FAIRFIELD — Corey Herbert and his Caribou High School baseball teammates were not going home to sleep in their own beds after a Class B North quarterfinal game Friday at Lawrence, and they couldn’t be happier.

Thanks to a 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs, the Vikings planned to stay in Bangor on Friday night in anticipation of the regional semifinal Saturday at No. 2 Ellsworth, rather than make the 225-mile trip back to Caribou.

The win was the second playoff upset for No. 11 Caribou (9-9), which beat No. 6 Foxcroft Academy in the preliminary round. No. 3 Lawrence ends the season at 11-6. The win was Caribou’s sixth victory in its last seven games.

“We had a tough start to the season. We started out 0-4. We played two good teams at Hermon and Ellsworth. Now we’ve flipped it around and we’re a whole different team in the second half of the year,” Herbert said.

Herbert threw a complete game Friday, striking out two and walking none while allowing six hits. Three of Lawrence’s six hits came in the second inning, when Andrew Trombley, Hunter Lee, and Hayden Lee hit consecutive singles. Trombley scored on Hayden Lee’s hit to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead, and Herbert knew he could no longer rely on his fastball.

Lawrence’s leadoff hitter reached base in each of the first four innings. Once Herbert decided to use his curve more, he found success.

“I came back to the dugout and stopped talking to everybody. I was really focused, talked to my catcher, and I got dialed in,” Herbert said. “My curveball was there, for sure. My fastball was missing and they were hitting it, but the curveball was breaking late and it felt good.”

Members of the Caribou celebrate after they defeated Lawrence 2-1 in a Class B North quarterfinal game Friday in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

With his curveball keeping Lawrence hitters off balance, Herbert allowed two hits over the final five innings, and escaped the few jams in which he found himself. Lawrence stranded four runners at third base, and left the tying run at second at game’s end.

“We had those opportunities early to score, many opportunities, to score runs, but we didn’t execute in those situations. Overall, I thought (Herbert) did a nice job adjusting. He did a nice job changing speeds after he settled in, after we had him on the ropes a couple innings,” Lawrence coach Rusty Mercier said.

The Vikings scored both of their runs in the top of the fourth inning. Riley Bouchard led off with a walk and went to third base on Caleb Espling’s single to right field. When Espling swiped second base, the Bulldogs threw from second base to third, trying to catch Bouchard off the bag. The throw went wide, allowing Bouchard to score the tying run.

Lawrence starter Hayden Lee then issued back-to-back walks to load the bases with nobody out. Lee struck out a pair of hitters and almost escaped the jam, but a bases loaded walk to Zach Madore, Caribou’s No. 9 hitter, scored Espling with the go-ahead run.

“When they scored that (first) run, I think that might have unsettled (Lee) a bit,” Mercier said.

Logan Carpenter came on to get the final out of the fourth, and retired the first nine Vikings he faced and 10 of 11. While Caribou couldn’t get anything going offensively, neither could Lawrence. Dylan Cooombs’ two out double in the bottom of the seventh was the Bulldogs only hit of the final four innings.

“I was really nervous because (Coombs) is quick. I thought he was going to steal third, and I was nervous for a passed ball or something, but I had a good team out there and we played good defense,” Herbert said.

Carpenter and Hayden Lee combined for nine strikeouts, six looking.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

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