BIDDEFORD — Will Mitchell hit two three-run homers Thursday to help Saco avoid elimination from the Little League baseball state tournament for the fourth straight game.
Mitchell led Saco to a 10-7 victory against Falmouth in the double-elimination tournament for 11- and 12-year-olds.
The teams will play again at 4 p.m. Friday at Biddeford with the winner advancing to the East regional, scheduled for Aug. 1-10 at Bristol, Connecticut.
Saco is attempting to come out of the losers’ bracket and win the title for the second consecutive season.
“They’ve got a great hitting lineup, there’s no doubt about that,” Falmouth Manager Matt Rogers said. “We do, too. I think the best two teams are here and I’m glad we get to play another game.”
Falmouth rolled to a 13-8 victory to send Saco to the losers’ bracket on the second day of the tournament.
Pat Sawyer, a right-handed pitcher who took the loss in the first tournament game between the teams, carried a three-hitter into the fifth inning and was the winner.
“When we played them the first time, he left a lot of balls up high and they got hit out,” Mitchell said. “He did a good job of keeping the ball down low.”
“I just threw a bunch of off-speed (pitches),” Sawyer said. “They weren’t hitting off-speed a lot and I kept it outside so if they got a piece of it, it (wouldn’t) be a really good hit.”
During his 41/3 innings on the mound, Sawyer, who had to leave with one out in the fifth after reaching Little League’s maximum of 85 pitches in a game, walked four and struck out 10, including five consecutive hitters during the third and fourth innings.
“A Little League kid who can locate a curveball, especially early in the game, and throw it for strikes is difficult to beat,” Rogers said.
Sawyer got off to shaky start.
Falmouth took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Josh LeFevre grounded a one-out single through the left side of the infield after Falmouth loaded the bases on two walks and an error.
“After that I just settled myself down, took a deep breath and started pitching strikes,” Sawyer said.
Saco tied it in the bottom of the first when Calvin Christoforo homered over the left-field fence following Grant Dow’s two-out single.
Saco scored four runs in the third to take a 6-2 lead. With one out, Dow singled sharply to center and Christoforo was hit by a pitch. Pinch-hitter Cameron Shaffer bounced a single up the middle to drive in the first run. Mitchell drove a long home run over the center-field fence.
In the fourth, Saco added four runs. Kobe Gaudette led off with an opposite-field double to left and scored when Ben Ham grounded a single into right.
Dow walked and with two outs, Mitchell launched a homer into the gap in right to make it 10-2.
Saco belted nearly half of the 36 homers hit during the first 10 games of the tournament.
“We kind of try to hit hard line drives,” Mitchell said. “We’re not trying to hit home runs usually because if you think about (home runs), you’re just going to pop it up.”
Falmouth scored four runs in the fifth to close the gap.
Brady Douglass led off the with a long opposite-field home run to left. An error, LeFevre’s third hit of the game and another error produced two more runs.
Jackson Quinn followed with a two-run homer.