AUGUSTA — When Fayette-Staples went two and out last week, it didn’t look like Zone 5 had much to offer in the American Legion baseball state tournament.
Then came Staples Crossing of Eliot Post 188. Made up of players from Marshwood High School and Traip Academy, Staples Crossing looked like a team that didn’t have a weak spot in its lineup on Saturday afternoon against The Red Barn.
Two starters had four hits apiece. Four more had at least two. The end result was a late-inning barrage and a 16-6 Staples Crossing victory at Morton Field.
The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, was eliminated with the loss. Staples Crossing went on to lose 12-6 to Bangor later in the day.
In today’s action, Bangor will face Windham at noon. The winner of that game plays Westbrook for the state title at approximately 3:30 p.m.
The final score suggests a lie, or at least a misunderstanding. Staples Crossing led 3-0 after bringing home three runs in the top of the first inning, but The Red Barn had the lead by the third inning.
taples Crossing regained the lead in the fourth, but The Red Barn led 6-5 heading into the top of the seventh.
The Red Barn pitcher Jory Humphrey battled out of several jams in those first six innings. Staples Crossing left the bases loaded in the second inning and again in the fifth, and left two more runners on in the third. That caught up to Humphrey in the seventh as he went over 120 pitches.
Matt Brenner (4 for 6) led off with a single and Tyler Pratt (4 for 4, three runs scored) doubled him to third. A dropped fly ball scored Brenner and Robert Jones singled home another run. Before the inning was out, a sacrifice fly and a double by Max McCoomb — one of three on the day for the Staples Crossing’s shortstop — made the score 9-6.
The Red Barn had erased a four-run deficit in one inning against Fayette-Staples, so the lineup was ready to go to work against relief pitcher Jones in the bottom of the seventh. John Suga ripped a single to left to lead off the inning and Chandler Shostak followed by drilling a hard grounder right to third baseman Zack Quintal, who started a 5-4-3 double play.
Humphrey was up next and doubled, but The Red Barn couldn’t score. In all, the Augusta-based team had 15 hits and left only five men on base, but hit into five double plays.
“Jimy Williams used to use this term, ‘buzzard’s luck’ when he was coaching the Red Sox,” The Red Barn coach Don Plourde said. “Sometimes, that’s the way it happens in this game.
“They really hit the heck out of the ball, too. Jory’s our No. 2. He’s a solid, solid pitcher, and they really hit the ball well.”
Staples Crossing added four runs in the eighth and three in the ninth to put things out of reach. For The Red Barn, Tucker Whitman went 3 for 3, while Suga, Sean Cabaniss and Zack Lachance had two hits apiece. Cam Brochu also had two hits, and in his last six plate appearances of the tournament, Brochu was 4 for 4 with two doubles and a home run.
“Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased,” Plourde said. “I told the boys, the last game (beating Fayette-Staples 11-10 after falling behind 10-2) was a microcosm of what we’re all about — playing hard, and really just being there for one another. There’s no shame. There’s only one champion in this tournament. We made it to the final six, and a break here, a break there, hey, we could still be playing. So I’m very proud.”
Westbrook 9, Bangor 3: In a resumption of Friday’s suspended game, Westbrook remained the only undefeated team in the tournament by finishing off its victory over the Comrades.
Keenen Lowe came on in the seventh when Bangor loaded the bases. Lowe induced a double play on the first pitch to end the inning, then retired the side in order in each of the final two innings.
Robbie Hamilton homered, doubled and singled for Westbrook.
Windham 7, Pastime Club 6: In a rematch of the Zone 3 championship game, Cody Dube pitched a complete game as the Merchants held on for the win.
Ryan Riordan went 4 for 5 and Corbin Hyde’s three hits included a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Dube struck out 10 in the win. Joey Francoeur had two hits and Ethan Petty singled home two runs as part of a four-run fifth for Windham.
Windham 10, Westbrook 6: The Merchants stayed alive with a comeback victory over Westbrook.
Cody Dube had three hits for Windham, while Spencer Hodge, Nathan Boyle and Joey Francoeur added two apiece. Windham trailed 5-3 in the top of the fifth after a two-run double by Westbrook’s Keenen Lowe. Zach Bean had two hits for Westbrook.
Bangor 12, Staples Crossing 6: In a game that featured seven hit batsmen and two ejections, the Comrades took the early lead and held on for the victory. Winning pitcher Justin Courtney struck out seven in six innings and hit a three-run double in the second inning to give Bangor the lead for good. Curtis Worcester had two hits and scored four runs for the Comrades. Hunter Boyce scored three runs. For Staples Crossing, Tyler Pratt, Zack Quintal and Max McCoomb each contributed two hits. The game got close to ugly at several junctures. Staples Crossing releiver Robert Jones hit four batters in one inning as Bangor extended its lead to 8-2. The next time Jones came to bat, the first two pitches were up and in. Home plate umpire Dan Deshaies warned both teams for throwing at batters.
Later, Staples Crossing coach Shawn Gillis and catcher Matt Brenner were ejected in separate incidents.