York High School baseball coach Chuck Chadbourne preliminary scouting report on Winslow was succinct.
“I heard they hit the (heck) out of the ball,” Chadbourne said.
Winslow was one of the top teams in Eastern Class B all season, while York, the No. 5 seed in the Western B tournament, got hot at the right time, knocking off No. 4 Yarmouth, No. 1 Greely and No. 2 Falmouth to win the region.
Winslow (16-3) will face York (15-5) for the Class B state title, at 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s College.
“These guys are a tight-knit team,” Winslow coach Jesse LaCasse said. “They’re here to have fun.”
This is Winslow’s first appearance in the state championship game since 2007. According to Chadbourne, the Wildcats haven’t played for a baseball state title since 1971.
“This has always been a football/basketball school,” Chadbourne said. “We’re trying to change that.”
Despite its reputation as a slugging team, Winslow won in the Eastern B tournament with pitching and defense. The Black Raiders allowed just two runs in the tournament, both to Waterville in Thursday’s 3-2, nine-inning win.
LaCasse said he expects defense to be the key to today’s championship game. Little things, such as playing the infield corner in to take away the bunt, have been important to Winslow’s playoff success.
“Defensively, we’re as prepared as we can be,” LaCasse said.
The Black Raiders will start senior Don Camp on the mound. Camp had a strong regular season, but hasn’t pitched since the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game May 31. Camp said he planned to take a bullpen session during Friday’s practice to prepare for the start.
“I’ll get my mechanics fluid and make sure I’m throwing strikes,” Camp said.
The Wildcats will start Adam Bailey. A 6-foot-7 righty, Bailey threw a three-hitter to beat top seed Greely in the regional semis, 5-1. Bailey struck out nine and retired 14 of the final 15 hitters.
Winslow’s hottest hitter is first baseman Zach Guptill. The junior went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the regional final Thursday, to up his playoff average to .667 (6 for 9), with four runs and four runs batted in in three games.
York will play without first baseman Dan Bock, who was ejected from the Western final for colliding with Falmouth catcher Connor MacDowell. By rule, a player ejected from a game must also sit the next game.
“I think the teams are similar,” Chadbourne said. “Both are very athletic. I think it should be a good matchup.”
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242