GORHAM, Maine — One of American Legion baseball’s elder statesmen was too much for the Hampden Riverdogs on Saturday.
Ian Edwards, a four-time first-team All-Zone 1 choice, had four hits — including a pair of two-run homers — and four RBIs as Bangor remained alive in the state Legion baseball tournament with a 10-8 victory over Hampden in an elimination game at the University of Southern Maine.
Edwards also doubled, singled and scored three runs as coach Fred Lower’s Comrades rallied from a late one-run deficit to defeat Hampden for the third straight time in postseason play and for the fourth time in five meetings overall this summer.
“I worked the count well and got pitches I like,” said Edwards. “I hopefully am in a groove, I guess.”
Edwards sparked a 12-hit attack against Hampden that came just hours after the Comrades were no-hit over the final five innings of a 5-2 loss to Smith-Tobey of Bath in a game that was suspended due to rain Friday afternoon.
Joe Stanevicz added a double and a single for Bangor, while Lonnie Hacket and Dylan Morris each doubled and Cody McInnis drew three walks and scored each time.
“It was tough, we didn’t get one hit in the last resumed [five] innings, so to come out here and bang out 12 hits and 10 runs against a great team is a confidence builder,” Edwards said. “We’ve just got to keep building off it. It just seems like we’ve been going up, up, up and then we just hit that brake right there, so to get this game out of the way and play as well as we did is good for us.”
Hampden took its first lead at 7-6 with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, a rally featuring a two-run triple by Derek Amoroso, a bloop RBI single by Jordan Richards and a sacrifice fly by Cody Miller.
Bangor regained the lead with two runs in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Shane Walton and a two-out RBI single by Nate Lewis.
Defense helped preserve that lead, as Bangor reliever Jesse Wood escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the eighth as Comrades Walton and catcher Dylan Morris combined to turn an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play.
Edwards then put the game away in the top of the ninth with his third two-run homer of the tournament, a blast to straightaway center off Hampden reliever Shawn Smith two outs after pinch-hitter John Cox hit a leadoff double to left.
First base was open, but Edwards was not surprised the rival Riverdogs opted to pitch to him.
“Shawn’s a great pitcher and I’ve never really had great success against him,” said Edwards. “They’re the most competitive team we’ve played all year, and I just don’t see them intentionally walking someone, and with a pitcher like that you just kind of disregard the situation and just play.”
Wood earned the pitching win with 1¤ innings of scoreless relief.
Bangor put its first three batters on base in the top of the first against Amoroso on two walks and a bunt single by Chad Kelley, and all three runners scored. Walton and Devin Lyshon followed with sacrifice flies, and Stanevicz laced an RBI double to left-center to give the Comrades a quick 3-0 lead.
Hampden countered with a run in the bottom of the inning off Bangor righty Jordan Clarke. Nolan Turner and Cody Johndro drew back-to-back walks, and after McInnis turned an unassisted double play on a liner up the middle by Smith, Turner scored on a wild pitch.
Edwards answered immediately, lofting a 2-0 pitch well beyond the fence in left field for a two-run homer in the top of the second to give the Comrades a 5-1 cushion.
Smith had Hampden’s first hit, a leadoff single to center to start the fourth inning, and after a Josh Tardiff single he scored on Amoroso’s double-play grounder to pull the Riverdogs within three runs.
Hampden threatened to take the lead in the sixth. Three walks loaded the bases with one out , but only Tardiff scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Jordan Richards before Clarke was able to escape with a 5-3 lead intact.
Bangor added a run in the top of the seventh, as Devin Lyshon hit a leadoff single to left and pinch-runner Christian Corneil scored on Dylan Morris’ two-out double to left-center.
The Zone 1 rivals met after having mixed results in the completion of suspended contests earlier in the day.
Bangor had its 10-game winning streak snapped at the Wainwright Complex in South Portland as Zone 3 champion Smith-Tobey rallied for a 5-2 victory in a winner’s bracket game.
Hampden scored twice in the top of the ninth to eliminate Zone 5 runner-up Kennebunk 7-5 at USM.
Bangor led 2-0 on a two-run homer by Edwards when rain forced suspension of its game with Smith-Tobey in the top of the fifth Friday.
Smith-Tobey had two runners aboard and one out when play resumed, then Tim Bickford blooped a single to center before Anthony Farrell cleared the bases with a three-run double to left-center off Bangor reliever Curtis
Worcester. Scott Rogers followed with an RBI single to left to give Smith-Tobey a 4-2 lead.
Brian Sherwood held Bangor without a hit for the next four innings, overcoming five walks and a hit batsman with seven strikeouts, including two straight after walking the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth en route to escaping the threat unscathed.
Farrell relieved Sherwood after Bangor’s Nate Lewis drew a leadoff walk in the ninth and hit Cox with a pitch before retiring the next three batters he faced to give Smith-Tobey its second state tournament victory.
Hampden resumed its game with Kennebunk locked in a 5-5 tie in the top of the eighth.
The Riverdogs had the bases loaded with the tying run already across when the game was suspended, but Kennebunk reliever Peter Donovan retired the first two batters he faced after the restart to keep the game tied.
Johndro walked to start the Hampden ninth and scored the go-ahead run when Smith tripled to right-center. Tardiff followed with an infield hit and came around to score with two outs when Ryan Blake reached on an infield error.
Amoroso earned the pitching win in relief, striking out three batters and walking four over the final two innings.
Smith tripled and singled for Hampden, while Amoroso, Miller and Brennan Perry each doubled and singled.
Hampden (18-8) 200 110 021 — 7 11 2
Kennebunk (13-9) 002 300 000 — 5 8 3
Smith, Amoroso (8) and Miller; Landry, Donovan (7) and Rollins
Smith-Tobey (16-6) 000 040 010 — 5 11 0
Bangor (20-6) 200 000 000 — 2 4 0
Ross, Wallace (5), Sherwood (5), Farrell (9) and Wallace, Morrell (5); Edwards, Worcester (5), Stanevicz and Morris
Bangor (21-6) 320 000 131 — 10 12 3
Hampden (18-9) 100 101 401 — 8 8 2
Clarke, Worcester (7), Wood (7), Savage (9) and Morris; Amoroso, Seamans (3), Smith (9) and Miller