|Toups is tops as
Lafayette walks off with win
Three-run sixth gives Southwest champs opening victory
vs. Westbrook, Maine
The Westbrook, Maine All-Stars have been battling back
all summer long, especially recently.
They lost their first three games of the New England
regional tournament, but did the unthinkable of
advancing to South Williamsport by winning their pool
play finale, winning the tiebreakers and beating the
favorites in single-elimination play.
In their opener of Pool B play at the Little League
Baseball World Series, however, they were the ones
ahead, going up 2-0 against Lafayette, Louisiana through
And this time, it was Lafayette mounting the comeback.
Ryan Bergeron tossed three hitless innings of relief,
and Connor Toups’s two-run single in the bottom of the
sixth capped a three-run inning, as Lafayette stormed
back for a 3-2 walk-off win in front of 6,664 at
The Southeast champs mustered only three hits off Maine
righthander Sean Murphy over the first five innings
before connecting for four in the sixth. Despite the
lack of hits early on, balls were being hit hard
(including a pair of near-warning track shots to right
in the second), and it was only a matter of time before
the balls started to find some earth.
“No game over here is easy,” said Lafayette manager Mike
Conrad. “This is a resilient, gritty ballclub. Typically
that’s the way it happens – [the hits] either are going
to find holes or not find holes.”
Toups’s game-winning smash into left field found the
hole, to say the least. The right fielder was the fifth
straight – and last – batter to reach in the inning.
“I just wanted to get a base hit,” said the quiet,
When asked how he felt about the game winner, he said,
“Good.” And when asked if he liked the spotlight after
getting the big hit, he said, “I don’t care.”
Brenn Conrad led off the final inning with a double to
left-center field. After he advanced to third on a
passed ball, Sam Scofield knocked him in with a single
to left. Jace Conrad then hit a double to the gap in
left-center field. After an unintentional, intentional
walk to clean-up hitter Tyler Douglas, Troups provided
“Hitting is contagious, and it’s been like that since we
started,” Manager Conrad said.
The Maine lead, courtesy of a pair of second-inning solo
home runs (both on 0-2 counts) by Nick Finocchiaro and
Michael Mowatt, stayed at two runs the rest of the way.
Lafayette’s Douglas, who started on the hill, retired
the side in order in the third before Conrad summoned
Bergeron from the bullpen (from first base, really) to
pitch in the fourth.
A two-out walk to Mitchell Chipman in the fourth was the
only baserunner Bergeron allowed in his three innings of
work. The kicker: he didn’t even pitch in the Southeast
“I just wanted to pitch,” he said. “I knew I was going
to do good.”
Manger Conrad credits Bergeron’s success with having a
fresh arm. Maine’s Murphy also appeared to have a fresh
arm, at least until the sixth.
Murphy was 0-2 in three starts in the regionals,
allowing 11 runs (six earned) in his 12.2 innings of
work. But he turned the corner in his team’s Series
opener, keeping Lafayette off the board until the
fateful sixth. He had allowed just one runner to advance
to third base before the end.
“He’s a battler,” Maine manager Rick Knight said of his
hurler. “He wanted to be out there (for the sixth
“I thought the kid threw a whale of a game,” Manager
Murphy did work out of a little trouble in the fourth
after Sam Scofield led off the inning with a single to
left and Jace Conrad worked a walk. Murphy then got
Douglas to ground one to second baseman Tommy Lemay, who
applied the tag on Conrad and threw to first for the
doubleplay. Then with Scofield on third, Murphy struck
out Toups to end the inning.
As for Douglas, who trailed 2-0 at the time of his exit,
he allowed just one other hit besides the pair of home
runs. That was a single by Lemay to lead off the game.
“Our pitcher left two pitches up, and that’s what
happens when leave pitches up,” said a comical Jace
Conrad. “They hit it out of the park.”
Lafayette goes on to play Owensboro, Kentucky Sunday
afternoon. Westbrook next faces Vista, California Sunday
Said Knight: “I think it was Christie Matthewson who
said, ‘You learn a little from a win and you learn a lot
from a loss.’ I’m happy with the final result. We showed
we can compete at this level. The kids took that game
hard, but right now as we speak, I’m sure they’re
clowning around in the locker room. They’ll bounce
© 2005, Little League Baseball
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