Trumbull edges New Hampshire in New England Regional
Sam West came on in relief to leave the tying run at second base in the top of the seventh inning when the host Trumbull Babe Ruth team defeated Greater Keene (N.H.), 4-3, in the opening round of the 14U Babe Ruth New England Regional Tournament at Trumbull High on Friday night.
Head coach Mike Buswell’s club will meet Augusta, Maine, in its second pool play game on Saturday night at 7.
Pool games continue 10 a.m, 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Sunday.
Seeding for the double-elimination portion of the Regionals begin on Monday.
Semifinals are Tuesday and the championship game on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
First day games saw Augusta defeat North Providence Smithfield (R.I) 11-3, Hingham-Hull (Mass.) top Connecticut champion Waterford 8-4, and Pittsfield (Mass). Defeat Brattleboro (Vt.) by a score of 13-4.
Andrew Harvey got the start for Trumbull and pitched into the sixth inning, when he left to an ovation from Trumbull faithful after throwing 86 pitches.
Ryan Teixeira came on in relief with two out and a runner on first.
New Hampshire’s Dylan Gemena drew a walk, Brian Langevin was hit by a pitch, and two runs crossed the plate on wild pitches.
Teixeira got a swinging strike with the count 3-2 to leave the tying run on third.
In the seventh, Michael Gutwein walked with one out and West came on.
He got a second-pitch fly ball to recently inserted Johnny Morello in right field for the second out.
A passed ball moved Gutwein into scoring position, but West put the last out in the book on a ground ball to Jack Allen at second base.
“We knew this was going to be a tough matchup, because Keene has a great program and does well every season,” Buswell said of the New Hampshire champions. “We needed to have a great pitching performance and Andrew Harvey gave that to us.
“I thought we hit the ball today — as well as we have in weeks. Not only hits (nine), but with our approach at the plate. He (New Hampshire starter Marcus Soucia) was a battler. Each at bat I think we worked hard and made him work hard.”
Ray Leonzi and Brandon Buda each had two hits to lead the way for Trumbull.
Jackson Vincente, Teixeira, Christian van Zyl, Allen and Jake Gruttadauria all had base hits.
“We couldn’t string the hits together today,” New Hampshire head coach Mike Soucia said. “We have a great group of grinders and we’re having fun. This is a great tournament.”
Trumbull took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Leonzi led off the home first with a single. Vincente singled up the middle with one out and Buda took the first pitch he saw into left field to load the bases.
Teixeira was hit on the front shoulder with a 3-2 pitch to force home a run.
Marcus Soucia notched his second strikeout of the frame, but with Matt Bagley at bat Vincente slid in safely after a wild pitch resulted in a play at the plate.
New Hampshire had three hits in the second, but Vincente threw the lead runner out stealing with Gruttadauria putting down the tag from his shortstop position.
With runners on the corners, Harvey had one of his four strikeouts and then got of trouble with a soft liner to Teixeira at first.
New Hampshire shortstop Liam Eliot made a fine play on Allen’s grounder to leave two runners on base in the second.
Marcus Soucia had a two-out single in the third inning. He was running on the pitch when Eliot hit a ball up the middle. Gruttadauria fielded the ball on the second base side of the bag and made a strong throw to first to retire the side.
Buda took a pitch the opposite way into the right field corner for a one-out triple in the bottom of the third. Van Zyl brought him home with a two-out double up the gap in left-center for a 3-0 lead.
Eliot made another play at shortstop to leave van Zyl on third.
New Hampshire made it a 3-1 game in the fourth.
Gutwein reached on an error to open the rally, only to be forced out at second base.
Peter Haas drew the only walk off Harvey on a 3-2 pitch, before Thomas Fagiano hit an RBI double to center.
Harvey stranded the tying runs in scoring position.
Trumbull got the run back in the bottom of the inning off Haas, who had come on in relief after Marcus Soucia left after throwing 74 pitches.
Gruttadauria singled with two outs to bring the top of the order to the plate.
Leonzi singled to right-center.
When Gruttadauria aggressively went to third and beat the throw, Leonzi snuck into second base.
Allen then hit the ball to Eliot, but this time he beat out the throw to first as Gruttadauria scored.
New Hampshire threatened again the fifth.
After Vincente got out quickly from his catcher’s position to throw out Langevin on a bunt attempt, Marcus Soucia chopped an infield hit up the third base line.
Allen next made a great play going to his left to make a sliding stop and throwing out Eliot.
Trumbull’s second error put runners on the corners, but Gruttadauria jumped up to snare Carl Hoden’s hit attempt for the third out.