Saturday was a rough outing for Nick Croteau, but Cumberland American LL still managed to pull out a 10-6 victory over Fairfield American in six innings at Breen Field in Bristol, Conn.
Cumberland American is familiar with the Little League Baseball World Series, when their 2014 manager, David Belisle, coached the league to the 2011 World Series. Belisle's son, James, was on that 2011 team, while his youngest son, John, is on the 2014 team. Cumberland American went 1-2 in 2011, and this is the seventh time a team from Rhode Island will compete in the Little League Baseball World Series. Mr. Belisle isn't the only coach returning to South Williamsport with another son on the roster. Southwest Region Champions, Pearland (Texas) East LL's manager, Don Smith coached his son Hunter in 2010, while his son, Presley, is on the 2014 roster.
Croteau gave up five in 4 1/3, but the bullpen surrendered one run and the offense banged out 10 to pick up the slack and secure the win for Cumberland American LL.
The game was back-and-forth heading into the fourth, with five lead changes.
Rhode Island pulled out the win thanks to a strong fourth inning. Cumberland American scored on an RBI single by Addison Kopack off Brian Howell, scoring Christopher Davock.
Jayden Struble put himself in scoring position with two extra-base hits for Rhode Island. He singled in the fourth inning and doubled in the first and fifth innings.
Cumberland American's Croteau, Davock, Mason Matos and Struble combined for eight hits and three RBIs.
PJ Egan ended up on the wrong side of the pitching decision, charged with the loss. He allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, walked two and struck out four.
Rhode Island closer Davock put away the final five outs to record the save.
In the top of the first, Fairfield American grabbed the early lead, 3-0. Jamie Flink singled to start things off before Brian Howell singled. Connecticut added more runs when Flink scored on a passed ball and Howell scored on an RBI single by Jack Steed.
Rhode Island answered Connecticut''s top inning with three runs of its own in the first. Rhode Island scored on a wild pitch and a two-run error.
Cumberland American never surrendered the lead after the fourth inning. The runs piled on thanks to an RBI single by Struble.
Rhode Island increased its lead with two runs in the fifth. The inning looked promising, as Matos homered to kick things off. That was followed up by Struble's double, bringing home Croteau.
After pushing across one run in the top of the sixth, CT- Fairfield American faced just a 10-6 deficit. An RBI single by Brian Kiremidjian triggered Fairfield American's comeback. Davock ended the game by getting Ian Bentley to strike out.
The New England Region Champions will face the Southwest Region Champions on Friday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. at Lamade Stadium, airing on ESPN. Pearland East LL from Pearland, Texas won the Southwest Championship Game on August 6 in Waco, Texas. All games at the Little League Baseball World Series will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, the Watch ESPN app or ABC.
The 68th Little League Baseball World Series begins on Thursday, Aug. 14 in South Williamsport, Pa., with the Championship Game scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 24, airing on ABC. The World Series will culminate the year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Little League. For more information on the Series and to follow the action live, visit llbws.org. To learn more about Little League’s 75th Anniversary, visit LittleLeagueBigLegacy.com.
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