AUGUSTA — Yankee Ford of South Portland came back from a three-run deficit Sunday afternoon to earn a 5-4 win over Coffee News in the American Legion baseball state championship game, ending the Bangor team’s two-year hold on the state title.

Yankee Ford, with players from South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, won four straight games after falling into the losers’ bracket on Friday. Earlier Sunday, Yankee Ford rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out a 7-6 win against Rogers Post of Auburn.

“We’re very resilient, and we were confident all the way through,” Yankee Ford Coach Andy Wood said. “I can’t say enough about the kids, and their mindset. If we’re down four or five runs, they somehow find a way. They know we’re going to come back.”

“We’ve got a real tough team,” said Yankee Ford first baseman Anthony Degifico, who played for the University of Southern Maine this past spring. “I’m never worried with these guys.”

Yankee Ford is the first team from South Portland to win the Legion state championship since Morrill Post in 1980.

Yankee Ford lost to Coffee News in last year’s championship game, and this time fell behind 3-0 in the first inning as Henry Curran, a left-hander who pitches for USM, got off to a rocky start.


“Henry hadn’t thrown in over a month,” Wood said. “He’s been dealing with some little tenderness in his arm, and he was shut down by the USM staff. He’s our No. 1 pitcher when he is healthy and he wanted the ball.”

Kyle Stevenson led off the game with a single and Peter Kemble was hit by a pitch. With one out, Andrew Hillier lined an RBI single down the line in left. After Derek Fournier was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Nicholas Cowperthwaite lined a single past third to drive in two runs.

“(Curran) was a little high in the (strike zone) at first,” Wood said, “but once he found his control he competed.”

Curran held the Comrades hitless for the next five innings. He lasted 7 2/3 innings, allowing five hits while striking out eight.

Yankee Ford cut its deficit to 3-2 in the third. With one out, Alex Livingston doubled and scored on a single by Sam Troiano. Degifico, who had four hits in the championship game, followed with an RBI double.

The South Portland team tied it in the fourth on Ben Conti’s sacrifice fly after Drew Abramson and Matt Riggle opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Yankee Ford took the lead in the fifth when Troiano, Degifico and Ingalls stroked back-to-back-to-back singles. Then, Dylan Roberts led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to left to make it 5-3.


Coffee News got a run in the seventh when Kemble led off with a single and scored on Fournier’s double into the right-field corner.

The defending champions loaded the bases in the ninth against reliever Marshall Peterson, but Peterson preserved the win as Yankee Ford secured a trip to the New England regional, which starts Wednesday in Bristol, Connecticut.

In Sunday’s opener, Degifico drove in tying and winning runs with his third single of the game to lift Yankee Ford over Rogers.

Ingalls was hit by a pitch to start the winning rally and moved to third on Abramson’s single. After Ingalls scored on Riggle’s groundout to second, Yankee Ford ended up with runners on second and third when catcher Drew Lashua overthrew first base after Conti swung at a pitch in the dirt for strike three. Degifico followed with his winning hit.

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