BANGOR — If it’s the playoffs, the the Messalonskee High School baseball team must be heating up.

The defending Class A state champions earned their second upset win over a higher seed this week. Four days after knocking off No. 3 Bangor, No. 6 Messalonskee capitalized on five Hampden Academy errors. The Eagles, on the other hand, played flawless defense, and left Husson College’s Winkin Complex with a 7-2 win over the No. 2 Broncos.

“It seems come playoff time, we turn it on,” Messalonskee senior Josh Woodard said.

Messalonskee, now 12-6, will face No. 1 Oxford Hills in the Eastern A final at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Morton Field in Augusta. Hampden ends the season at 15-3.

“We struggled at the beginning of the year (defensively). We have a lot of young guys,” Woodard said. “But we’ve been coming together lately.”

The Eagles turned two double plays, and Woodard chased down a few deep fly balls, two in left and one in center. Nick Mayo, Messalonskee’s 6-foot-5 first baseman, jumped to catch a line drive to end the fifth inning, and Jake Dexter made a nice play behind second base to get a force out to end the second.

“If we can get the other team to makes mistakes by putting the ball in play, we love that,” Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier said.

Messalonskee took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on four hits, with RBI singles by Woodard and Devin Warren. Woodard scored an unearned run in the third to push the Eagles’ lead to 3-0.

Hampden beat Messalonskee twice in the regular season, 10-0 and 9-2, but the Eagles felt they were ready for Broncos starter Matt Palmer.

“We’ve already seen their pitchers. We knew what they’re about,” said Woodard, who had three hits and drove in two runs. “I tried to work the count full each of my at bats. I knew (Palmer) would try to throw me a strike. I just wanted to make contact on this turf and make it work for me.”

The Eagles added two more unearned runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh. Meanwhile, Bernier mixed and matched his pitching staff, just as he did at Bangor on Wednesday. Patrick Breton started and went two innings before giving way to Ben Frazee. With two on and nobody out in the fourth, Bernier went to Dexter, who struck out the side to get out of the jam.

“That’s what we planned on with Bangor, and that’s what we decided to do tonight. A quick hook on anybody in trouble,” Bernier said.

Dexter threw three innings, giving up a run in the sixth, and Devin Warren threw a scoreless seventh to end the game.

Logan Steward drove in a run for Hampden in the third to cut Messalonskee’s lead to 3-1, and Cooper Antone’s RBI single made it 5-2 in the sixth, but the Broncos never threatened to take the lead.

Warren drove in a pair of runs for the Eagles.

“We just keep preaching to these guys that we want our own team identity. Last season is last season,” Bernier said. “Still, we let them know we’re the state champs until somebody takes it away.”

Travis Lazarczyk – 861-9242

[email protected]

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