HALLOWELL — Just when they seemed to have matters on cruise control, Rex Turner’s boys found themselves in a battle.

The Capital Area Little League 12U squad ran out to a 12-1 lead on Hall-Dale Little League through three innings of Monday’s District 5 title game. The host team, though, never quit, whittling the deficit all the way down to 12-10 after four before Capital Area ultimately claimed a 19-10 victory.

“They kept fighting us the whole way, which is a credit to them,” Turner, Capital Area’s head coach, said of Hall-Dale. “We’re pretty evenly matched teams, and all three games, no matter how things were flowing, both teams kind of fought back. It was some great competition.”

Capital Area’s win in the rubber match between the two teams sent it to the July 19-26 state tournament in Windham. It’s part of an action-packed month of youth baseball and softball in central Maine, which is also hosting a trio of Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth state tournaments as well as the upcoming USA Softball of Maine state tournament.

Capital Area 12U won the first contest of the best-of-three series 13-11 on Saturday before Hall-Dale bounced back with a 7-2 victory in Sunday’s Game 2. Then, with Capital Area holding an 11-run lead in the fourth inning of Game 3, a nine-run frame by Hall-Dale turned a lopsided contest into a tight one.

Yet the visitors would answer with three runs in the fifth innings and four more in the sixth while holding Hall-Dale scoreless the rest of the way. That secured a fourth-consecutive District 5 championship for Capital Area, which rebranded itself this year after previously being known as Augusta Little League.

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Skowhegan 10U’s Liam Masterman looks to throw to first base against Andy Valley during the 10U baseball state tournament Tuesday in Skowhegan. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“Every game, it seemed like a different kid came through for us,” Turner said. “They all did a good job, especially offensively; we were able to get a lot of big hits up and down the order. Max Henry, there’s a kid who caught all three games for us in the hot weather, and that’s always a big job, but it was really a team effort.”

Capital Area also won the District 5 10U title to advance to the state tournament in that age group, which it will host July 19-26, The league’s 11U team automatically advanced to Saturday’s state tournament in Winterport as the only team from District 5. No teams participate in District 5 softball.

While the Little League District 5 10U game was going on Monday, there was also youth baseball on the menu in Skowhegan, where the 10U Cal Ripken baseball state tournament was underway. That tournament began Friday and is set to conclude either Wednesday or Thursday.

Central Maine was well-represented at 10U Cal Ripken states with host Skowhegan competing along with teams from Farmington and Messalonskee. As of Monday afternoon, Skowhegan, Andy Valley and Noble were the three teams remaining in the tournament.

“It’s great to be able to show off the great facilities we have and for our kids to be able to stay at home at night,” said Skowhegan head coach B.J. Dunlap. “It’s an opportunity for our organization to show the volunteerism we have. It’s been a lot, but it’s also a great honor for our community to be selected to host it.”

Entering Tuesday’s game against Andy Valley, Skowhegan was 3-1 with wins over Farmington, River Valley and Auburn. Brayden Dunlap pitched 5 2/3 with no earned runs in Sunday’s elimination game win over River Valley, while Bryson Pelotte was 2 for 2 with four RBIs out of the No. 10 hole Monday against Auburn.

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Fairfield, which hosted the 11U Cal Ripken state tournament last July, is set to host another state tournament this year with the 12U competition scheduled to begin Thursday. There’s also the 16U Babe Ruth state tournament, which is set to begin Friday in Augusta.

Central Maine will also become a youth softball hub this month as the upcoming USA Softball of Maine state tournament comes to the area July 19-21. Seventy-two teams will compete across eight different age brackets at 17 fields in Waterville, Belgrade, Fairfield, Oakland, Sidney and Winslow.

The 72 teams are a figure USA Softball of Maine Junior Olympic Commissioner Cleveland Brown said is roughly the size of the usual field. Next week’s event marks the 10th year USA Softball of Maine has held its state tournaments in the Waterville area.

“We get a lot of help and collaboration from everybody in the city,” Brown said of the tournament’s success in Waterville. “Every year, they know that this is coming and what it brings to the business, hotels, restaurants and stores in the area. It’s great.”

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