GROTON -- Groton appears to be turning the corner late in the season, but it met a bump in the road in its final game of the regular season Tuesday afternoon against Leominster.

The Blue Devils drove in two runs in the fifth inning to edge Groton 6-5 at the Groton Town Field.

Groton awaits the playoff pairings, which at the time of publication has them pitted against bordering-town Pepperell (7-7) .

The Crusaders finish the regular season at 6-10.

Groton sent its lanky lefty Tom Colantuoni to the hill, and he looked solid through 5 1/3 innings of work, allowing five runs, while striking out three.

Leominster appeared to break the 0-0 stalemate with two-outs in the bottom of the first on a would-be RBI single by Matt Palleschi, but David Barry, who singled earlier in the inning, did not slide into home plate and the run was waived off the board on a technicality.

The Groton bats could not get going in the bottom of the first as Leominster starter Aaron Gilmour mowed down the top of the order in succession.

Colantuoni settled down in the second to retire the Blue Devils in order with a little help from his defense. Right fielder Ed Murray got a good read on a deep fly ball by Gilmour and came on to make the catch for the second out.

Then, Kerice Chabot rocketed a fastball back to the mound, but Colantuoni snared it and threw over to first for the third out of the second.


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Jake Barnes got the Groton offense firing with a hard-hit single that snuck through the left side.

Barnes would later score on an RBI rope to left field by catcher Gregory Saraceno.

Saraceno later scored on an RBI single up the middle by Kevin Connerty.

However, Groton could not keep the potent Leominster lineup off the scoreboard for very long, as it answered the bell with four runs in the third.

Chris Kay reached on a single to begin the inning. Kay tried to stretch his hit into a double, but he was hosed down at second base on a heads-up play by first baseman Connor Mulligan, who threw over to second for the first out of the inning.

Two Leominster runs scooted across on passed balls, while Jordan Mays hit an RBI single to left to score Piper from third.

Leominster carried a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the third, but Groton managed to cut the deficit to one run.

Colantuoni helped out his own cause with a clutch 2 RBI double up the middle to score shortstop Kyle Priest and Matt Naughton, who both reached on singles.

Chabot reached on a single to right field, but a ground-out to Kay set up a stunning double play opportunity for the Crusaders.

And, they converted it. Landon grounded out to short and then Mulligan fired over to third to get Chabot for the inning ending 6-3-5 twin killing.

Colantuoni allowed two more runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Palleschi. The Blue Devils held a 6-4 lead after four 1/2 innings complete.

Groton picked up one run in the fifth on an error, which allowed Naughton, who singled to start the inning to come across and score.

Naughton came on to pitch in the sixth inning, and he retired the bottom of the Leominster order on his own.

The right-handed reliever notched back-to-back strikeouts, before making a tough play on a come-backer to the mound to end the inning.

Groton put a runner in scoring position on a sacrifice bunt early in the seventh, but it was unable to score.

Landon, the gun-slinging right-handed Leominster reliever shut the door on the Groton comeback.