BANGOR — Maine District 3 champ Brewer/Orrington appeared to be on its way to winning its second straight Senior League World Series game after rallying for five runs in the top of the sixth inning to erase a three-run deficit against Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy.
But the resilient Italians, the Europe-Middle East-Africa titlists, used Alessandro Deotto’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth to pull within one and then rallied for two runs in the seventh, capped by Alessandro Tonzar’s two-out double that drove in the winning run as Italy triumphed 7-6.
Both teams are now 1-1 in Pool A play. Italy plays 0-2 Canadian champ Notre Dame de Grace from Montreal on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Brewer/Orrington has Tuesday off and resumes pool play against U.S. East champ Talbot County, Md., on Wednesday at 5.
Maryland will take a 1-0 record into a 10 a.m. Tuesday game against U.S. Southwest titlist Tyler, Texas, which is also 1-0.
Italian coach Marcello Massa said his players never lost confidence after surrendering the lead.
“The players thought the game was still (winnable),” said Massa.
“We thought we played better (than Brewer/Orrington),” said pitcher-second baseman Marco Mari, who allowed just two runs and four hits over 5⅓ innings.
“You can’t give them enough credit for keeping their composure,” said Brewer/Orrington manager Roger White.
Mari started the seventh-inning rally when he was hit by a Jeff Weeks pitch with one out. He moved to second on a balk and scored when Daniele Furlan bounced a one-out single to center off a 1-2 pitch and the ball skipped under the glove of the hard-charging Jeremy Bissell.
“There was a lot of pressure on me. If I had made the second out, we may have lost the game,” said Furlan, who scored the game-winning run from first when Tonzar ripped a 1-1 pitch into the right-center field gap.
“(Weeks) threw me a fastball. It was a little outside,” said Tonzar.
“He put a good swing on it,” said White. “That was the deepest hit we’ve given up in our first two games. Unfortunately, it came at the wrong time for us.”
White said the balk hurt them because he couldn’t play his infielders at double-play depth since Mari moved up on it.
“If we were in double-play depth, (shortstop Evan Pelkey) might have been able to knock the ball down,” said White.
Brewer/Orrington gifted the Italians a 4-0 lead in the first inning by committing five errors. All of the runs were unearned.
Mari and Furlan opened the inning by reaching on errors by Pelkey and Mari scored when second baseman Kyle Alexander made a throwing error trying to turn a double play on Davide Bertoldi’s grounder.
First baseman Kurt Massey threw wildly to the plate, allowing Bertoldi to reach second.
Tonzar flared an RBI single to right and Enrico Varin followed with a soft line-drive single to right-center.
Alex Ceccotti’s two-out grounder slipped between Massey’s legs to allow the final two runs to score.
Weeks gave his mates a chance to battle back as he recovered nicely, retiring 11 hitters in a row at one point.
Mari was outstanding as he allowed just two singles through four innings.
Brewer finally broke through for a run on the fifth when Spencer Valley walked, stole second and third and scored on Alexander’s ground-out.
Ian Forrest triggered Brewer’s five-run rally in the sixth by looping a one-out single into right-center.
That came on Mari’s 91st pitch — pitchers are allowed to throw 95 pitches in a game in the SLWS — and Mari was replaced by Varin. Mari induced 10 ground-ball outs and finished with three strikeouts and four walks.
Varin was greeted by pinch-hitter Zach Violette’s ground-ball single to right and John Hand laid down a sacrifice bunt.
Valley walked and Alexander rifled a two-run single to center.
Alexander stole second and Valley and Alexander both scored when Mari, who had moved to second base, bobbled Weeks’ ground ball.
Matt Morrow walked and Jeremy Bissell bounced an RBI single to left over third baseman Tonzar’s head.
Tonzar came on to pitch and got the final out and tossed a scoreless seventh inning to pick up the win.
Tonzar scored the sixth-inning run when he singled and went to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Deotto’s line drive single to right.
“I was impressed with their pitchers’ velocity,” said White. “For a European team, the depth of their pitching staff definitely surprised me. They should be proud of themselves. They know how to play the game.”
Tonzar had a double and two singles for the winners, and Furlan had two base hits. The Italians were impressive defensively, making several nice plays and committing just one error.
Forrest and Bissell had two hits each for Brewer/Orrington, which stole 10 bases, including three by Bissell.
Brewer played solid defense after the disastrous first inning and Weeks pitched well in defeat.
<span class=”Sports_agate_baseball”>Maine District 3 000 015 0 — 6 7 7</span>
<span class=”Sports_agate_baseball”>EMEA 400 001 2 — 7 8 1</span>
<span class=”Sports_agate”>Weeks and Forrest; Mari, Varin (6), Tonzar (6) and Deottor</span>