WILLIMANTIC — Max Sinoway’s Little League season was on the line Tuesday and it didn’t look good after falling behind by three runs to Madison after two innings in the double-elimination Connecticut Little League state tournament.
But being resilient and coming back has been this team’s forte, and the Max Sinoway cardiac kids’ season is still alive.
Max Sinoway rallied to tie the game at 3 in the third inning and a three-run sixth inning, highlighted by RBI singles from Jordan Higgins and Joe Mastroianni, gave Max Sinoway a 6-4 win over Madison at Legion Field. The teams play a winner-take-all game Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Legion Field to determine the state champion.
Higgins went 3-for-4 with an RBI and pitched 51/3 innings with six strikeouts.
“We’re all excited,” Max Sinoway manager Angelo Romano said. “I was concerned when they went ahead 3-0. But we’ve been down four or five times in the tournament and came back to win. We usually start slow and end up strong.
“We got a big game from Jordan Higgins, but that’s a usual thing. We expect good games from him. We’re all square now and we’re ready to go on Wednesday.”
In the scoreless first inning, Madison pitcher Johnny Reh struck out the side after hitting Max Sinoway’s Joe Mastroianni, the first batter of the game. Higgins hit Madison leadoff batter Johnny Reh in the bottom of the inning but went on to get the next three batters out and had a strikeout.
Madison showcased its strong offense in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. Trevor Cash belted a two-run home run and Paul Calandrelli added a sacrifice fly to right field, driving home Christian Kells from third.
Max Sinoway responded in the top of the third inning and scored three runs to tie Madison 3-3. With the bases loaded and one out, Alex Bowery had a pinch-hit two-run double and Jaden Wells scored from third base on a wild pitch.
In the top of the sixth inning, Higgins’ RBI single gave Max Sinoway a 6-3 lead.
“This was one of my best games overall on the mound and at the plate,” Higgins said. “We’re all just so happy to get this chance to win a championship. Madison is a very good team. I wasn’t concerned when we fell behind 3-0. We’ve come back before and I knew we could do it again.”
Kells led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run to center field to make it 6-4 and give his team and fans some hope. But that would be as close as Madison could get.
“I felt good taking that 3-0 lead, especially with the strong defense and pitching we have,” said Madison manager James Maynard, whose team has gone 12-2 in the postseason. “But Max Sinoway is a tough team that plays good defense and is well coached.
“We’re looking forward to another opportunity on Wednesday.”