MADISON — Even as it’s won games, the Messalonskee baseball team has had a pall hanging over it for much of the season.

Consider that pall lifted now — and consider the Eagles a team with all the momentum in the world as they head to the playoffs.

Messalonskee prevailed 5-3 in eight innings in a tight battle with Skowhegan in Wednesday’s regular-season finale. The win avenged a 14-1 drubbing the Eagles suffered at the hands of the River Hawks in the third game of the season.

“This game was pretty much highlighted for us as soon as that last game against them ended,” said Messalonskee head coach Eric Palin. “We knew we were a better team than we showed in that first matchup and that if we came and played our best we had a good chance to win.”

Michael Achorn provided the winning run for the Eagles as he broke open a 3-3 tie on the very first pitch of extra innings with a mammoth home run to left-center field. Garrett Card added three hits for Messalonskee, which secured the No. 2 seed in Class A North with the win.


Messalonskee (13-3) scored a pair in the top of the first with Denny Martin singling in Card and Achorn bringing in Ty Bernier on a sacrifice fly. Skowhegan would answer in the bottom of the second, though, capitalizing on two errors by the visitors to pull back a run.

Skowhegan (9-7) took advantage of Messalonskee mistakes again in the second, combining two hits with three hit batters by Martin to take a 3-2 lead. After the Eagles tied it in the bottom of the third, both Martin and Skowhegan’s Silas Tibbetts posted four consecutive scoreless frames to force extra innings.

“The energy all game was just great; it was like a playoff atmosphere game here,” Martin said. “Pitching on the mound in this game was amazing, having Michael behind the plate doing what he does. I can’t pitch without him now.”

After guiding Martin behind the plate, Achorn then set the tone for extras. His blast put the Eagles in front before Card singled in Garrett Giguere later in the eighth. Sean Achorn, who relieved Martin on the mound in the bottom half, then recorded three straight outs to seal a clutch Messalonskee victory.

“Oh, yeah,” Achorn said when asked if he knew his homer was gone off the bat. “Slider right down the middle, and I took it out of the park. … I didn’t feel it (coming off the bat). It’s the best feeling in the world when you don’t feel it.”

Messalonskee has now won nine of its last 10 games as it enters the postseason. The Eagles, who will face Mt. Ararat in the Class A North quarterfinals next week, are seeking their first regional title since winning back-to-back Eastern Maine crowns in 2012 and 2013.


They might need another win over Skowhegan to do it with the River Hawks, who will face Camden Hills in the quarterfinals, clinching the No. 3 seed to set up a potential semifinal rematch should both teams advance. Although postseason baseball can be unforgiving, Martin thinks his Eagles are ready for it.

“I just think we’re able to pick each other up,” Martin said. “We keep each other accountable, and we know what our flaws are and what we need to work on, so every day in practice, we go in and work on those flaws and hone down those techniques and those mechanics. … I think we have a chance to hopefully do something special this year.”

Tibbetts struck out six batters in 7 2/3 innings of work for Skowhegan in the loss. The River Hawks, who had five hits on the evening, closed out the regular season on a three-game losing streak.


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