BANGOR — There was a reason the Eastern Maine Class C baseball game between second-seeded Calais and top-seeded Foxcroft Academy took just 1 hour, 39 minutes to play: Adam Geel.
Quick-working junior righthander Geel fired a four-hitter, striking out seven and not walking anyone, to lead Calais to a 4-0 triumph over the previously undefeated and top-seeded Ponies at Mansfield Stadium Wednesday night.
In defending its EM title, 15-1-1 Calais will now take on Western champ St. Dominic of Auburn in Saturday’s 2 p.m. state championship game at Mansfield Stadium.
St. Dominic beat Dirigo of Dixfield 7-6.
Geel, featuring a live fastball and a sweeping slider, threw 72 strikes among his 95 pitches and the Ponies hit just three balls out of the infield against him.
Geel improved to 7-1 and his mates played errorless ball behind him.
The Blue Devils haven’t allowed a run in their three postseason wins.
Foxcroft, which got only two runners in scoring position and none past second, finished at 18-1.
“My fastball worked real well,” said Geel. “I knew all I had to do was throw strikes and my defense would take care of it.
“I couldn’t get my slider to work every time but when it worked, it was good and I used it as an out pitch. But I mostly went with my fastball,” added Geel.
“He’s obviously a great pitcher and he had his best stuff tonight,” said Foxcroft coach Mark Chevalier. “We did all we could but they’re a very good team, great pitcher, great defense, fundamentally sound. They’re a lot like we are. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
“He was, by far, the best pitcher we’ve faced this year,” said Foxcroft sophomore first baseman Kaleb Smith. “He probably had the best fastball we’ve seen and he also had a good slider. He did a good job mixing his pitches up. He tried to quick-pitch us and it worked some times.”
“His slider fooled a lot of us,” said Pony senior right field Nick Strout. “He threw both his fastball and slider for strikes.”
Calais scored the only run it was to need in the first inning and added three more in the third.
Speedy junior shortstop Jeremy Beers ignited both rallies.
He drew a one-out walk in the first off Foxcroft sophomore righty Ryan Rebar, stole second and third and scored on Geel’s sacrifice fly to right.
He lined a single to left to start the third and moved up when Geel reached on an infield error.
He stole third and, one out later, Geel stole second.
Beers scored on Jonathan Edwards’ line drive single to left; Geel crossed the plate on Lewis Francis’ sacrifice fly to right and Edwards scored on Nathan Pike’s ground ball single to center.
“We hit the ball really well tonight,” said Beers.
But Rebar settled down nicely after that and pitched into the seventh when Kaleb Smith came on to get out of a two-on, one-out jam. Again the rally was jump-started by Beers, who had a one-out single, stole second and went to third on an error.
Only one of the runs off Rebar was earned. He allowed five hits over 6 ⅓ innings and walked five while striking out eight. Four of the walks came in the first two innings when he threw 58 pitches.
He fell to 4-1.
Beers paced Calais’ attack with two singles, two runs scored and four stolen bases. Pike also had a pair of base hits.
Back-to-back two-out infield singles by Smith and Rebar in the third inning represented the only time the Ponies had more than one baserunner in an inning.
Geel was able to get out of the jam with a strikeout.
Forrest Law’s bunt single in the fifth and Cody Coiley’s sharp ground ball single to center in the sixth were Foxcroft’s only other hits.
Calais stole six bases.
“We didn’t steal as much as we usually do. Their catcher (Coiley) had a really good arm and his throws were on the money,” said Beers, who was one of two base stealers gunned down by Coiley.
“This was a great win. We’re peaking at the right time,” said Calais coach Kenny Murphy.