BRISTOL, Conn. — After a second straight loss in which the Falmouth Little League team surrendered 10 runs, Coach Matt Rogers said it was time to press the reset button.
Falmouth grabbed an early lead Sunday but surrendered nine runs over the final three innings and suffered a 10-4 defeat to Williston, Vermont, in the New England Regional at Breen Field.
“I just told (the team) you got a chance to erase this stuff,” Rogers said. “I said, ‘Would you like to hit the rewind button and erase these last two games?’ and they said yes.”
Falmouth, which lost 10-0 to Fairfield, Connecticut, on Saturday, has one more pool-play game Tuesday against Barnstable, Mass., (1 p.m., NESN) and could still advance to the semifinals.
Starting on his 13th birthday, Josh LeFevre battled to keep his team ahead after Falmouth grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Sam Manganello’s RBI double and Alex Smith’s run-scoring double. LeFevre pitched out of trouble in each of the first three innings. He the third inning, he escaped a bases-loaded, no-out mess after hitting Griffin McDermott to force in a run.
“He’s one of our aces, it was his birthday,” Rogers said. “He said his arm felt good, so we really felt good about going into it with him.”
In the first inning, LeFevre escaped a second-and-third, one-out threat. Williston also stranded a runner on second in the second inning. But the Vermont champions eventually wore down Falmouth, pounding out 16 hits, including three apiece by Aidan Johnson and Jonah Roberts.
McDermott’s RBI single capped a three-run rally in the fourth that gave Williston a 4-2 lead. LeFevre was changed with five runs – only two earned – and 11 hits over four-plus innings.
“I thought we put the bat on the ball well today and got on base,” Williston Manager Paul Angstman said.
Falmouth tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. Manganello delivered an RBI single, and Brady Douglas, who birthday is Monday, stole home on the back end of a double steal to make it 4-4.
But Ryan Eaton’s RBI single snapped the tie in the top of the fifth, beginning a stretch of six unanswered runs for Williston.
After scoring twice in the fifth, the Vermont champions broke it open with four in the sixth.
“They hit the ball where we weren’t a lot today, “Rogers said. “It seemed every time they put a ball in play it found a hole.
“We didn’t get the bounces or the luck and that was the difference.”
Only four of Williston’s runs were earned, as three of the five runs Connor Coffin allowed in relief were unearned. Johnson, the third of five pitchers for Williston, pitched the fourth inning and was credited with the win.
Manganello, Ike Kiely and Smith each had two hits for Falmouth, which finished with nine.
Falmouth will celebrate the two birthdays at a team dinner Monday night after touring the ESPN campus earlier in the day. When the team gets back on the field Tuesday, Rogers will be looking for the offense (seven runs in three games) to break out, and also for crisper defense.
“Right now, they’re disappointed,” Rogers said of his players. “They’re a great team and they haven’t shown it here. We have not fielded well and we haven’t hit.”