BIDDEFORD — Nate Rogers picked a great time to hit his first two home runs as a Little League baseball player.
Rogers belted a grand slam in the third inning when Falmouth scored 10 times, then blasted a three-run homer in the fourth to provide the deciding runs in a 13-10 win Friday against Saco in the final game of Little League baseball state tournament for 11-and 12-year-old players.
Falmouth will represent Maine in the New England Regional, which will be held Aug. 1-10 in Bristol, Connecticut.
Falmouth will start pool play at 2 p.m. Friday against Goffstown, New Hampshire. Its game against Massachusetts at 1 p.m. on Aug. 5 will be televised on NESN.
“I knew it was going to be a hard place to go, but we got there,” Rogers said of advancing to the regional tournament. “It took a lot of teamwork and effort, and we made the most of it.”
Falmouth ended Saco’s dream of coming out of the losers’ bracket to capture the state title for the second consecutive year. The District 4 champions avoided elimination by winning four games in a row after losing 13-8 to Falmouth in their tournament opener.
“One inning is all it took,” Saco Manager Shawn Gaudette said. “It took one inning to take it away from us. It’s unfortunate, but they have a great hitting team as well as we do, and I wish them the best.”
Saco opened the scoring with an unearned run in the first inning. Kobe Gaudette led off with a single up the middle and, following a walk to Ben Ham, scored on an error on Grant Dow’s ground ball to the right side of the infield.
Saco added three runs in the second. Luke Ham led off with a walk and Hayden slammed an opposite-field homer to make it 3-0. With two outs, Ben Ham walked, moved up on a wild pitch and scored when Dow doubled off the fence in center.
Falmouth took a 10-4 lead in the bottom of the third, however.
Connor Coffin led off with a bad-hop single to left. A walk and Brady Douglas’ single up the middle loaded the bases. Sam Manganello’s bloop single to left and Sean Dilworth’s bases-loaded walk made it 4-2.
Alex Smith drove in a run with his second hit of the game, and Mike Simonds gave Falmouth a 5-4 lead when he drove in two runs with a single to right.
After pinch-hitter Andy Arnoldo walked, Rogers launched a home run to the opposite field in left to make it 9-4.
“I was locked in, and I knew there was a strike coming,” said Rogers, who had homered in practice but never in a game. “I felt I could hit it and I hit it a long way. It felt good. I was just trying to hit a line drive (to) the opposite field.”
A walk, the second hit of the inning by Douglas and a throwing error made it 10-4.
Ben Ham narrowed Falmouth’s lead when he led off the fourth with a home run off Connor Coffin, who entered in relief in the second inning after starter Josh Lefevre developed a sore arm.
In the bottom of the inning, Rogers pulled a homer over the right-field fence following Smith’s third single of the game and a walk for a 13-5 lead.
Saco rallied for five runs in the fifth. Will Mitchell led off with a double and scored when Luke Ham singled to deep right. After a single by Hayden Lehigh put runners at the corners, Ham scored on Pat Sawyer’s ground ball to third. Gaudette followed with a homer to center to make it 13-9. Ben Ham then doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground ball.