BRISTOL, Conn. — After getting routed in its tournament opener, Saco turned the tables on its next opponent, jumping out to a 6-1 lead against Newton, Mass. and cruising to 12-1 victory on Saturday in the New England Region Little League baseball tournament.

Newton took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but Saco responded with three runs each in the second and third. Brogan Searle-Belanger led off the top of the second with a single and scored on a Hunter Penley double. Michael Bourgault then doubled home Penley before scoring on a groundout by Ean Patry.

Searle-Belanger then broke the game open with a three-run home run to center in the third.

That made life easier for starting pitcher Luke Chessie, who gave up just one hit and one walk over three innings while striking out six. It was a stark contrast to Friday’s game, when Chessie failed to get out of the first inning in an 11-2 loss to Lincoln, R.I.

Searle-Belanger finished the game for Saco, throwing three hitless innings while walking two batters and striking out five.

Searle-Belanger drove in another run in the fifth, as he hit an infield single to second to bring home Anthony Bracamonte.

Saco then put five runs up on the board in the top of the sixth, pushing itself farther away from a potential Newton comeback. Matthew Duchaine led off the inning with a single, and after a sacrifice groundout and advancing to third on an error before Bracamonte grounded out, Chessie drove him home with a triple to right. Searle-Belanger and Andrew DeGeorge were both intentionally walked ”“ with Chessie stealing home on DeGeorge’s walk ”“ before Penley brought home both runners with a double. Bourgault then drove Penley home with single to center to round out the scoring.

The momentum of the victory didn’t carry over into a Sunday night game against Westport, Conn., and the hits stopped coming. Literally. Westport pitchers Chad Knight and Max Popken combined on a perfect game, striking out 14 batters in an 8-0 win.

Saco starting pitcher Michael Bourgault took the brunt of the Westport offensive attack, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits, while striking outs four batters and walking two.

Westport jumped on the board with a run in the bottom of the first, but a six-run second inning put the game away early. A two-run home run by Max Stone started the rally.

“(I’m) very proud of my team’s performance to not get 10-run ruled,” said Saco manager Todd Duchaine. “We were down 7-0 after two innings and held them (to make it) a full six-inning game.”

Saco gets an off day today before playing its final pool play game against South Burlington, Vt. on Tuesday. The 1 p.m. game will be telecast live on NESN.

“Stings today, but a win Tuesday will make it all better,” said Duchaine. “All my pitching is lined up for Tuesday. We have a win under our belt and we will look good for the folks back home. Vermont will be tough, but I like our chances.”

— Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323. Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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