The South Portland Red Riots defeated the Westbrook Blue Blazes, 3-2, in walk-off fashion Friday in Telegram League baseball action.

Jon Virgilio drove in the game winning run in the bottom of the second to improve the Riots’ record to 6-9. The loss drops the Blazes’ record to 6-9.

“We’ve come a long way on and off the field,” said Westbrook catcher Mike Tanguay, who went 1-2 in the game.

South Portland got off to a very fast start. After retiring Westbrook in order in the top of the first, the first three Riot batters reached base to load them up with nobody out. The following two batters hit into consecutive fielders choices allowing two runs to score before the Blazes escaped the jam.

With one out in the top of the second South Portland pitcher Josh Garneau began having control problems and walked three straight batters. A sacrifice fly by Levi Levesque cut the deficit in half.

In the third Westbrook erased the entire South Portland lead with another sac fly.

On the other side Westbrook starter Shane Kelly settled down after the rough first inning and retired the next nine in a row before an error in the fifth allowed the first Red Riot base runner since the first. But Shane got a groundout from the next batter.

“The first inning was rough, they got two runs,” said Kelly. But I settled down and threw some strikes and got some outs.”

An outstanding defensive play to end the fifth inning preserved the tie. With runners at first and second Will Furbush hit a drive to left center. Christian Hamilton came up throwing and was able to gun the runner down at the plate.

Both teams battled hard the whole game and only allowed two runs apiece.

In the bottom of the seventh inning South Portland finally broke through. Sam Tweedie led off with a double to deep left field that gave the Riots the best start to an inning since the first. Matthew Colby laid down a sacrifice bunt that sent the runner to third with only one out. With Westbrook playing in to cut down the runner at the plate, Virgilio hit a hard shot between second and third for the game-winning RBI and the walk-off win.

It was a hard end to the season for a Westbrook team that came close to a playoff berth.

“This is a young team with a lot of character,” said Westbrook coach John Eisenhart. “Not many people thought we could win six games, I’m just very proud of these kids.”

Most of them should be back next year to make the Blazes a contender in the spring of 2007.

The Red Riots may be headed to the playoffs thanks to their hot finish winning their last three games.


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