Middleboro withstood a 2 hour, 25 minute rain delay but suffered a 5-3 loss to Nolensville, Tenn., in its first game Wednesday at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Middleboro’s starter, Jayden Murphy, lasted 2⅓ innings and gave up fiveearned runs, with most of the damage coming in the top of the third inning. Murphy loaded the bases with no one out and gave up a two-run single to Josiah Porter.
“We had some momentum building before the rain delay,” said Middleboro coach Chad Gillpatrick. “Things were looking good for us and we were confident before, so it was tough.”
Reliever Joe Monteforte took over for Murphy, but gave up a two-run single to William Satinoff.
Satinoff also made a diving stop of a screamer off the bat of Middleboro first baseman Ayden Morris to save a run in the bottom of the first inning.
Middleboro’s Mike Marzelli chipped away at the deficit with a two-run single in the bottom of the third inning, and Luke Bolduc made it 5-3 with a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the bottom of the fourth.
Lightning strikes and pouring rain in the area forced the game to be paused in the fifth inning.
After two hours, the rain cleared up, the grounds crew removed the tarp, and play resumed.
Monteforte returned to the mound in the top of the fifth following the delay and didn’t skip a beat, punching out two batters and working around a leadoff walk.
“We asked him how he felt before he went out … he only threw 32 pitches before the delay and he said his arm felt OK,” said Gillpatrick. “He had a big inning for us.”
Monteforte finished with 2⅔ scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
Tennessee flashed its defense again in the bottom of the fifth when center fielder Grayson May made a diving catch to rob Gavin Gillpatrick.
“They impressed me early in the game … they had that line drive catch that could have changed things a little bit,” Chad Gillpatrick said. “Our guys hit the ball on the screw today for the most part it was just unfortunate they didn’t find the holes.”
Middleboro was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Tennessee pitcher Nash Carter retired the side in order to close out the game.
Middleboro will face the loser of Thursday night’s Mid-Atlantic/Southwest matchup in an ESPN2-televised game Saturday at 7 p.m.