BRISTOL - Nolan Hobbs scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning to push past Rhode Islandâ€™s Cumberland American Little League and bring home the winning for Maineâ€™s South Portland Little League on Tuesday evening, 3-2.
Rhode Island took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Charlie Tarara singled on a line drive to left center and Joe Cote grounded into a fielderâ€™s choice.
Jack LaRose doubled on a line drive, allowing both Tarara and Cote to score.
Rhode Island and Maine were at a standstill until the bottom of the third, when Matthew Fogg singled and Johnny Poole doubled on a line drive to center field to drive in Fogg and put Maine on the board. Matthew Hobbsâ€™ single brought in Poole to tie the game, 2-2.
The teams remain tied until the bottom of the fifth when Hobbs singled. Richie Gilboy and Aiden Lee both walked to fill the bases. Hobbs scored on a wild pitch to break the tie and give Maine the 3-2 lead.
Hobbs caught the game winning fly out despite colliding with a teammate to eliminate Rhode Island from the tournament.
â€śIt was really exciting,â€ť Hobbs said. â€śIt was the highest ball I had ever seen. I saw it, but I didnâ€™t call it, then right when I caught it I went down to my teammate and asked if he was okay. It was good, I liked it.â€ť
Manager Jim Poole said that there are some things the team needs to improve upon.
â€śWe have to work on communication, just like that pop-up, which was outstanding, he caught it; that, trusting each other, hitting our spots, the little things that mean executing.
â€śWe made some mistakes, itâ€™s a big stage. I donâ€™t know if we played our best game right there, which is a good thing we can still win, we got more to do and weâ€™re going to keep on practicing the things we can do better and these guys are up to the task,â€ť Poole said.
Maine will continue in the New England Regional on Thursday at 1 p.m. against Vermontâ€™s Essex Junction Little League.
Excited to see what theyâ€™ll accomplish next, Hobbs said, â€śYou just canâ€™t get down on yourself, even if you strike out.â€ť