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John Olivo watches his homerun sail for the fence. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

District I champs

Salem walks off into NH finals

SALEM — John Olivo hit a two-run walkoff home run to give Salem a 9-7 win over Bedford in the championship game of the Little League District I championship Monday night.

Salem advanced to the best-of-three state finals at Manchester Central Little League. Salem will face District II champion Rye in Saturday's opener at 4 p.m. Game 2 is set for Sunday at 5 p.m., and a third game, if necessary, will be Tuesday, July 23, at 5:45 p.m.

Salem trailed 5-0 in Monday's game and it looked as though there might be a repeat of Bedford's 19-1 win on Saturday that forced Monday's game. But Salem fought back to earn the win.

"This is a great example of our kids believing in each other. It was a great job by the kids not to quit," said Salem coach Dean Borrelli. "These kids stayed in there and fought the whole way."

Trailing 5-0 in the second, Salem got two runs back on a Mike Borrelli homer to center field. It scored Nick Delaney, who had singled to open the inning.

In the third, Salem took its first lead of the game when Nick Robertson hit a grand slam well over the fence in center field to make it 6-5. Scoring on the slam were Olivo, Matt Soldano and Jake Emerson. Delaney followed with a solo homer to make it 7-5 Salem after three.

Bedford tied the game in the top of the fifth when Alex Douidi was hit by a pitch, Matt Zifchak singled and Luke Ramsay drove them both in with a single to right field.

Those runs came off Olivo, who had come in to pitch to open the fifth. He was able to close the door after Bedford tied the game at 7-7 and pitched a one-two-three sixth to set up his heroics at the plate in the bottom of the frame.

John Palardy singled to open the bottom of the sixth and Olivo's game-winning home run to dead center field came with one out and a 1-2 count. "I was sitting on the curveball, but I expected the fastball, too," Olivo said. "I was ready for anything."

Bedford had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Spencer Adams' groundout scored Graham Reynolds. Bedford went up 5-0 with four runs in the second as Evan Schwartz and Noah Hughes each delivered two-run doubles.

Bedford was in control, but after Saturday's 19-1 win, Bedford coach Tim Destafani was cautious.

"I said it would be a different outcome. They're a good team and they hit the ball well," Destafani said. "We hit the ball well, too. But they had the timely hits and that was the difference. I think they'll do well against Rye."


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