Regional champions look to state title Saturday
Bangor, Brewer, Augusta, Gorham hosting baseball and softball championships
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Local baseball and softball regional champions are preparing to battle for state titles.
For the Bangor Rams, the opportunity to return to the big game in Class A after falling to South Portland, 3-2, last year came with a 1-0 win over Edward Little in the North Championship.
Ryan Howard said the team knows what’s at stake.
“We’re playing for a State Championship because of our hard work and dedication. We didn’t really change too much from last year. We know what it takes to get back there. Honestly, it would just mean everything to go out on a big win like that with this team. We’re all brothers. It’s the best friend group I’ve ever been a part of, so it’d mean everything,” said Howard, senior catcher.
The Rams draw Thornton Academy this time around on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Augusta’s Morton Field.
The Ellsworth Eagles are up against Freeport for the Class B title Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine.
The Eagles are here after David Baugh’s walk-off single to win the North, 3-2, over Old Town.
Baugh explained the team’s regional celebration, but the Eagles know they’re not done.
“It was very exciting and exhilarating. On our way back to the school, we had a big parade. It was just really fun, and I was happy,” said Baugh, senior utility player.
A win gives Ellsworth the program’s first state title since Baugh and the seniors were freshmen.
Baugh is back at it after breaking his nose at the pool on the team’s off day this week.
Messalonskee softball overcame a 3-11 start to win Class A North and a place in the title game Saturday at 2 p.m. against Biddeford at Cony High School.
Kyra Cummings said a big reason for the turnaround was the leadership lessons from the Eagles’ captains.
“We have to have the mindset where we can’t settle for where we are. We need to keep pushing to get to the next level knowing that it’s not over yet. We’re not done. This isn’t our last game just because we got to this point. We can’t settle for where we are. We need to keep pushing and stay strong,” said Cummings, sophomore centerfielder.
It’s the first time Messalonskee has won Class A North since 2015.
Gardiner won the Class B South softball title, 3-2, over York thanks to a group that’s stuck together through a tough tournament journey.
“Inside the regional game, we kept saying that this is absolutely insane that we’re actually doing this. It’s been 42 years since Gardiner’s gotten this far, so it’s a pretty big accomplishment. We’re happy we were the ones who were able to get this far, and do it,” said Brookelynn Gero, junior shortstop.
The Tigers will meet the Winslow Black Raiders on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at USM for the state championship.
Winslow traveled to Brewer to knock off the Hermon Hawks, 3-0, and claim the Class B North softball crown.
It’s the second-straight year that the Black Raiders have been a Cinderella story. They won the Northern Maine title after a three-win regular season in 2021.
Now, they’re back to the Class B State Championship after upsetting Nokomis, Lawrence, and Hermon as the No. 8 seed.
“Knowing that we can do it and having the whole community backing us up is a really great feeling. To know we have everyone cheering for us and rooting us on while we’re doing what no once thought we could yet again (is special),” said Harly Pomerleau, senior catcher.
Last year’s run ended with a 19-4 loss to Cape Elizabeth in the title game.
Searsport came out of Class D South with a 1-0 regional title game win over St. Dominic.
The Vikings are looking to repeat as state champions, and they feel well-prepared going into their biggest game of the year.
“We want to get there again. We know how exciting that is and how hard we worked for it all year long. We just want to get there again because we love the game, and we just want to play,” said Hunter Kronholm, senior shortstop.
The Vikings credited St. Dominic for giving them a tough matchup in the teams’ second regional title game tilt.
Saturday Schedule - times/locations subject to change
Class A Baseball Championship: Bangor vs. Thornton Academy 2 p.m. @ Morton Field, Augusta
Class B Baseball Championship: Ellsworth vs. Freeport 4:30 p.m. @ University of Southern Maine, Gorham
Class C Baseball Championship: Bucksport vs. Lisbon 2 p.m. @ Mansfield Stadium, Bangor
Class D Baseball Championship: Machias vs. St. Dominic Academy 1 p.m. @ University of Southern Maine, Gorham
Class A Softball Championship: Messalonskee vs. Biddeford 2 p.m. @ Cony High School
Class B Softball Championship: Winslow vs. Gardiner 12:30 p.m. @ University of Southern Maine, Gorham
Class C Softball Championship: Mattanawcook Academy vs. Hall-Dale 2 p.m. @ Coffin Field, Brewer
Class D Softball Championship: Hodgdon vs. Searsport 4 p.m. @ University of Southern Maine, Gorham
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