FAIRFIELD — Central Maine got its offensive outburst again on Thursday. It just took a little longer.

One day after an 8-0 victory over Coastal South in the 14-year-old Babe Ruth state tournament, Central Maine found itself in a tie game with Augusta after six innings. Central Maine broke through for six runs with two out and stayed in the winner’s bracket with a 7-1 victory at Lawrence High School.

“You can’t hold those guys down very long,” Augusta coach Earl Kingsbury said. “Tough team.”

Central Maine will face Portland at 11 a.m., today. Augusta has an elimination game at 2 p.m. and potentially another game at 5 p.m.

Central Maine pitcher Jake Dexter went all seven innings, allowing four hits and striking out eight. Dexter did not allow a hit after the fourth inning and retired the last seven batters he faced.

“I tell ya, Boomer Dexter is just an amazing pitcher,” Central Maine coach Jeff Gardiner said. “He’ll lull you to sleep, but he throws strikes.”


Augusta pitcher Josh McKelvey also shut down his opposition for six innings. Augusta took the lead in the bottom of the second on a dropped third strike, a stolen base, a passed ball and an RBI infield single by Ray Mosca. Central Maine tied the score in the fourth when Zack Guptill doubled, went to third on an error and scored on a two-out single by Ryan Dubois.

Guptill had the most success against McKelvey, going 3 for 3 with the double, two hard-hit singles and a walk.

“You can tell when he’s throwing his curveball,” Guptill said. “He comes around the edge and brings his arm way down. You just gotta keep your eye on him for what he’s throwing.”

Augusta’s last threat came in the fourth, when Ben Lucas lined a leadoff single and moved to second on a balk. One out later, Mitchell Bonenfant got a bad-hop single to left field, and Kingsbury sent Lucas home. Central Maine left fielder Dylan Hapworth came up with a great throw to nail Lucas at the plate.

“Against this team here, you gotta take your chances when they’re there. Hindsight, if we had a crystal ball, it’d be a whole different story,” Kingsbury said with a smile. “But we don’t.”

McKelvey got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, and retired the leadoff batter in the seventh. But Matt Champney reached on a bad-hop single and Dexter walked. With two out, Guptill singled to left to bring home Champney and make it 2-1. After Zach Mathieu walked to load the bases, Cam Gardiner dropped a three-run double inside the right-field foul line to push Central Maine’s lead to 5-1.


“I think we finally saw him enough that we got timed with his fastball,” Coach Gardiner said. “He’s a little tricky on the mound, a little bit of a deceptive motion.”

Augusta needs to win two games today to stay alive in the tournament. Kingsbury thinks that is possible, but he wants to make sure he’s not the only one who thinks that.

“The kids need to start believing in themselves,” Kingsbury said. “Physically, they can play the game with, I think, any team out there.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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