third inning as Mason DeVall ripped an RBI single before Lucier launched another homer for New Hampshire’s fourth run of the inning. It appeared Cal Lucier made it 10-0 with a solo shot of his own, but he missed third base and was called out after a lengthy review.
Virdokian’s one-run single cut Connecticut’s deficit down to 9-1 in the fourth, however New Hampshire scored twice more in the bottom half to seal the victory.
An RBI double from Tyler Chauvette and an RBI single from Michaud put the run-rule in effect as New Hampshire earned the top-spot in the New England Region after losing its first game.
Connecticut will need to refocus fairly quickly ahead of the Little League World Series as it will play one of the teams from the West Region on Thursday at 1 p.m., to kick-start the entire tournament.
New Hampshire conversely will play at 7 p.m., on Thursday against the other team that qualified from the West Region.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.