Connecticut jumped out to an early lead and fended off a late rally by New Hampshire to pull to within one game of a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
The Little League team from Fairfield, Conn., scored in each of the first five innings of Thursday’s regional semifinal matchup, and took a commanding 10-4 lead into the sixth inning. But the group from Portsmouth, N.H., jumped on Connecticut pitching for five hits in the sixth inning, including a home run by Kobie Taylor, to bring the tying run to the plate with still only one out.
Then Nick Nardone entered the game.
Nardone came on in relief of starter Jack Quinn, who had pitched solid in his 5 1/3 innings of work, and promptly struck out the final two batters.
Chris Howell powered the Connecticut offense with three hits, including a home run, and four RBIs. Quinn and Connor Daley chipped in two hits apiece.
With the win, Connecticut finished group play at 3-1 and will play Rhode Island on Saturday with a trip to the Little League World Series on the line.