Raynham, Mass., manager Eric Wensley conceded his team may have had some first-game jitters against a good South Lexington team when they kicked off play in the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series on Friday.
On Saturday, it was obvious Raynham’s jitters were gone.
Despite getting a slight scare from Benton, Ark., in the form of a 3-run sixth inning, Raynham did enough to hold on for its first tournament win, leaving the Riverway Sports Park with a 9-6 victory Saturday.
“The difference today was that we were over those first-day jitters,” Wensley said. “And, we were a lot more aggressive on the basepaths — because we were finally hitting and getting runners on.”
Raynham starting pitcher Blake Gallagher dominated Benton in his first two innings of work to start the game, striking out six of the first seven batters he faced.
The only hit he gave up was a solo home run to Benton first baseman Buddy Riggan, who towers over all the players, and some of the coaches, at 6-foot-2, 250-pounds.
With Gallagher setting the proverbial tone, Raynham’s offense followed, scoring four in the second, three in the third and two in the fifth.
Leading Raynham were Zack Wensley, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Connor Anderson, who scored twice and hand an RBI and Brian Capoblanco, who went 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI.
Up 9-3 going into the sixth, Benton cut into the deficit, as Ty Callahan and Nick Murray hit back-to-back doubles to leadoff the frame.
After a strikeout, Landon Whitaker, Chance Armstrong and Drew Chilton each recorded singles to help cut the lead to three runs.
With two out and runners on second and third, Riggan was up to bat again, once again against Gallagher, who re-entered the game after throwing the first two frames.
With a full count, Gallagher got Riggan looking to end the threat.
The win puts Raynham at 1-1 in pool play and drops Benton to 0-2.
Raynham returns to action at 5:30 p.m. Sunday against Clovis, while Benton has Sunday off before playing Bakersfield at noon Monday.