MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – After dropping their first game in the American Legion state tournament, the Windham Merchants won five straight to claim the championship.

They are going to have to follow the same path if they want to do any damage in the New England regionals following a 13-4 defeat to host Middletown on Thursday night at Palmer Field.

Windham, which failed to take advantage of two bases-loaded situations in the middle of the game, had two runners picked off first and committed four errors, will take on Colchester, Vt., in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Colchester fell into the loser’s bracket with a 13-9 setback to Worcester, Mass., earlier Thursday.

If Windham wins Friday, it will play again at 9:30 a.m Saturday against the loser of a winner’s-bracket semifinal between Barnstable, Mass., and Branford, Conn.

Nate Boyle took the loss for Windham, surrendering five runs, four earned, and six hits over three-plus innings.

After allowing the first four batters to reach in a five-run fourth, Boyle gave way to Tanner Laberge with the bases loaded and Windham trailing 2-1.

Laberge yielded a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly before Middletown tacked on two unearned runs to extend its lead to 6-1.

Overall, Laberge was charged with four runs, three earned, on two hits over two-plus innings. He also walked five and hit two batters.

Spencer Hodge, Windham’s third pitcher, surrendered four runs.

Middletown starter Jake Decarli also had some control issues, hitting four batters and giving up four runs, but he limited the Merchants to five hits over seven innings.

Boyle picked up Windham’s first hit with a two-out infield single in the second, then was picked off first.

In the third, John Herzig was hit by a pitch, only to be picked off by catcher Dan Kovach.

Middletown grabbed a quick lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. Chris Cardi was hit by a pitch and after Kovach flied to right for the second out, Jordan Swillings reached on a bloop single that dropped in front of second baseman Laberge. Will Woods then ripped an RBI single to right.

The Merchants tied the game in the fourth on Laberge’s grounder, but the inning could have been a lot more productive after they loaded the bases with no outs.

Middletown also loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth but cashed in the opportunity, coming away with five runs.

Windham loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning and again was held to a single run on Joe Francoeur’s sacrifice fly.

Right fielder Cody Dube kept the Merchants in the game by throwing out Woods trying to score on Nick Roy’s flyout to end the fifth.

But Middletown put away the game with four runs in the sixth to build a 10-2 lead. Each team then scored a pair in the seventh and Middletown added one in the eighth.