MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Bennington has some work to do today.
Lightning suspended play Tuesday and the winners' bracket finals will resume today at 5 p.m. with Waterford, Conn., leading 5-1 in the fourth inning of the 2014 New England Regional U15 Babe Ruth Tournament at Gill Stadium in Manchester.
Should Bennington come back and win, they will advance to Thursday's championship finals at 5 p.m. A loss and Bennington returns to the diamond today to play host Manchester in the losers' bracket finals at 7 p.m. Bennington reached the winners' bracket finals by beating Manchester 6-3 on Sunday behind Austin Condo's 140-pitch complete game effort.
Right now, Bennington has its hands full against a strong Waterford team on a mission.
In the 14-year-old regional tournament last year in Westfield, Mass., Waterford lost to Manchester 6-5 in the finals. Using last year as motivation after falling short of a World Series berth, this week Waterford opened the tournament in impressive fashion, slugging its way past Cranston, R.I. 10-1 and Pittsfield, Mass., 8-3.
Waterford got off to another strong start Tuesday, but Bennington helped their cause along the way with some costly throwing errors.
Bennington starter Ryan O'Neill got off to a rocky start, hitting lead-off hitter Mike Rocchetti to start the game. With two outs, clean-up hitter Chase Speller splurged on a high fastball for a 325-foot homer down the left field line for an early 2-0 lead.
Waterford padded its lead to 3-0 in the second inning when an errant pickoff throw to second allowed Alex Petchark to easily score from third base. Bennington catcher Cole Lamoureaux was trying to prevent a Waterford runner from stealing second, but his throw was off the mark and allowed Petchark to tally.
Bennington mounted a mini-rally in the home second when Lamoureaux walked and rambled home on a two-out triple by Bryce Bush.
O'Neill couldn't help his cause further as he bounced out to second, stranding Bush.
In the third inning, Waterford pushed its lead to 5-1 behind an RBI single from Speller, who stole second on an errant throw and scored on the same play on another throwing error from the outfield.
With Waterford batting in the fourth inning, lightning in the area forced the umpires to clear the field at 8:34 p.m. before play resumed 20 minutes later. But lightning struck again at 9:03, causing stoppage a second time before the game was finally suspended to today.
Manchester 6, Woodlocks 0
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Manchester delivered a strong statement Tuesday that its not going to be an easy out.
Joey Silva and Nick Duhaime each delivered a two-run basehit to highlight a five-run, second inning rally, leading the Tom Woodlock All-Stars to a 6-0 victory against Plymouth, Mass. in an elimination game in the 2014 New England Regional 13-15-year-old Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament at Gill Stadium in Manchester.
The victory advances Manchester to today's 7 p.m. losers' bracket finals game against the loser of Tuesday's late game between Bennington and Waterford, Conn.
"We're starting to play up to our ability as a team," said Manchester manager Mickey Hanagan. "We can still hit the ball better than we've shown so far in this tournament. We're still not getting production out of three or four guys in our line-up. If they come around, we're going to be a tough out for any team the rest of the way."
The Woodlocks generated a run in the first inning when Silva scored from third base on a fielders' choice groundout by Nate Hall.
Then the bats started to crank up in the next inning.
Manchester deflated Plymouth with a five-run, second inning rally behind a five-hit attack in the frame.
Pat Swanson, who twirled a complete game win against Pittsfield, Mass., lit the fuse with a lead-off single and advanced to second on a walk to Drew Merrick. Trouble really started brewing for Plymouth when Matt Reynolds singled to load the bases.
Duhaime took advantage of the his opportunity by poking a single to left, scoring Swanson and Merrick. Following an out, Silva drilled a double to right, plating Reynolds and Duhaime for a 5-0 lead. One out later, Jon Robinson got into the act with a single, scoring Silva for the 6-0 cushion.
The run support was more than enough for Manchester starting pitcher Jason Derome who, coupled with his mound win against Hampton Saturday, improved to 2-0 in the regionals.
On Tuesday, he shut down Plymouth's offense, limiting the Bay Staters to just five hits. He fanned four, walked three and hit one batter.
He stranded two Plymouth runners in the seventh inning to preserve his second shutout win in the regional tournament.
"I wasn't concerned about the shutout, I just wanted to win for the team," said Derome. "I knew if i pitched well that my teammates were going to give me run support. We can score lots of runs and that's what happened in the second inning. After that I concentrated on my change-up which was my best pitch tonight."
Derome said he enjoys pitching at Gill Stadium. "The mound is great for me because it slopes down at a good angle," he said. "That allows me to throw the ball low."
Despite needing three more wins to earn a World Series berth, Manchester has enough pitching to run the table. Matt Reynolds, Drew Merrick, Swanson and Nick Salcito give Hanagan enough arms to meet the challenge ahead.
"We've got enough pitching, the defense is playing well," said Hanagan. "If we can get a little more hitting, especially with runners on base, we're going to be in good shape."