BANGOR — The Brewer Falcons rode the right arm of Evan Eldridge to their second straight Zone I American Legion title as he pitched a four-hit masterpiece to beat Bangor 4-1 in the first game of the championship round at the Winkin Complex Tuesday night.
Bangor advanced to the championship round with a 6-2 elimination game victory over Motor City in the afternoon game.
Eldridge improved to 5-1 by striking out 11 and walking just two.
“My fastball had a lot of pop on it,” said Eldridge. “I just tried to pound the zone and let my defense do the work. They chased a few breaking balls out of the zone and that helped me quite a bit. My curve was good. I put it where I wanted to.”
“That’s the best I’ve ever seen him pitch,” said Bangor designated hitter Joe Stanevicz. “He hit his spots and kept the ball down.”
“He’s a diamond in the rough. He’s one of the best pitchers around,” said Bangor coach Dave Morris.
“We were a little fatigued but he was on tonight. He pitched a real good game,” said Bangor second baseman Cody McInnis.
Bangor will take a 19-6 record into a Saturday play-in game against Zone 2 runnerup Gardiner at 11 a.m. at Morton Field in Augusta for the right to play in the State Tournament.
Brewer, 19-5, will play Zone 2 winner Augusta in their State Tourney opener at Morton Field at 10 a.m on Wednesday, July 27.
Fourth seed Motor City wound up 15-10.
In the championship game, Eric White’s sacrifice fly broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning and the Falcons added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth.
Blake Birmingham opened the seventh with a chopper down the third base line for an infield single.
“I was just looking to get on base and get into scoring position so someone could drive me in,” said Birmingham.
Tyler French sacrificed him to second, Brandon Gendreau chased him to third with a soft line- drive single to right and White followed with a line drive to medium-deep center field.
That run came off starter Bryan Rouleau, who pitched seven solid innings of five-hit, two-run ball.
“I was looking for something I could get in the air,” said White. “He threw me a slider around the middle of the plate and I tried to stay in the middle of the field with it.”
Brewer’s eighth and ninth inning runs came off Greg Duff. The eighth-inning run was unearned.
Kyle McLain drew a lead-off walk in the eighth and James Potter reached when his sacrifice bunt was misplayed for an error.
Cody Farrell sacrificed them along and, after a walk, the fleet-footed Birmingham beat the relay throw to first on a double play attempt to produce the third run.
Two walks sandwiching a perfectly-executed hit-and-run single to right by White and a wild pitch produced the final run.
Bangor scored it only run in the first on McInnis’ double, a wild pitch and a passed ball.
A walk, Jeremy Bissell’s ground-rule double and Birmingham’s sacrifice fly tied it in the second.
White had two singles to go with his sacrifice fly. Dylan Morris tripled for Bangor.
In the opener, Comrades righthander Jesse Wood pitched his first complete game at the high school or American Legion level to eliminate Motor City.
Wood scattered seven hits and seven walks over nine innings and his mates played outstanding defense behind him.
Wood, now 5-1, threw 136 pitches, 76 for strikes.
“I felt real good today,” said Wood. “I walked too many but the guys made the plays behind me. I couldn’t get my curve over early so I went more with my slider (to go with my fastball).”
“He had a good breaking ball and he located it well. He kept us off-balance,” said Motor City third baseman Chris Hammond, who doubled, singled and walked in four plate appearances.
“We had opportunities but we just weren’t able to get it done.”
Phil Benoit pitched eight impressive innings in defeat, allowing just five hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
Bangor opened the scoring in the first when McInnis was hit by pitch, raced to third on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run single by Morris and scored on double steal.
Motor City took the lead in the third on a pair of one-out walks, Cody Cross’ crisp line-drive single to right and Benoit’s two-run single into right center.
Bangor tied it in the bottom of the inning when Bobby Winchell hit a triple to right center field and scored on Christian Corneil’s sacrifice fly.
Bangor’s two runs in the fourth inning were unearned.
Stanevicz reached on an infield single that popped out of the glove of Hammond. Seth Freudenberger bunted back to Benoit but the pitcher’s throw to second sailed into center field.
Carl Farnham moved the runners along with a well-executed sacrifice and Rouleau drove in Stanevicz with a sacrifice fly to left.
As Benoit was about to deliver an 0-2 pitch to Winchell, Freudenberger broke for third.
Benoit threw to third in plenty of time but Hammond said he lost the ball in the glare off the shed and Freundenberger came around to score.
McInnis singled and eventually scored on a passed ball in the eighth and Farnham added an RBI single later in the inning.
Motor City 002 000 000 — 2 7 4
Bangor 101 200 02x — 6 5 1
Benoit and Cross; Wood and Morris
Brewer 010 000 111 — 4 6 2
Bangor 100 000 0 — 1 4 1
Eldridge and Potter, Moore (9); Rouleau, Duff (8), Moore (9) and Morris