DiOrio fires Milford Little League softball past Rhode Island in New England regional opener

BRISTOL — Milford Little League softball catcher Ariella DiOrio has picked the right time to pull herself out of a slump.

Trailing 1-0 to Rhode Island late in the first inning, DiOrio scored a two-run triple for the team’s first two runs. Milford then scored nine runs late in the first inning.

In a game shortened to three innings due to the 10-point mercy rule, Milford cruised to a 12-1 win over Rhode Island on Saturday in Game 1 of the New England Regional Little League Tournament at Breen Field. at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Officers Training Center.

Milford continues in the winners group and will face Vermont on Sunday at 4 p.m. (ESPN+).

“The 1-0 deficit was due to nervousness at the start of the game, but we know our team can strike,” Milford manager Mike Bonanno said. “We have 13 girls who can hit. Ariella’s hat-trick was huge for us. She’s been one of our best hitters all year, but she’s had a slump.

“When she hit that triple, the whole bench erupted and we were so happy for her. When I saw our girls in the batting cage today, I saw how focused they all were. I told Ariella it would be her day.

Milford showed his speed with five stolen bases and four runs scored on errors.

Rhode Island took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from Elodie Cannon that scored Paisley Parisee from third.

Late in the first, with runners in first and third, DiOrio scored her triple to left field. Lily Stankevich added an RBI double, Norah Bove and Maddie Deldin added RBI singles and four runs on errors for a 9-1 lead.

“When I hit the ball, I had no idea it would go this far,” DiOrio said. “I thought he might be caught. When I saw the ball roll to the fence, it made me feel good. This hat-trick got us started and I saw our whole team getting motivated.

In the second set, Maddy Bonanno, the manager’s daughter, led Julia Scibek from third on a bunt single. Bove added a point, scoring on an error for an 11-1 lead.

Stakevich added the final run in the third set, scoring after an error for the 12-1 final.

Stankevich finished 2 for 2 with two runs scored. Deldin, Scibek and Bove also scored two points each.

“I haven’t seen Vermont play, but I know they’re a good team,” said Mike Bonanno. “The thing is, we always take it one game at a time and that’s what we’re doing in this tournament. We are also an aggressive team and will continue to take advantage of our speed like we did today with our stolen bases.

“We are having fun but our girls are also focused.”

Milford 12, Rhode Island 1

Rhode Island100 — 1 4 4

Milford921 — 12 8 0

Brooke Sowa, Adalie Wolfe (2) and Kaylyn Aubuchon; Sophia Horvack and Ariella DiOrio

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