Thursday, August 7, 2014

New England Semifinal Recaps (2014)

No. 2 Cumberland American (RI) 13, No. 3 Falmouth (ME) 4, (8 inn.)

For Cumberland, it doesn't get much scarier than today's game against Falmouth. The Maine champions, who were ranked last in my rankings at one point this week, brought their A game for television once again. Michael Simmonds loves the spotlight. With a home run to secure the three seed earlier in the week and then an incredible pitching performance (5 innings, 2 earned runs, five hits) against a lineup like Cumberland's. At one point, he retired nine straight and 11 of 12. He also had a two-run single to tie the game in the fifth.

With the game tied 4-4, Cumberland loaded the bases in the 8th with a walk, single from Jayden Struble, and a hit batter. Tyler Provost drew an RBI-walk to break the tie and Sean Meers ripped a two-run single to break the game open, but it didn't end there. Trey Bourque added an RBI-single to his two-run home run in the second inning. Nick Croteau had an infield single and then Struble hammered a three-run homer to put the game away for good.

Falmouth played an unbelievable game and tournament. Alex Smith went 3-for-4 with an RBI. He had a huge walkoff homer earlier this week. Ike Kiely had a pair of hits, and Sam Manganello had the game-tying single in the sixth. Falmouth also took home the Bob Watson Sportsmanship Award for the entire East Region. From everything I heard and saw, it was deserved. Great group. Paul Alesse of LiSPN who takes the officials photos of the tournament captured an amazing shot of Kiely in the eighth inning.

By scoring nine runs in the eighth inning, Cumberland was able to get Croteau out of the game at the 35-pitch threshold for the final. They'll also have C.J. Davock available.






Photo Courtesy of LISPN.com


No. 1 Fairfield American (CT) 9, No. 4 Barnstable Tom Wallace American (MA) 0

If you had to choose one of the two semifinals that would be tough on the favorite, you would've expected it to be this one. While Fairfield has been strong all week long, Barnstable has looked tough with its ace Wyatt Scotti on the mound, even dating back to the state final when Barnstable upset Holden.

Today, Fairfield showed why the league has been to the Little League World Series twice since 2010. They bring it in the big games. Connecticut scored three runs on four hits in the first inning including another opposite field home run from Jamie "Ralphie" Flink (2-for-3). Jack Steed (2-for-3, 3 RBI) continued his hot streak with a ribbie single. In the second inning, Fairfield added five more hits, all singles. Connecticut added another pair of runs off a two-run blast by Brian Howell (3-for-4). Eight of Fairfield's 11 players had a hit. It was an impressive performance.

Defensively, Fairfield was flawless and Sam Davenport found his groove on the mound allowing no runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five. Connecticut went to Howell to get the final four outs.

For Barnstable, Nick Wilson was 2-for-2.

We'll have a complete New England Regional Championship Preview article tomorrow night. Make sure you check back for that one.

Prediction Results- For the third consecutive year, I got the final two teams in the region correct. For the third consecutive time, I've also missed just one of the semifinalists. This year, it was subbing New Hampshire for Maine. A walk-off home run in that game was the difference. I chose Rhode Island to win the region from the beginning. We'll see if that changes in the New England Regional Final Preview tomorrow.






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