The Milford Post 196 American Legion 17U team carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, before the Greenwich Cannons rallied for nine runs to advance with a 9-1 victory in the third round of the state tournament at Foran High’s Ken Walker Field in Milford on Thursday night.

Milford, the Zone II champions, had split its first two games in states by defeating Orange 3-1 and falling to Madison 1-0.

Greenwich, the Zone IV runners-up to Stamford, had split games with Madison (6-2) and Orange (10-0) as well. The Cannons will play at playoff unbeaten Madison this weekend needing two wins to continue.

“This is a great group of kids,” Milford manager Mike Merchant said. “We’ve had a fantastic run this season, we just ran out of offense the past two games.”

Post 196 took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Nick Lombardo reached on an infield error only to be erased in a rundown on Conor Creane’s one-out fielder’s choice.

Creane went to second on the tag and scored on Matt Boath’s first-pitch RBI single to right center.

Mark Germanese singled inside to keep the rally going, before Greenwich starter Nick Giannuzzi got an inning-ending grounder.

Nate Merchant got the start for Milford and the left-hander was at his best when placed in trouble. He had help to open the game when Nick Glorioso made a fully-extended catch of Ricky Columbo’s liner to right.

Greenwich added a hit and a walk, but Mark Wooten at shortstop made a fine play on a slow roller for the second out. Germanese at second camped under a pop up to end the rally.

With two runners on base in the second, it was Creane at first who went high to stab a liner targeted for right field and then turned it into an inning-ending double play.

Glorioso doubled with one out in the home third, but was stranded.

Nate Merchant retired the first two batters in the fourth on a fine play by Lombardo at third and a strikeout. An infield hit and a solid single kept the inning going, before Dylan LaRoche in center field made his fourth putout in the game.

Columbo opened the Greenwich fifth with a walk, but was promptly picked off by Nate Merchant, with Creane making the throw to Wooten for the out.

After threatening to score for five innings, Greenwich sent 13 runners to the plate and scored nine runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Jake Beinstein singled to right. James Scarlata followed with a double to left field and Greenwich had two runners in scoring position.

This time, Milford (18-9) was unable to turn back the tide.

Nick Romanello walked, and with the infield in, Beinstein got a great jump off third to beat a throw home on Charlie Povinelli’s RBI grounder to Kevin Lanese second.

Jason Schuld came on in relief and enticed a fielder’s choice ground out to Wooten that got the force at home.

Milford then botched a successful pickoff play at third, with Scarlata scoring on a throwing error.

Columbo promptly doubled home two more runs and Charlie Zeeve singled in another to move the score to 5-1.

A throwing error on a ball hit by Jackson Blanchard and a walk to Kyle Woodring reloaded the bases.

A run scored on Beinstein’s groundout.

Scarlata made it three RBIs in the frame with a two-run single to plate Blanchard and pinch runner Danny Hupal.

Romanello’s double ended the nine-run uprising.

Milford put runners on base with a single by Glorioso and a walk to Lombardo in the bottom of the sixth.

Will DeTeso came on in relief of Giannuzzi and registered a pair of strikeouts in keeping Post 196 off the board the final two frames.

“We hit the ball well early only nothing was falling in,” Cannons’ manager Frank Carbino said. “We kept taking our swings and the hits finally began to fall.”