Kyle Gray and Kyle Roche combined to pitch a six-hitter as Braintree, Massachusetts, defeated the Bangor Coffee News Comrades 4-1 on Thursday during Day 2 of the American Legion Northeast Regional Baseball Tournament in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Bangor Coffee News, 1-1 in the double-elimination event, faces a must-win situation at 1 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday’s elimination game between West Hartford, Connecticut, Post 96 and Rochester, New Hampshire, Post 7.
Braintree (2-0) advances to a winner’s-bracket matchup against either Stamford, Connecticut, or Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Gray scattered five hits over 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts and three walks for Braintree before giving way to Roche, who pitched 2 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief to earn the save.
Bangor Coffee News got a complete-game pitching performance from right-hander Ethan Stoddard, who yielded eight hits and four earned runs with seven strikeouts and two walks. Stoddard held Braintree scoreless over his final five innings of work after yielding four runs in the first three innings.
Tyler Parke had two hits and scored the Comrades’ lone run, while Noah Missbrenner doubled and Zach Cowperthwaite, Zach Ireland and Ben Crichton each singled.
Sean Casey singled twice with an RBI for Braintree, Massachusetts.
Braintree, which edged Woonsocket, Rhode Island, 4-2 earlier Thursday in a game postponed from Wednesday due to inclement weather, never trailed against Bangor Coffee News after taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Casey’s RBI single and a run-producing fielder’s choice by Cole Flannery.
The Massachusetts entry added single runs in the second and third innings. Justin Adams singled with two outs in the second, advanced to third on Billy Silva’s double and scored on a wild pitch.
Casey hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the third and later scored on a double-play grounder by Stephen Burns to make it 4-0.
Bangor Coffee News finally got on the scoreboard against Gray in the top of the sixth. Parke reached on a leadoff bunt single and stole second base before Stoddard walked. Parke went to third on a flyout by Cowperthwaite and scored on balk to cut Braintree’s lead to 4-1.
Stoddard then advanced to third base on a groundout by Missbrenner but was stranded there as Gray got Jesse Colford to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
Stoddard settled down on the mound during the middle innings, allowing the leadoff runner aboard in the Braintree fourth but then with the help of an inning-ending double-play liner to Colford at second base went on to retire nine consecutive batters through the end of the sixth.