The Bristol squad scored five unanswered runs to take the district title game, 11-6, and will advance to play in the state championship tournament at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Veterans Park in Bristol.
After losing the first game of the double-elimination tournament, Portsmouth won five in a row to advance to the finals, including a 1-0 pitchers’ duel against Bristol Sunday night. That game was won after Portsmouth outfielder Braden Anderson stroked an RBI double in the sixth inning.“That was a tough one to lose,” said Dave Pires, manager of the Bristol team. “It was a well-pitched game.”
Bristol’s hitters came to life Monday night, with Joey Parella hitting a two-out grand slam to make it 6-0 after two innings.
Portsmouth battled back, however, scoring runs in the next two innings to tie it up. The rally included third baseman Jacob Pine’s first-ever Little League home run in the fourth to make it a 6-5 game. His bomb came with two outs and two strikes against him.
That knocked Bristol starter Krista Varrichione out of the game, with Joey Parella coming in as relief. Portsmouth tacked on another run in the fourth, but that was all the team could manage offensively.
The Portsmouth squad’s wheels came off in the top of the fifth as the team coughed up five runs to Bristol, which cruised to victory.
Keith Hamilton, president of Portsmouth Little League, called Sunday’s and Monday’s play “two nights of classic Little League baseball.”Mr. Pires credited his entire squad with the win.
“Joey had a grand slam to start us out and pitched two (innings), but overall it’s been the whole team,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve been trying to stress with the team. It takes everybody. We sub in and sub out, so our subs do it too. It was the whole team, staying in the whole game.”