Colton Cross and Ryan Gagnon high five each other during Saco’s game East Regional Tournament matchup against the Cranston West little league team of Rhode Island on August 5. Saco finished with a 2-2 record to take third in the 11-team tournament. (JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY)

SACO — The Saco Little League Baseball team had a flare for the dramatic this summer. 

The excitement continued for the 8 to 10-year-olds at the Eastern Regional Tournament in Cranston, Rhode Island, last week. 

Staring at a 10-3 deficit through three innings in its final baseball game of the season against Needham, Massachusetts, on Aug. 8, Saco roared back to tie the game in the sixth, then scored the winning run on an inside-the-park home run from Brennan Tabor in the seventh to pull off an 11-10 win.

“That’s our team,” said Saco head coach Jamie Gagnon. “They never gave up and fought for every run.”

Tabor finished with three hits and three RBIs and Noah Fullerton collected four hits and drove in two runs for Saco, which went 2-2 record in pool play to earn a third-place finish in the 11-team tournament.

In their opening game Aug. 3, Saco jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first against Fairfield, Connecticut. Fairfield scored two runs in each of the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to pull away for a 9-4 win. Noah Fullerton had two hits and two RBIs to lead Saco.  

Two days later, the All-Stars from Rhode Island, scored eight runs in the third inning on its way to a 12-4 win over Saco. The following afternoon, Saco defeated Goffstown, New Hampshire, 4-2, behind a strong performance on the mound from Fullerton, who struck out 10 over 5 ⅓ innings to earn the win. The win set up Saco’s come-from-behind, 11-10 win over Needham two days later to conclude its tournament run. 

Saco qualified for regionals after beating Standish, 2-0, in the championship game of the Maine state tournament back on July 27 in Westbrook. During Saco’s state title run, the squad had to face Standish three teams and all were nail-biters.

In the first matchup against Standish on July 23 , Saco pulled out a 4-3 win in extra innings. Saco scored twice in the top of the seventh to go ahead 4-2, then held on for a one-run win.

Four days later, Standish got the best of Saco in a nip-and-tuck 2-1 affair to set up the decisive title game. In the championship game, Fullerton struck out 13 over 5 ⅓ no-hit innings to lead Saco to a 2-0 win to secure a state title. 

“(Fullerton) was brilliant,” Gagnon said. “He had to be. Our bats went quiet for a bit … It was a brilliant performance on both sides.”

For Saco to make the trip to Rhode Island, the team was able to get donations from local businesses to help take care of the traveling expenses. The team, including assistant coach Andy Tripp, was grateful for the support the community showed. 

“We want to thank all the generous donors in Saco and surrounding communities who made this trip possible,” Tripp said. 

 

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