BRISTOL — As disappointing as Madison Little League’s opening loss was to Vermont on Sunday in the first round of the Little League New England regional, Madison manager James Maynard was confident his talented 13-player squad could rebound in the loser’s bracket.
So far, the confidence Maynard had after that initial loss has been spot on with Connecticut winning two straight games to advance to the semifinals.
On Wednesday, it was the Chase Geremia show.
Geremia belted a three-run triple to lead Connecticut to a 6-1 win over Maine at Breen Field. Geremia started on the mound and had seven strikeouts, allowed no hits and walked one batter in 32/3 innings.
Madison advanced to the semifinals on Friday at 1 p.m. and will face the loser of today’s winners bracket semifinal between New Hampshire and Rhode Island (1 p.m. start).
“I am so proud of our boys,” Maynard said. “After dropping that first game to Vermont, I told them it was win or go home and they know that. They were focused and we played some of our best baseball in our win over Massachusetts (4-1 win Tuesday) and today.
“Pitching is what got us here and Chase was lights out on the mound today. At one point we had nine hits and only a 1-0 lead. I was concerned by that but then Chase ripped it open for us with a three-run triple.”
Madison kicked off the scoring in the second inning when Johnny Reh had an RBI single to give Connecticut a 1-0 lead.
Geremia struck out the side twice, in the bottom of the second inning and third inning, to preserve the 1-0 lead. But the Madison offense took things to another level in a four-run fifth inning to effectively put the game away.
After getting pinch-hitter Gavin Doyle to pop to the catcher for the first out, Maine pitcher Michael Caron proceeded to walk the bases loaded. Geremia belted a triple down the right field line to clear the bases and give Madison a 4-0 lead. Paul Calandrelli followed with a groundout to the pitcher and drove in Geremia for a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Charlie Foster walked for Maine’s first baserunner of the game. But during the next at bat Foster was caught stealing on a solid throw by catcher Calandrelli to get him out.
As the fifth inning was about to start, the clouds opened up and the game endured a 1 hour, 40-minute rain delay with pouring rain and lightning taking over.
When the game resumed, Madison added another run on an RBI double by Morris Selmani to give Madison a 6-0 lead
Maine eventually scored on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Mason Laflamme in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“I’m not surprised at how we responded these pst two games with the talent we have,” Maynard said. “After the Vermont game, I knew we were better than that, better than how we played in that game.”
Players weren’t available for interviews after the game because they only had about an hour to get ready for the regional banquet on Wednesday night.