AUGUSTA — Bradley McLaughlin wasn’t sure if he would pitch in the Class A North baseball championship for Bangor. The senior started the game in center field for the Rams. When starting pitcher Colton Trisch got into trouble in the second inning though, McLaughlin was ready.

McLaughlin came in and retired all 13 Skowhegan hitters he faced, giving the Bangor offense time to score the runs it needed to take a 6-2 win and the North title. No. 5 Bangor, now 14-6, will face the winner of Thursday night’s South championship between Thornton Academy and South Portland in the Class A state championship game Saturday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. It was the sixth regional title in seven season for Bangor, which won five straight Class A state titles from 2014 through 2018.

No. 6 Skowhegan finished 14-6.

“My thoughts were, keep the game where it was. Let our offense get hits. Once we get rallying, we get rallying,” McLaughlin said.

A lefty, McLaughlin entered the game with a River Hawk on second base and two outs in the top of the third. After getting two quick outs, Trisch gave up back-to-back walks to Tyler Annis and Gage Morgan before Hunter McEwen doubled to left, giving Skowhegan a 2-0 lead. After a walk to Brendan Dunlap, Bangor coach Dave Morris went to his ace, McLaughlin.

“Colton just really had one bad pitch. You can deal with a couple walks. We just went with what got us here. We’re fortunate to have that number one in reserve,” Morris said.

McLaughlin got out of that jam with just one pitch, getting a popout to shortstop from Cam Louder. From there, he pitched four perfect innings of relief. McEwen’s two-run double was Skowhegan’s lone hit of the game.

Skowhegan’s Tyler Annis snags a drive at short by Bangor during the Class A North regional final Thursday in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“He’s their No. 1, and there’s a reason he’s the KVAC Player of the Year. He throws strikes, and gets people to pop up. He’s not over powering but he’s a very good pitcher,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “One hit’s not going to win many ballgames, especially against a quality team like Bangor.”

“I just try to hit my spots, and let my defense do their work. I’m not an overpowering pitcher,” McLaughlin added.

Bangor took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth inning. Keegan Cyr led off the inning with a line drive single which hit umpire Barry Fuller behind the mound. The ball was ruled dead, and Cyr later scored on a wild pitch. With one out, Ryan Howard singled to score McLaughlin and Trisch, giving the Rams a 3-2 lead.

Bangor added a run in the fifth on an error,  and two more in the sixth on a Matt Holmes single. Skowhegan starter Cam Green went five innings, striking out two with one walk and eight hits allowed. Sophomore Jackson Quinn pitched the sixth for the River Hawks.

“Skowhegan’s a good baseball team. They’re young, and Green pitched very well. He kept us off balance in the beginning, and we were just a little hasty at times,” Morris said.

Cyr had three hits for the Rams.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

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