Coming through in the clutch

Zielinski earned the win after allowing two runs on three hits and striking out six Portland batters.

"I was not surprised to see how he handled the Portland lineup," said Sutherland. "He had all three pitches working today. He just ran out of gas in the sixth inning, but Chris Smith got us out of it with one pitch."

The victory over Portland sets up a simple scenario for South Colonie to advance into the championship round " just beat a Kelso team that Sutherland said has a tendency to swing away.

"They're a loose-swining bunch, but when they connect, the ball really travels far," he said.

South Colonie opened the tournament last Friday with a tough 4-3 loss to Jefferson Parish, La. " last year's 14-year-old division World Series champions.

South Colonie led 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning when the wheels started coming off. Chad Guidry worked a leadoff walk and then moved to second when Mason Katz's infield pop-up was misjudged and fell for a base hit. Guidry went to third on a fielder's choice and scored on Joe Palmer's sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game at 3.

Two more South Colonie errors led to Jefferson Parish's final run in the seventh inning. Cory Guidry led off by reaching first on an error at third base. Chad Guidry then followed with a bunt single, which led to a throwing error that moved Cory to third base. After an intentional walk to Katz loaded the bases, Ryan Holstein singled in the winning run.

"That's what happens with a good team," said Sutherland. "You battle, you battle, you battle. You get to the third time in the lineup, they've seen you two or three times, and if you don't make the play your supposed to make, that gives the edge to the other team. Now, they're in a very comfortable spot to make you pay for your mistake, and that's what we did. They outplayed us at the end."

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