Wednesday, March 12, 2014
AUGUSTA — When Fayette-Staples went two and out last week, it didn’t look like Zone 5 had much to offer in the American Legion baseball state tournament.
AND THE PITCH: The Red Barn pitcher Jory Humphrey fires a pitch during an American Legion state tournament game on Saturday at Morton Field in Augusta. The Red Barn lost 16-6 to Staples-Crossing of Eliot and were eliminated from the tournament.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
Then came Staples Crossing of Eliot Post 188. Made up of players from Marshwood High School and Traip Academy, Staples Crossing looked like a team that didn’t have a weak spot in its lineup on Saturday afternoon against The Red Barn.
Two starters had four hits apiece. Four more had at least two. The end result was a late-inning barrage and a 16-6 Staples Crossing victory at Morton Field.
The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, was eliminated with the loss. Staples Crossing went on to lose 12-6 to Bangor later in the day.
In today’s action, Bangor will face Windham at noon. The winner of that game plays Westbrook for the state title at approximately 3:30 p.m.
The final score suggests a lie, or at least a misunderstanding. Staples Crossing led 3-0 after bringing home three runs in the top of the first inning, but The Red Barn had the lead by the third inning.
taples Crossing regained the lead in the fourth, but The Red Barn led 6-5 heading into the top of the seventh.
The Red Barn pitcher Jory Humphrey battled out of several jams in those first six innings. Staples Crossing left the bases loaded in the second inning and again in the fifth, and left two more runners on in the third. That caught up to Humphrey in the seventh as he went over 120 pitches.
Matt Brenner (4 for 6) led off with a single and Tyler Pratt (4 for 4, three runs scored) doubled him to third. A dropped fly ball scored Brenner and Robert Jones singled home another run. Before the inning was out, a sacrifice fly and a double by Max McCoomb — one of three on the day for the Staples Crossing’s shortstop — made the score 9-6.
The Red Barn had erased a four-run deficit in one inning against Fayette-Staples, so the lineup was ready to go to work against relief pitcher Jones in the bottom of the seventh. John Suga ripped a single to left to lead off the inning and Chandler Shostak followed by drilling a hard grounder right to third baseman Zack Quintal, who started a 5-4-3 double play.
Humphrey was up next and doubled, but The Red Barn couldn’t score. In all, the Augusta-based team had 15 hits and left only five men on base, but hit into five double plays.
“Jimy Williams used to use this term, ‘buzzard’s luck’ when he was coaching the Red Sox,” The Red Barn coach Don Plourde said. “Sometimes, that’s the way it happens in this game.
“They really hit the heck out of the ball, too. Jory’s our No. 2. He’s a solid, solid pitcher, and they really hit the ball well.”
Staples Crossing added four runs in the eighth and three in the ninth to put things out of reach. For The Red Barn, Tucker Whitman went 3 for 3, while Suga, Sean Cabaniss and Zack Lachance had two hits apiece. Cam Brochu also had two hits, and in his last six plate appearances of the tournament, Brochu was 4 for 4 with two doubles and a home run.
“Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased,” Plourde said. “I told the boys, the last game (beating Fayette-Staples 11-10 after falling behind 10-2) was a microcosm of what we’re all about — playing hard, and really just being there for one another. There’s no shame. There’s only one champion in this tournament. We made it to the final six, and a break here, a break there, hey, we could still be playing. So I’m very proud.”
Westbrook 9, Bangor 3: In a resumption of Friday’s suspended game, Westbrook remained the only undefeated team in the tournament by finishing off its victory over the Comrades.
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