WAITSFIELD - The Barre Bombers refused to back down during Saturday's elimination game, rallying to a 5-4 victory over St. Johnsbury in District 4 Little League All-Star 10-to-12-year-old action.
Both teams had their backs against the wall after suffering losses earlier in the week during the double-elimination format. St. Johnsbury wasted no time pulling ahead 2-0 in the loser's bracket semifinal, but Barre's defense was sharp the rest of the way.
Winning pitcher Michael Noury threw the first three innings. He recorded five strikeouts and gave up two hits. Fletcher Finagan took over pitching duties for two-plus innings and Mathieu Fecteau pitched in the sixth inning.
St. Johnsbury attempted to rally with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, closing the gap to one run. The Northeast Kingdom crew had runners on second and third with two outs, but relief pitcher Eli Kalat promptly shut down the threat.
"It was important not to overuse one pitcher today," Barre coach Nick Foster said. "We potentially need to play four days in a row, so we took a couple kids out just so they're available the next few games,"
During the first inning St. Johnsbury's Cale Stone hit a two-run homer over the left-field fence. Kalat had a double in the bottom of the frame and scored on a single by Finagan, trimming the deficit to 2-1.
Barre's offense exploded for three runs in the fourth inning, extending the lead to 5-2. Noury led off the inning with a walk and scored a few minutes later. Carson Nuhfer also took advantage of a walk before Tanner Arseneault reached base on an infield single. Kalat followed with a two-run single.
Barre kicked off the tourney by edging St. Johnsbury, 16-14. The Bombers endured a 14-12 walk-off loss against Lyndon before bouncing back with a 20-10 win over Central Vermont.
"We've had some games with a lot of runs on the scoreboard," Foster said. "Today we pitched well and we made some really nice plays in the field. We dropped a close game early in the tournament, so it was nice to see the boys make it through with really strong defense."
The Bombers All-Star team draws from four Little League squads in the Granite City. Barre will face Lyndon at 10 a.m. Sunday in the loser's bracket championship.
"Lyndon is good and they can definitely score runs as well," Foster said. "It should be rally competitive."
The winner of Sunday's game will advance to play undefeated Connecticut Valley at 5:30 p.m. Monday. If Connecticut Valley fails to prevail, a winner-take-all game will be played at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.