OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Fayette-Staples Post couldn’t hold a late-game lead for the second consecutive game Friday afternoon and paid the price.

Mike Hayden lined a sacrifice fly into center field in the bottom of the 10th inning as Cranston, R.I., rallying from an early five-run deficit, pulled out a 7-6 win to knock the host team out of American Legion Baseball Northeast Regional at The Ballpark.

On Thursday night, Colchester, Vt., rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 11th to pull out a 7-6 win against Fayette-Staples.

“We couldn’t close the deal again,” Fayette-Staples Coach Ray Petit said. “Last night we were one strike away twice from ending it, and today we had two outs.”

Matt Pagano started the winning rally with a leadoff single. He stole second and went to third on catcher Josh Coffin’s throwing error before Hayden’s sacrifice fly.

Cranston will play New York champion Whitestown Post at 9:30 a.m. today in an elimination game.

Fayette-Staples Post, made up primarily of players from Thornton Academy in Saco, went 0-2 in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.

“It’s definitely disappointing,” Petit said. “I feel bad for these kids. They worked hard and they played well.

“It’s not a very good way to lose a game, but you know, it might make them tougher.”

Fayette-Staples Post scored three runs in each of the first two innings to take a 6-1 lead.

In the first inning, Fayette-Staples loaded the bases on Sam Canales’ single, an infield error and a hit batsman. Jeff Gelinas drove in two runs with a sharp single to left and the third run scored when Pagano let the ball get past him.

John Razzino led off the bottom of the first with a walk, went to second on a groundout and scored on catcher Coffin’s throwing error.

In the second inning, Fayette-Staples again loaded the bases on an error, a hit batsman and Trevor Fleurent’s single. One run scored when Alex Richardson-Newton bounced into a double play, Matt Turnage followed with an RBI double and Gelinas drove in a run with his second single.

Keegan Sullivan didn’t allow a hit in the first five innings, but Cranston got to him in the sixth.

Tyler Collins led off with a single up the middle to break up the no-hitter. Razzino followed with another single, and both scored when Pagano doubled deep to left.

Cranston made it 6-4 in the eighth. Collins led off with a bloop double down the right-field line. He moved to third when Razzino grounded out to second and scored on Pagano’s grounder to second.

The Rhode Island champion rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. With two outs, Rob Madonna walked and Steve Beneduce singled up the middle. Anthony Pagano pulled a single into right to make it 6-5, and Collins, facing an 0-2 count, hammered his third hit of game into center to make it 6-6.

“My players never quit,” Cranston Coach David Schiappa said. “I never saw quit on their faces the whole game. It’s unbelievable.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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Twitter: PaulBetitPPH