Following a 10-0, four-inning mercy rule loss to Northeast Seattle in its Little League World Series opener on Thursday, the Maine champions from Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond gave a much better showing in an elimination game against Media, Pennsylvania, on Saturday afternoon.
The Northeast Regional titlists erased a 3-0 deficit, but the Mid-Atlantic Regional winners scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to eliminate the Mainers 5-3 in front of 22,809 fans in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Media moved on to face Metro Region champ Smithfield, Rhode Island, in an elimination game on Sunday while Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond is done.
Cole Carroll triggered the seventh-inning rally with a pop fly single into center field.
Charlie Haenn laid down a bunt and the Maine third baseman committed a throwing error, allowing Haenn to reach safely and Carroll to scamper to third.
Haenn stole second, and Nate Saleski fisted a single into left to score Carroll with what proved to be the winning run.
Saleski is the grandson of former Philadelphia Flyers right winger Don Saleski, who won two Stanley Cups with the Flyers.
Maine pitcher Mason Amergian retired the next two hitters, but Haenn scored an important insurance run on a passed ball.
Media had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Saleski dropped a single into center and Austin Crowley reached on a fielding error by the shortstop.
Nolan Gratton was hit in the helmet by a pitch to load the bases, and Trevor Skowronek lined a single to right that wound up plating a pair of runs when the right fielder allowed it to get by him for an error.
One out later, Christian Nunez poked a single into right center to deliver the third run of the inning.
Things could have been even worse for the Maine players, but they turned an important double play to get out of the inning when Skowronek was nailed at the plate trying to score on a potential wild pitch and the alert Amergian, after applying the tag to Skowronek, threw to third to retire Nunez.
But Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first.
Gage Rioux lined a single to left and sprinted all the way to third when the left fielder misplayed it.
Rioux scored when the catcher overthrew third trying to pick him off.
Amergian and Caleb Barker each produced one-out singles, and Amergian eventually scored on a passed ball.
Pitchers Amergian and Media’s Nolan Gratton settled down nicely after the first inning.
Gratton retired 10 hitters in a row until the Mainers rallied to tie it in the fourth inning on consecutive two-out singles by Rioux, Zachary Feehan Jr. and Amergian.
Gratton was lifted with one out in the fifth inning and replaced by Skowronek, who retired the last two hitters of the inning and the lead-off hitter in the bottom of the sixth.
He then hit Ben Gilmore with a pitch, but Gilmore was caught stealing and a pop-up ended the game.
Saleski had a pair of singles for the winners while Rioux and Amergian each had two singles for Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond.
Amergian turned in a solid complete-game performance for Maine, allowing seven hits and not walking anyone while striking out five.
For the second straight game, Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond committed four errors.
Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond was the fourth team from Maine to play in the Little League World Series and the first one since the 2005 Westbrook team.
Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond came into the Little League World Series with a 12-0 record that included district, state and Northeast Regional tournament play.
Its state title was its first in the history of the program.