BANGOR, Maine — Eben Powers had been more of a factor with his glove than his bat through nine innings of Tuesday night’s Eastern Maine Class D baseball final at Mansfield Stadium.
The Deer Isle-Stonington star shortstop had made a leaping stab of a line drive and helped turn a double play, but his offensive output had been limited to a pop single to shallow left and an infield hit.
Given one more chance, Powers finally showed off his power — blasting a leadoff triple in the top of the 10th inning to ignite a three-run rally that lifted the Mariners to a 9-7 victory over Shead of Eastport and their third regional championship in the last five years.
“Eben’s got a sweet swing,” said Deer Isle-Stonington coach Darren Eaton. “They held him intact pretty well all night, but if you make a mistake to him he’s got quick enough hands that he can really make you pay for it.”
Fourth-seeded Deer Isle-Stonington (15-4) will play Richmond for the state crown at noon Saturday at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish — on the same field where the Mariners also won state titles in 2005 and 2007.
No. 3 Shead finishes 14-4.
Powers launched a 1-0 fastball from Shead righthander Tim Barnes to deep right-center to open the 10th, and when Shead center fielder Ryan Bowen couldn’t track it down, Deer Isle-Stonington had the go-ahead run in scoring position.
“It was a fastball where I liked it, inside,” said Powers. “I’d been getting pitches away all day, but I finally got a fastball inside and pretty much crushed it, I think.”
It was one of the few mistakes made by Barnes, who threw 124 pitches in nine-plus innings — 100 for strikes — while striking out 10, walking no one and hitting a batter.
But Powers’ blast — coming after Barnes had retired the previous 11 batters he faced — was the first of four straight hits by the Mariners in the 10th that snapped a 6-6 tie.
Cleanup hitter Joe Carter blooped a single to right beyond a drawn-in infield to drive home Powers with the go-ahead run, and Carter scored when freshman Joe Condon doubled to deep left.
Alex Peasley then greeted reliever Tom Pottle with a single to center to score Condon with the final run.
“People will probably second-guess me and say I left [Barnes] in there too long, but I don’t think so,” said Shead coach Ron Sullivan. “He breezed through the ninth, and then he gave up a fly ball that probably should have been caught, and that got the snowball rolling. I don’t take anything away from Timmy, he pitched a great ballgame. He kept us in it, as far as I’m concerned.”
Shead threatened in the bottom of the inning as Tom Collins and Kris Sullivan opened the inning with singles and Collins scored on a two-out single by Pottle. But winning pitcher Evan Rollins then fielded a comebacker to the mound by Justin Lewey and made the putout at first by himself to end the game.
“We couldn’t get the clutch when we needed it, and they hit some fly balls we couldn’t come up with,” said coach Sullivan, whose Tigers stranded 12 baserunners. “It happens.”
Carter had three singles and three RBIs for Deer Isle-Stonington, while Powers tripled and singled twice and Rollins, Lymburner and Condon had two hits apiece.
Pottle doubled and singled twice with three RBIs for Shead, while Nick Vinson added three singles and Barnes singled twice.
Rollins, a junior righthander, worked two separate four-inning stints. He pitched into the fifth to open the game before giving way to Condon, then returned to the mound in the seventh and yielded just one run on three hits over his final four innings.
Deer Isle-Stonington never trailed after Carter and Condon hit RBI singles good for a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
A sacrifice fly by Lewey got one run back for Shead in the bottom of the inning, and an RBI single by Pottle in the third drove home Caleb Ricker to produce a 2-2 tie.
Deer Isle-Stonington scored four runs in the top of the fifth to take a 6-2 lead, a rally aided by two Shead errors. Jon Lymburner had the key hit, a two-run double to left field.
Shead answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth, with an RBI double to deep left by Pottle driving home Barnes with the tying run.