GORHAM — Monmouth Academy only needed one run to end Sacopee Valley’s bid for an undefeated season.

The second-seeded Mustangs edged the top-seeded Hawks 1-0 in the Class C South baseball regional final Wednesday at University of Southern Maine.

“We knew they were a good team coming in and it was going to take our best, if not better, to beat these guys,” Monmouth’s Kyle Palleschi said. “They put together a heck of a year and we had to come here and battle to get this win.”

Monmouth starter Sammy Calder threw a 95-pitch, complete-game shutout, allowing six hits and two intentional walks while recording four strikeouts.

“As soon as I stepped on the mound, I knew it was going to be a good day,” Calder said. “I got the guys behind me that can make the plays and trust what we have.”

It will be a return trip to the state final for some of the Monmouth players, who were on the squad that lost in the title game two years ago. This year’s Class C state championship game, against C North champion Bucksport, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at USM.


Mustangs coach Eric Palleschi said he wishes it wasn’t a one-run game to get back to the state championship game.

“It feels good. I wish we hit the ball a little bit better, and we have a couple of mistakes in the field that gave them a couple of more outs,” Eric Palleschi said. “In the end, we were able to come out on top.”

Monmouth (18-1) capitalized in the top of the third when Sammy Calder reached on an error. Hunter Frost moved Calder over to second on a sacrifice bunt and Brandon Smith’s bunt single sent Calder to third. A Kyle Palleschi sac fly to center scored Calder for a 1-0 lead.

“I knew (Sacopee Valley starter Grady Cummings) was going to come after me, especially with a runner on second and third,” Kyle Palleschi said. “I knew he was going to give me a pitch to hit. I knew I was going to try to hit the ball the other way and give Sam a chance to score, which I did.”

That was all the Mustangs could muster in the frame, but it ended up being all they needed.

Isaac Oliveira got the game’s first hit in the top of the second when he sent a ball to left-center for a double. Manny Calder nearly drove him in when he hit the ball down the right-field line for what looked to be a sure double, but it landed in foul territory. Oliveira later got caught stealing third.


Monmouth’s defense showed up in the bottom of the second when a 1-6-3 double play ended the inning.

“I knew we were getting out of it when (Bryce Stacey) hit that,” Sammy Calder said.

Calder added that the Mustangs haven’t turned many double plays this season, but it’s something they practice.

James Ritter started the bottom of the third with an infield single, but Calder picked up a strikeout and Keegan Thibodeau grounded out on a fielder’s choice. Ritter ended the inning when he was caught trying to steal second base.

The Hawks (18-1) threatened in the bottom of the fourth when Carson Black led the inning off with an infield single. A Brady Metcalfe double sent Black to third. Calder got out of it by inducing a ground out by Austin Croteau and a fly out from pinch-hitter Dylan Capano to end the inning.

“Sam did a nice job keeping those guys off-balance,” Eric Palleschi said. “They hit a lot of balls in the hole, which we expected, but it was a part of the game plan.”


Cummings was stellar in the loss. Starting with Palleschi’s sac fly in the top of the third, Cummings sat down 11 batters in a row through the sixth inning, including three strikeouts.

He allowed three hits and had five strikeouts in the game.

“Our pitcher, Cummings, he pitched a gem,” Sacopee Valley coach James Stacey said. “One unearned run — we just didn’t get the timely hitting.”

Sacopee Valley’s best chance to score came in the bottom of the sixth. After a Thibodeau strikeout, Black reached on an error and then advanced to third when a pickoff throw went off-target. Caleb Vachianno, who was at bat, got intentionally walked to put runners at the corners. Calder struck out Metcalfe and Croteau got intentionally walked, loading the bases.

Calder buckled down and got Cummings to ground out to end the threat.

Lucas Harmon snapped Cumming’s 11-out streak in the top of the seventh with an infield single and Oliveira walked. Both got caught stealing second. After a Manny Calder walk, Owen Harding grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the frame.

“The (opportunity) in the seventh inning was bigger, getting picked off trying to steal second, trying to manufacture some runs,” Eric Palleschi said. “I thought that was going to come back and bite us.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Bryce Stacey grounded out but James Ritter singled to give the Hawks some life. Bradly Metcalfe then hit into a fielder’s choice in which Ritter got forced out at second. Thibodeau, Sacopee Valley’s last chance, battled, including sending a hard-hit ball foul down the left-field line. On the next pitch, Calder struck him out looking to end the game.

“He has nothing be ashamed of,” James Stacey said of Thibodeau. “I told him after the game, ‘Don’t hang your head, you came through more times than not this year for us.'”

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