AUGUSTA, Maine - Zone 1 representatives Hampden and Steamboat Petroleum of Waldo County earned a split decision during the opening day of play at the state American Legion baseball tournament Saturday.
Hampden, the Zone 1 champion, jumped out to a 6-0 first-inning lead and then held off Zone 2 runnerup Waterville 9-5.
Earlier in the day, Zone 2 champion Gardiner scored single runs in the eighth and ninth inning to edge Zone 1 runnerup Steamboat Petroleum 5-4.
Both teams return to action Sunday at the Capitol Area Recreation Association complex. Steamboat Petroleum (16-10) will play Zone 5 champion Fayette-Staples of Saco in an elimination game scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Hampden (16-10) will play the winner of Saturday’s later game between Zone 4 runnerup Nova Seafood of Portland and Zone 3 champion Gayton Post of Lewiston in a winners’ bracket game at 12:30 p.m.
Hampden jumped on Waterville righthander Tim Locke for six runs on six hits in the bottom of the first, a rally that included RBI singles by Patrick Stephens and Cody Miller, a sacrifice fly by Caleb Kirk and a bases-loaded walk to Josh Tardiff before leadoff hitter Nolan Turner capped off the uprising with his second hit of the inning, a two-run single to center.
Locke settled down to hold Hampden scoreless over the next six innings, and Waterville crept as close as 6-5 in the top of the eighth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Steve Siviski and Curt Chaput.
But Hampden countered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to regain control. Shawn Smith hit a leadoff double off Locke, and Tardiff greeted reliever Kyle Bishop with an RBI single to center. After Miller drew a one-out walk, he and Tardiff advanced on a wild pitch before both scored when Kirk lined a two-run single to right to give the Riverdogs a four-run cushion.
Lefthander Brennan Perry earned the pitching win, scattering seven hits and six walks while striking out 10 and yielding three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. Smith earned his second save of the summer, allowing three hits and two earned runs over 2 2/3 innings.
Smith paced Hampden’s 12-hit offense with three singles, while Turner doubled and singled and Kirk added three RBIs.
Siviski led Waterville with a double and two singles, while Chaput doubled twice and Cam Bishop singled twice.
Forrest Chadwick’s one-out single in the bottom of the ninth drove home Will Phelps with the winning run as Gardiner outlasted Steamboat Petroleum.
Phelps had singled to lead off the inning, then went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a fly out by Donnie Cray before Chadwick lined his game-winning hit into the right-center field gap.
Gardiner had tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth when Roland Kennerson doubled, went to third on a single by Alex Wheelock and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike LaVallee.
Steamboat Petroleum gave starter Nate Adams a 1-0 lead in the third when Jack Davis singled to center, went to second on a Miles Davee groundout and scored from there on a wild pitch by Chadwick, the Gardiner starter.
Wheelock homered to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, but Tyler Miles hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to give Steamboat Petroleum a 3-1 lead.
Gardiner tied the game in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Cray and Kyle Stilphen.
Steamboat Petroleum took a 4-3 lead in the seventh as Adams and Gabe Blodgett hit back-to-back two-out singles before Adams scored when Phil Curll doubled down the left-field line.
Curll also singled twice for Steamboat Petroleum, while Adams, Blodgett and Jake Arthers each singled twice.
Wheelock finished with a home run and two singles for Gardiner, while Phelps doubled and singled and Chadwick singled twice.
Dylan Dupont earned the pitching win with 4 1/3 innings of six-hit, one-run relief.
Adams pitched a complete game for Steamboat Petroleum, allowing 10 hits while striking out five and walking three.