WESTFIELD, Mass. — The Greater Keene 15 and under Babe Ruth baseball team punched its ticket to the New England Regional finals Tuesday, beating Greater Portland (Maine) in the semifinals in six innings, 11-1.
The title game is set for 4 p.m. today at Bullens Field in Westfield, Mass., with the stage set for an epic rematch.
Keene will be facing Norwalk (Conn.), which beat Braintree (Mass.) in the other semifinal, 3-2. These same teams faced off in last year’s 14U New England title game, with Norwalk winning in 10 innings, 3-2, in a controversial finish.
Keene appeared to win that game in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Jack McLaughlin that drove in Austin Morris, but the third-base umpire ruled that Morris left early, cancelling out the game-winner. McLaughlin, Morris, and many others from last year’s heartbreaking loss are back now, and manager Chad Branon said they can’t wait for another shot at Norwalk.
“We wouldn’t want it any other way,” Branon said. “They are a good team and we’re looking forward to the challenge. The boys are hungry and have worked hard to get back here for another shot.”
In Tuesday’s game, the Keene offense combined for 14 hits against Portland, while pitchers Connor Branon and Liam Conley combined to throw a one-hitter.