SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – As successful as opening day of the American Legion baseball state tournament was for Zone 1 entries Brewer and Bangor on Wednesday, Day 2 of the competition at the Wainwright Complex was, well, quite another story.
Zone champion Brewer and runner-up Bangor both lost winners’ bracket contests via the 10-run rule on Thursday, with two-time defending state champion Nova Seafood of Portland handling Bangor 12-1 in 6 ½ innings before Gayton Post of Lewiston stopped Brewer 13-2 in a seven-inning contest.
The two Zone 1 teams will play in separate elimination games on Friday, Bangor against Augusta at 11 a.m. and Brewer against Bessey Motors of South Paris at 1 p.m.
These games will match familiar opponents, as Bangor defeated Cony of Augusta 4-2 during the 2010 high school season while the Brewer-Bessey Motors clash is essentially a rematch of this year’s Eastern Maine Class A championship game won by Oxford Hills of South Paris 10-3.
“I told the guys the best part of what happened [Thursday] was that we have another game [Friday],” said Brewer coach Chris Morris, likely echoing the sentiments of his uncle, Bangor coach Dave Morris.
The two remaining unbeaten teams in the double-elimination state Legion tournament, Nova Seafood and Gayton, will square off at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Nova Seafood (19-3) led Bangor just 2-1 through four innings of a pitchers’ duel between Nova lefthander Nick DiBiase and Bangor righty Jesse Wood.
But the Zone 4 champions erupted in the bottom of the fifth for nine runs on seven hits, a walk and two Bangor errors.
Wood retired the first batter he faced in the inning, but the next nine Nova Seafood batters reached base, a run of success that featured a two-run double to right-center by DiBiase, a two-run single to left by Travis Wade and a pair of RBI singles by Nick Colucci.
DiBiase easily made that cushion stand up on the mound, relying on pinpoint control – he walked no one while striking out four – and changing speeds to limit Bangor to six hits, all singles.
Colucci, DiBiase, Jamie Ross and and Kyle Danielson each had two hits to pace Nova Seafood’s 12-hit attack.
Devin Lyshon and Christian Corneil each singled twice for (19-5) Bangor, and Nate Lewis added an RBI single to drive home the Comrades’ only run in the third inning after Corneil hit a leadoff single and stole second base.
In the later game, Gayton (20-3) scored four unearned runs off Brewer starter Pat McEwen in the top of the first and maintained a healthy cushion thanks to the pitching of lefthander Alex Wong.
Wong, a 2009 Lewiston High School graduate who attends Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, pitched a complete-game three hitter with six strikeouts and two walks while allowing just one earned run.
“[Wong] just attacked us, that was the best part about him,” said Chris Morris. “He just stepped on the mound and said ‘here I am, hit me.’ That’s what I tell my pitchers, to attack the hitters, and he came right at us no matter who was in the batter’s box.
“He’s one of the best pitchers we’ve seen.”
Brewer got a run back against Wong in the bottom of the first when Eric White hit a two-out single and scored on a double to left-center by Chase Daniels.
Gayton extended its lead to 6-1 with two runs in the second on back-to-back RBI doubles by Jeff Keene and Greg LaBonte.
Brewer (16-6) scored an unearned run in the third to pull within 6-2, but Wong allowed just one more hit the rest of the way and hit a two-run single to spark a three-run rally by Gayton in the top of the fifth.
Gayton took a double-digit lead with four more runs in the sixth, as Luke Cote hit a two-run single down the left-field line and Corbin Hyde and Alex Parker each singled home a run.
Bangor (19-5) 001 000 0 — 1 6 3
Nova Seafood (19-3) 021 090 x — 12 12 1
Wood, LaPlante (5) and Morris; DiBiase and Miranda
Gayton (20-3) 420 034 0 — 13 9 2
Brewer (16-6) 101 000 0 — 2 3 3
Wong and T. Ouellette; McEwen, Eldridge (5), Bailey (6) and Richards, Alexander (7)