AUGUSTA — When he found himself in a jam, Someset starting pitcher Jake Bentinnen took a deep breath, then thought.

“I tried to slow down and think more, about what could happen if I did well. It was about helping the team,” Benttinen said.

Twice in Friday’s North Division final of the Babe Ruth 13-15 year old tournament, Capital Area had runners on third base with one out. Each time, Benttinen found a couple strikeouts, helping Somerset take the 7-3 win at Morton Field to advance to a best-of-three finals series against Greater Portland.

Somerset second baseman Ryan Wright, top, cheers as shortstop Mitchell Grant tags out Capital Area base runner Drew Kelley during a 13-15 Babe Ruth state tournament game Friday in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Somerset and Greater Portland will play Game 1 at 11 a.m. Saturday at Morton Field. Game 2 will begin approximately a half hour after the completion of game one. A third game, if necessary, will be played Sunday.

With Somerset ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the first, Capital Area loaded the bases with one out. Benttinen struck out a pair to escape the jam and maintain the lead. Benttinen said he felt he owed his team to after allowing the run on a balk, when he stopped his delivery to the plate as Capital Area’s Hayden McMurtry broke for second base.

“A lot of things were going through my head. I never balk,” Benttinen said.

Benttinen and the Chargers wriggled out of another jam in the bottom of the fourth. With Somerset holding a 4-1 lead, Capital Area put runners on second and third base with one out. Again, Benttinen struck out a pair to end the threat.

“He was tough, no doubt about that,” Capital Area coach Mike Peacock said. “We had our chances.”

“Jake is all about power. Once he settles in, that’s what he’s all about,” Somerset coach Mark Ardito added.

The run through the loser’s bracket finally caught up to Capital Area. Peacock said he used eight pitchers to advance, and everybody had a tired arm. Capital Area needed four pitchers to gut through the game.

“I was out of arms. You get in that loser’s bracket, it’s tough on pitchers,” Peacock said.

 

Somerset scored three runs in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 7-1. Jake Thomas walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run, and Mitchel Grant’s RBI single made it 6-1. Benttinen’s sacrifice fly to left capped the scoring.

Somerset second baseman Ryan Wright, top, cheers as shortstop Mitchell Grant tags out Capital Area base runner Drew Kelley during a 13-15 Babe Ruth state tournament game Friday in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

One of Somerset’s younger pitchers, Aidan Rodgers, came on in the fifth, and after giving up a couple hits, settled down to finish the game.

“We thought our hitting was our strength, but we’re showing pitching is a strength,” Ardito said.

Colby Lloyd and Drew Kelley each drove in a run for Capital Area in the fifth to cut Somerset’s lead to 7-3, before Rodgers retired seven of the final eight hitters her faced.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

 

 

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