AUBURN -When they left the field early Monday afternoon following a 4-1 loss to Portland North, the Elliot Avenue 11-12 year-old Little Leaguers knew they needed a little help to keep their hopes of a state title alive.
They didn’t get it.
Elliot needed Lincoln County to lose in Monday’s nightcap, but Lincoln pulled out a dramatic 12-11 win over Bangor East in eight innings.
Lincoln County and Portland North are the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the round robin tournament and will square off today at 2 p.m. at the Auburn Suburban Little League complex.
EALL, which lost to Lincoln County, 2-1, in Saturday’s opener, has been relegated to the role of spoiler. They will meet York (2-1) today at 4:30 p.m.
Brian Wigant fanned six and didn’t walk anybody in six innings of work, continuing the fine performance by EALL’s pitching staff in the tournament. Unfortunately, he couldn’t avoid the big inning. Portland North scored three times in the top of the third to break a 1-1 tie.
“Our pitching has been pretty good,” manager Gary Wigant said.
“But you know the competition is really tough when you get to the states. Give Portland North credit. They hit the ball hard.”
Elliot has given up just seven runs, the second fewest runs in the tournament, one behind Portland North.
“Sam Morin’s done well. He pitched our first game (a 2-1 loss to Lincoln County). And Luke Cote pitched (Sunday, beating Acadian of Bar Harbor, 8-1),” Wigant said.
“Defensively, we’re as good as any team out here,” Wigant added.
Luke Cote, the only holdover from last year’s 11-12 team that also made the state tournament, scored Elliot’s lone run.
“Luke Cote’s had a great series for us so far. When he gets on base, we typically score,” Wigant said. “He’s a menace (on the basepaths). I always hated playing against his team because I knew he was always going to get us.”
Morin, Matt Bouchard and Eddie Emerson have been the other offensive standouts. Jordan Charest has chipped in with a couple of hits and first baseman Eric Soucy has played well defensively.
The team really came together in the double-elimination District 5 tournament, when it came out of the loser’s bracket and beat Gardiner twice on the final day to earn the berth in the states.
“They’re a great group of kids,” said coach Tom Poto. “We wouldn’t have this far if they hadn’t gotten along this well.”
EALL has two games left in the six-day tournament. The two teams with the best records will meet in the championship game at 3 p.m. on Thursday.