BANGOR — Hampden-Newport Riverdogs lefthander Jared Seamans turned in a memorable performance Monday afternoon and the result was a berth in the Zone 1 American Legion Tournament beginning Thursday at the Winkin Complex on the Husson University campus in Bangor.
Seamans tossed a six-hit shutout and his teammates supported him with some superb plays as Hampden-Newport beat regular season champion and top seed Bangor 6-0 at Mansfield Stadium.
Hampden, 8-8, earned the sixth seed for the tournament and will face the No. 3 Acadians in a play-in game on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Winkin Complex. No. 4 Lincoln and fifth seed Motor City of Orono, who are also both 8-8, will meet in the 4 p.m. play-in game. The two winners will advance to the four-team double-elimination tourney beginning on Friday. Bangor, 14-2, in the top seed and Brewer, 12-4, is the second seed. They earned first-round byes.
Since Lincoln, Motor City and Hampden-Newport were 8-8, a playoff game wasn’t an option so the second criteria was head-to-head, according to Zone 1 Commissioner Dave Paul. Lincoln went 3-1 against the other two, Motor City was 2-2 and Hampden-Newport was 1-3.
In Monday’s makeup game, Bangor had at least one base runner in every inning but Seamans continuously made clutch pitches as he limited the Comrades to a 2-for-14 showing with men on base.
The Newport native struck out four, walked four and hit a pair of batters while throwing 121 pitches, 67 of which were strikes. He wasn’t overpowering but he spotted his pitches extremely well.
“I think that’s the best game I’ve ever pitched,” said Seamans, who will be a senior at Newport’s Nokomis High School in the fall. “I went mostly with my fastball and curve but I also threw a few changeups. I felt good out there. I tried to get ahead early in the count and to not throw any mistake pitches.
“And my defense [really] backed me up,” added Seamans whose mates made just one harmless error behind him.
“He pitched a great game,” said Bangor catcher Dylan Morris. “He kept the ball low.”
“He threw a lot of off-speed pitches to me and he hit his spots well,” said Bangor third baseman Devin Lyshon.
“We showed that we can play with the top teams in the conference,” said Riverdogs shortstop Nolan Turner, who had three singles, scored twice and drove in a run.
Turner also made a couple of gems in the field including a barehanded scoop on Lyshon’s slow roller off Seamans’ glove and strong throw to first to end the sixth inning.
Catcher Cody Miller threw out two of three base stealers.
“That was our best defensive game of the year,” said Riverdogs coach Nick Arthers.
The Riverdogs also benefited from several Comrades base-running blunders and four Bangor errors.
The Riverdogs scored the only run Seamans was to need in the third on one-out singles by Turner and Derek Amoroso and a sacrifice fly by Alex Cust to second baseman Jack Stacey.
“I saw that he was backpedaling and I didn’t think he expected me to go so I took a chance,” said the speedy Turner. “We needed to take some chances.”
Hampden-Newport scored an unearned run off losing pitcher Joe Stanevicz in the fifth inning when Justin Rodgerson walked, went all the way to third on Turner’s sacrifice bunt when nobody covered third and scored when Morris’ pick-off attempt glanced off his back and into left field.
Bangor had a great chance to tie it in the eighth when pinch-hitter Christian Corneil singled to lead off the inning and raced to third when Cody McInnis grounded a single to right. McInnis alertly moved to second on the throw to third.
But second baseman Derek Amoroso threw out Corneil at the plate on Stacey’s grounder, Stanevicz grounded out and Lyshon flied out.
Hampden-Newport scored four two-out runs off reliever Curtis Worcester in the ninth as Turner blooped an RBI single into shallow right center, a wild pitch produced another run and Miller ripped a two-run single to left center.
Miller and Tyler Desjardins had two hits each for the winners to complement Turner’s three hits.
Stanevicz doubled for the game’s only extra-base hit and pitched six innings of two-hit, two-run (one earned) ball.