STANDISH — Under the backdrop of defining many a baseball truism, Hall-Dale made sure to take home its first state championship in 17 years.

Senior Cole Lockhart found himself locked in the very illustration of a pitchers’ duel, out-battling Houlton’s Nick Perfitt to throw the Bulldogs to a narrow 2-1 victory in a Class C state title game in which runs were incredibly difficult to find on either side Saturday at St. Joseph College’s Mahaney Diamond. Hall-Dale (19-1) stood stall behind a three-hitter from Lockhart, who also drove in one of the two runs for the Bulldogs, tying the game in the second inning.

“It’s been a great year,” Lockhart said. “I’m at a loss for words. I honestly don’t even know how we scored right now. It’s just unbelievable.”

Hall-Dale pitcher Cole Lockhart celebrates after the Bulldogs edged Houlton 2-1 in the Class C final Saturday afternoon at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Lockhart was dominant on the mound for the Bulldogs, who won their first title since 2001. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Lockhart was not overpowering, but he was effective. After losing the game’s leadoff hitter Isia Bouchard to a walk to start things off, Lockhart did nothing but pound the zone. Fifty-four of his 79 pitches in the complete-game effort went for strikes.

“Usually it takes him an inning or two to settle down, and we knew that. That’s been his history over the last couple of years,” Hall-Dale coach Bob Sinclair said of Lockhart. “Once we get over that first or second inning, he finds his groove and continues to get better as the game goes. A lot of pitchers tend to fade out, but we found with Cole that he actually gains a little more control and a little more break on his breaking ball and does well in the later innings.”

Though he had his Bulldogs down 1-0 just seven pitches into the game when Houlton’s Keegan Gentle roped an RBI double to left-center field, Lockhart hit another gear.

He held the Shiretowners (14-4) scoreless over the final six innings, keeping Houlton without a hit after the third inning and retiring 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced.

The only Houlton runner allowed over the last four frames was pitcher Nick Perfitt, who reached on a one-out error in the sixth.

Speaking of Perfitt, he couldn’t have found a way to be a better example of a hard-luck loser. He fanned five Bulldogs, scattering five hits — three of them infield hits — and walking none. Only one run against him was earned.

“We played a good game overall,” Perfitt said. “Both teams played a good game. I knew it was going to be a tight one, and I knew we’d have to battle all the way to the end. We did, and so did they.

“I probably could have left a couple more pitches down, but when you put the ball in play, things can happen. They’re a good team.”

Perfitt needed only 77 pitches to get through his side of the ledger.

He found himself in a rare jam in the third inning, when Logan Dupont led off with an infield single to the left side. No. 9 hitter Josh Nadeau bunted Dupont over into scoring position, and with two outs he scored all the way from second on Alec Byron’s single up the third base line for the eventual winning run.

From there, it was up to Lockhart.

Hall-Dale first baseman Patrick Rush celebrates after making the final out of the Class C championship game Saturday in Standish. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

“I trust my defense. I know they’re going to make the plays and they’re going to be coming up big for me. That’s what happened,” Lockhart said. “We thought we’d score more runs today, but what a great game by (Perfitt). He pitched a great game, too.”

Lockhart was simply better. Byron, the shortstop, had five assists and one putout over the last four innings to back Lockhart’s performance.

Hall-Dale got on the scoreboard in the second inning, tying the game at 1-1. Akira Warren led off the inning with a double to right-center, advancing to third when Houlton right fielder Tyler Bailey bobbled the ball in the outfield.

Lockhart then bounced a grounder to second base for the first out of the inning, allowing Warren to score from third.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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