BANGOR — The Brewer/Orrington All-Stars and their counterparts from Talbot County, Md., had at least two things in common entering their Senior League World Series pool-play matchup at Mansfield Stadium late Wednesday afternoon.
Both teams were coming off last-inning losses in their previous games and, at 1-1, both were in need of a victory to enhance their chances of qualifying for Friday’s semifinals.
Talbot County rebounded best, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and holding on for a 7-4 victory over the Maine District 3 champions.
“It was important for us to forget about the last game and just focus on playing Maine,” said Justus Mills, who scored twice to help the U.S. East representatives bounce back after watching a 6-0 lead evaporate during their 8-6 loss to Tyler, Texas, on Tuesday.
Both teams conclude pool play Thursday, with Brewer (1-2) slated for 5 p.m. matchup against Tyler, Texas, while Talbot County (2-1) plays 1-1 Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, at 8 p.m., and would clinch a semifinal berth with a victory.
“I feel really good about this win today,” said Talbot County third baseman Scott Endzel. “But we really need to come out strong against Italy.”
Brewer’s cause against the Maryland team was hurt by five errors and two runners thrown out on the basepaths.
“It’s the little things that sometimes makes the difference between winning and losing these games,” said Brewer manager Roger White, whose team was coming off a 7-6 loss to Italy on Monday. “Unfortunately, these last two games we haven’t executed enough of the little things to come out on the winning side.”
Talbot County took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first two innings.
Endzel drew a leadoff walk from Brewer starter Zach Violette, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored as Brian Delaney reached on an infield error.
But Violette escaped further damage after loading the bases with one out on a walk to Chance Crissinger and a single to left by Tayvon Blake by getting Brian Shaw to hit the ball sharply to Brewer third baseman Matt Morrow to start an inning-ending 5-3 double play.
Mills led off the Talbot County second with a walk, stole second and went to third on an errant throw before scoring his team’s second run on a single to left by Dylan Rabbitt.
Talbot County broke the game open with three runs in the fourth. Shaw singled and Mills walked, then the bases became loaded with no one out as Rabbitt sacrificed but reached base on an errant throw.
Special pinch-runner Chris Bramble scored on Brewer’s second error of the inning, an errant pickoff throw, and an RBI groundout by Brooks Harrison and am RBI bunt single by Endzel extended the Talbot County lead to 5-0.
Brewer got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Morrow hit a leadoff single to center and Violette walked before both runners moved up when Rabbitt replaced Jones on the mound and threw his first pitch into the dirt.
Spencer Valley served a one-out single over second base to drive home Morrow, and Violette scored to cut the gap to 5-2 as Valley was being thrown out by Maryland catcher Taylor Slaughenhoupt while trying to steal second.
Rabbitt and Harrison both drew one-out walks in the Talbot County sixth, the final pitch to Harrison marking Violette’s 95th and last pitch of the game.
Bramble, pinch-running for Rabbitt, and Harrison executed a double-steal on the first pitch by Brewer reliever Evan Pelkey. Bramble then scored on a groundout to first by Endzel, and pinch-hitter Damian South blooped an RBI single to left-center to extend the Talbot County lead to 7-2.
“Those last two runs in the sixth inning were big,” said Rabbitt, “because they gave us that much more of a cushion.”
Brewer scored its final runs with a two-out rally in the seventh. Kyle Alexander singled to left, Jeff Weeks reached on an error, Morrow grounded an RBI single to left and Pelkey delivered a second run with an infield hit to shortstop.
Alexander, Morrow and Valley were the game’s lone repeat hitters, each with two singles.
U.S. East (2-1) 110 302 0 — 7-6-2
Maine District 3 (1-2) 000 200 2 — 4-7-5
Jones, Rabbitt (4), Blake (6), Mills (7) and Slaughenhoupt; Violette, Pelkey (6) and Forrest