BANGOR — The Bangor Junior League all-star baseball squad pieced together quite the offensive barrage Wednesday night, pounding out 14 runs on 17 hits.
It turns out coach Jimmy Owens’ club would need every single one of them.
Hampden made what appeared to be a secure victory interesting in the top of the seventh, scoring four runs before Bangor held on for a 14-9 victory at Mansfield Stadium to claim the District 3 championship.
Bangor capped off a 5-0 run through District 3 competition and moves on to the state tournament that begins July 24 in Ellsworth while Hampden finished with a 3-2 record.
It looked as though this one would end via the mercy rule, as Bangor scored five times in the fifth and twice more in the sixth to build its largest lead of the evening.
But Hampden’s first two hitters reached on infield singles to start the seventh, and an RBI single by Jeremy Kelsey and two-run double by Michael Ward, who later scored on an error, made things a tad uncomfortable for Bangor.
“We missed first base twice, then they got two or three hits to the outfield. That’s Junior League baseball,” Owens said.
Bangor lefthander Brendan Moore, who came on in the sixth for starter and winner Nick Leach, recorded the final two batters via the strikeout in the seventh after Ward had scored on Moore’s throwing error.
“[Moore] bailed us out, he did a wonderful job,” Owens said. “Most of the time, we catch the ball, he’ll throw strikes and we’ll get an out.”
Hampden coach Basil Clossen was impressed with his team’s fight.
“The wheels came off a couple of times, but the kids never quit, and that’s about all I can really ask of them,” he said. “They hit the ball and they never quit.”
Problem was, Bangor’s offense was just too much, and, even better for Owens, it was spread out, with 12 different players collecting at least one hit.
“Everybody had their share, the other night [Nick] Ashey and Moore got all the hits when we won big, but tonight it was all the guys,” Owens said.
Third baseman Ashey ripped an RBI single to center to spark a four-run uprising in that inning while Justin Courtney drove in the first of his two runs on the night with a double to left with Reed Brookings and Andrew Hillier adding RBI singles in the frame.
Hampden got on the board in the second on Ward’s RBI single while Tristan Gardner drove in another run in the third with a double. Jeremy Kelsey added a two-run single in that frame.
Kelsey’s hit drew Hampden within 5-3, but Bangor responded with two more runs in the home half of the third, with Hunter Boyce and Cody Collins hitting run-producing singles.
Sam Houston sparked the five-run Bangor fifth-inning burst which opened the floodgates with a two-run double, and a pair of throwing errors allowed him to score on the same play.
“They played a great game and I wish them all the best in the states,” Clossen said.
Kerry Colpritt drove in Bangor’s other fifth-inning run with a single while Leach, who pitched five strong innings, scored three runs and stole three bases out of the leadoff spot in the order.
Kelsey sparked Hampden with three hits and four RBIs while Ward drove in three runs.
The Bangor Junior stars will open the state tourney on Saturday, July 24 at 1 p.m. against the District 6 champions.