Lavigne leads the way for Bedford; Manchester eliminated from Babe Ruth 13 baseball tourney
Bedfords' Grant Lavigne pitches against Maine during their game on Sunday morning at Gill Stadium in Manchester. Bedford won the game 11-4. (Bruce Preston / Union Leader)
MANCHESTER — Bedford bounced back nicely on Sunday morning to stay alive in the Babe Ruth 13-year-old New England Regional at Gill Stadium.
Manchester’s all-stars came up just short in their bid to do the same later in the day.
Bedford knocked off Central Maine, 12-4, and will play the loser of Sunday night’s late game between Rhode Island and Connecticut tonight at 5 at Gill.
Brattleboro, Vt., knocked Manchester’s Lebel All-Stars, the host team, out of the tournament, 14-12, in a later afternoon game.
“They got out front once and we came back and they got out front and we came back again,” said Manchester coach Tony Doucet.
But they came up just short and finished the game with the tying run on first base in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Vermont went up 7-0 early and led 9-2 after three innings. Manchester tied it with seven runs in the fourth inning, the key blows a two-run triple by Ryan Plentzas and RBI hit by Keegan Hall.
Vermont scored the next five runs to go up 14-9.
Manchester answered with three in the bottom of the seventh. Bryce Vigneault and Plentzas each doubled home a run, but the rally was not quite enough.
Bedford 12, Central Maine 4
Coach Kevin Lavigne’s Bedford team broke things open with a six-run seventh inning and then held off Central Maine with sharp pitching and defense.
“The key was defense,” Lavigne said. “We spotted them two runs in the first inning with an error and then had one error the rest of the way. And our pitchers were getting ahead in the counts.”
Grant Lavigne, the coach’s son, led the way at the plate and on the mound.
He delivered the big blow in the second inning — a grand slam on a blast to right center field for an inside-the-park homer — and shut Central Maine down over his five innings.
Central Maine, the home team in the game, got the two runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 2-1 lead.
Bedford, the New Hampshire state champion, rallied right back.
Lavigne batted with two outs and the bases loaded and worked his way to a full count. He then ripped a fastball to the fence.
“That gave us big momentum,” Kevin Lavigne said. “We go from being down 2-1 to up 5-2 on a full count. That’s a big pitch in the game. The kids were up and energized and enthusiastic.”
Bedford needed only two hits to get the six runs in the second. Five Bedford batters walked in the inning and Central Maine also made an error.
On Saturday, Bedford fell into a big hole early and its pitchers walked eight batters in a 9-5 loss in a tourney opener.
They were having none of that on Sunday.
Lavigne allowed five hits, struck out four and walked none. Ryan Andrews came on in relief in the sixth and allowed three hits and walked one in his two innings.
Lavigne also started a 1-4-3 double play that ended the fourth inning “We had some nice, short innings on defense,” coach Lavigne said.
Bedford had seven hits in the game and took advantage of 16 walks issued by Central Maine pitchers.
Plymouth, Mass., held off Westfield, 10-8, in a Sunday afternoon game.
Plymouth improved to 2-0 in the tournament. Westfield is 1-1.
Manchester lost its opening game in the tournament, 7-2, to Coventry, R.I., on Saturday night.
“We hit some balls pretty well,” Doucet said before Sunday’s game. “If we do that again, we’ll find some holes. . . . Coventry’s a strong team. Their pitchers threw strikes and defensively they made every play.”
Manchester had five hits in its loss on Saturday.
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