BRISTOL - Rhode Island charged back hard in its final at-bat, but some key defense and Nate Kiah buckling down on the mound helped New Hampshire squeak out a 2-1 victory in a Little League Baseball New England Regional game Thursday afternoon.
Trailing by two runs behind a third-inning RBI single by New Hampshire’s Dillon Gaudet and Noah Durham’s solo home run in the top of the sixth, Rhode Island put runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the sixth.
But New Hampshire shortstop Chase Phillibotte fielded a grounder up the middle, stepped on second and relayed a throw to first baseman Trevor Carter for a double play that scored one run.
Rhode Island then put the game-tying run on second base and the potential game-winning marker on first, but Kiah sent the next batter down on strikes to advance New Hampshire (2-0) to the 1 p.m. regional championship game Saturday at Breen Field.
Rhode Island (1-1), meanwhile, will face Connecticut (2-1) at 1 p.m. Friday in a regional semifinal elimination game despite a terrific outing from starter Miles Fontaine (5 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 3 K, 3 BB).
Ryan Dutton (3 1/3 shutout innings and 3 hits allowed) and Kiah (2 2/3 IP, 2 hits) combined to lead New Hampshire on the mound.