THE FARMINGTON Babe Ruth 14U team won the district championship in Littleton on Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 14, 2014LITTLETON — It was a weekend to remember for the Farmington Babe Ruth 14U squad.
The team traveled to Littleton on three consecutive days and walked away with three consecutive wins to capture the district title and earn a bid to the state tournament.
After an 8-5 win over Plymouth to open the tournament on Thursday, July 10, Farmington returned to Littleton's Remich Park on Friday, July 12, to take on the host North Country team.
Blaise Laurion took the hill for Farmington and a walk, a base hit and a balk turned into a run for the hosts. Two more walks loaded the bases, but Laurion got a grounder back to the hill to end the inning.
Farmington threatened in the bottom of the inning, as Laurion was hit by a pitch and Noah Vandervoet worked a walk, both with two outs, but they were stranded.
Matt White took over on the mound in the second for Farmington and worked around a base hit, but Farmington also went in order in the bottom of the second. Good defense helped White out in the top of the third. After a leadoff hit, a nice catch by catcher Evan Lavoice on a foul popup and a 6-3 double play, started by Tom Scala at shortstop, ended the inning.
Farmington was able to tie the game up in the bottom of the third. Brent Haley reached on an error to open the inning and one out later, he was forced at second on a grounder to third by Cameron Stinchfield. Stinchfield then stole second and he came around to score on a base hit by Lavoice, tying the game at one.
Laurion made a nice scoop at first base to help Farmington get through the top of the fourth and Farmington was unable to generate any offense in the bottom of the fourth.
Scala took the hill in the top of the fifth inning and after a leadoff hit, he got two groundouts and after an intentional walk, struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.
Farmington took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dakota Prescott reached on an error to open the inning and Scott Healy worked a walk to put two runners on. Haley then delivered a base hit to plate the go-ahead run for Farmington.
Lavoice helped his team get out of the top of the sixth, as two walks put two runners on base, but Lavoice gunned down a runner stealing second to end the inning.
Farmington got a little insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning. Vandervoet reached on an error with one out, reaching all the way to second. He then stole third and scored on a base hit by White for a 3-1 lead. Josh Tufts took over on the bases and base hits from Scala and Prescott loaded the bases with one out, but all three runners were stranded.
North Country came charging back in the top of the seventh, getting a base hit, a walk and another base hit. A throw from the outfield attempting to gun down a runner at the plate went out of play, allowing the tying run to score.
Farmington remained calm, however, and came right back in the bottom of the seventh. Tucker Gosselin worked a walk to open the inning, but he was gunned down stealing second. Stinchfield beat out an infield hit and one out later, Laurion reached on an error. Vandervoet followed with a shot that went over the leftfielder's head, allowing Stinchfield to cross the plate with the winning run, sending Farmington into Saturday afternoon's championship game.
The championship game saw Farmington again doing battle with North Country. White got the start on the hill and walked the leadoff hitter and gave up a base hit to the second hitter. However, he got the next three batters in order to close the inning.
Lavoice reached in the bottom of the first but he was gunned down stealing second to end the inning. Lavoice then returned the favor, firing a shot to Haley at second to cut down a North Country runner in the top of the second inning. An 8-4 double play killed a Farmington scoring chance in the bottom of the second and North Country got on the board in the top of the third.
Four consecutive one-out base hits plated two runs, but a 6-2-4 double play got the team out of the inning with no further trouble.
Farmington went in order in the bottom of the third and White worked around a walk in the top of the fourth, allowing Farmington to come back and tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Gosselin worked a walk to start the inning and stole second. Stinchfield followed with a base hit and also stole second. Lavoice flew out to right field to plate Gosselin and after a Laurion grounder cut down Stinchfield at third, a Vandervoet bloop hit behind third plated Laurion with the tying run.
Laurion came on to pitch in the top of the fifth and set North Country down in order, allowing Farmington to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Tufts has a base hit and stole second. Healy beat out an infield hit and stole second and Tufts scored on a fly ball to center by Stinchfield, giving Farmington its first lead of the game.
Laurion got some good defensive help from White on a nice grab at first base and Farmington added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out Lavoice had a base hit and Laurion was hit by a pitch. A Vandervoet base hit loaded the bases and Lavoice scored when White reached on a fielder's choice. A base hit from Scala drove in Vandervoet with the fifth run for Farmington.
North Country made things interesting in the top of the seventh. With two outs, consecutive walks and a base hit drove in one run, but Laurion got a grounder to first to end the inning and the game, sending Farmington on to the state tournament.
The state tournament, being held at Leary Field in Portsmouth, began after deadline Wednesday.
The Farmington roster included Tucker Gosselin, Brent Haley, Scott Healy, Dakota Prescott, Josh Tufts, Tom Scala, Cameron Stinchfield, Matt White, Blaise Laurion and Noah Vandervoet. The team is coached by Larry Lavertue and Graham Kasprzyk.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org