FAIRFIELD — Fantastic pitching and defense, combined with timely hits and aggressive baserunning was the formula for Central Maine in the first round of the 14-year old Babe Ruth state tournament Wednesday at Keyes Field.

The hosts took advantage of early Coastal South errors, then never let the visitors back into the game, taking an 8-0 win. Central Maine will face Augusta at 2:30 p.m. today, while Coastal South of Brunswick faces Tri-County South in a loser’s bracket game at 5. Tri-County South lost to Portland 10-0 in the first game of the tournament.

“My guys threw strikes, and we didn’t make any errors,” Central Maine manager Jeff Gardiner said. “I’m so happy for that. I know the hits are going to come, and we’re going to pitch.”

Three Central Maine pitchers — Dylan Hapworth, Matt Champney and Zach Guptil — combined on a one-hitter. Although Hapworth hadn’t allowed a hit and struck out seven through four innings, Gardiner elected to go to Champney and preserve Hapworth’s arm for later in the tournament.

“Whenever we can get away with using as many pitchers as we can, we will,” Gardiner said.

Central Maine scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning on four hits and a pair of Coastal South errors. Cam Gardiner led off the inning with an infield single, stole second base and scored when Ryan Dubois reached on a two base error. Dubois scored on an error after Bobby Chenard singled. Champney singled to drive in another run, and scored on Jake Dexter’s groundout to second base.

Central Maine added two more runs in the third when Zach Mathieu and Cam Gardiner each scored on a wild pitch. Central Maine constantly put pressure on Coastal South by being aggressive on the bases. Central Maine stole nine bases, and four players scored after swiping a bag.

“We have to be (aggressive),” Coach Gardiner said. “We probably haven’t stole this many bases in a long time.”

Central Maine’s trio of pitchers combined to strike out 11 hitters. Coastal South’s only base hit came with two outs in the top of the sixth, when leadoff hitter Pearsson Cost singled to left, the only time Coastal South hit the ball out of the infield.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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