The Camden-Rockport Little League 11- and 12-year-old baseball all-star squad used timely hitting, sturdy defense and strong pitching to get off to a solid start July 25 in the double-elimination state tournament.

C-R, the District 2 champions, scored six runs over the first two innings and forced Ellsworth to play catch-up, something it was unable to do because of solid all-around play by C-R, which secured a 6-3 opening victory Sunday afternoon.

C-R (1-0) will advance to play Bangor East (1-0) on Tuesday, July 27 at 3 p.m. in a state winner’s bracket game.

Ellsworth (0-1) falls to the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tourney and will face Dirigo (0-1) on Monday, July 26 at 3 p.m. in an elimination contest.

On Sunday, C-R, which finished 8-2 overall in the district tournament, finished with five runs and no errors. Ellsworth had 10 hits and no errors. C-R grabbed the momentum with a run in the first inning and five more in the second for a quick 6-0 cushion. Ellsworth tallied two in the second and one in the third, but could get no closer.

Teddy Laurita and Kienan Brown combined on the hill for C-R, allowing 10 hits, no walks and fanning nine. Hunter Cote, Nick Bagley, Alex Braley and Connor Maguire worked on the bump for Ellsworth, allowing five hits, two walks, hitting a batter and recording seven strikeouts.

Keying C-R’s offense were Laurita (home run), Kyle Crans (double, run), Ryan Pierce (2 singles, 2 runs), Brown (run), Andrew Hall (single) and Dalton Oakes (run).

For Ellsworth, Hank Vinal (single, double, run), Bagley (2 singles, run), Braley (single), Jay Crossman (single, run), Cooper Henderson (single), Zach McGraw (single), Ben Lee (single) and Avery Anderson (single) were keys.

Both teams played exceptional defense, especially C-R shortstops Brown and Hall, as well as Ellsworth second baseman Hank Vinal, who made a spectacular diving stab up the middle to rob Drew Holt of a hit in the sixth inning.

Camden-Rockport threw several Ellsworth runners out on the bases, including a pitcher-to-first base-to-catcher double play to end the third inning. Brown made several nice stops when playing shortstop, as did Hall, who raced near the fence in foul territory in short left field to make a tough catch in the fourth stanza.

C-R scored a run in the first inning when Pierce singled to start the game and eventually scored. The visitors added five final runs in the second, as Crans doubled to start the stanza and Oakes walked with two outs. Pierce was hit by a pitch, Brown reached on a fielder’s choice and Laurita blasted a home run.

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.