BANGOR, Maine— Over the last decade, it has become a tradition for the Bangor Junior League baseball All-Star team to find itself vying for a state title.
This year’s Bangor squad cruised to the state final with a slew of strong pitching performances, which were complemented by a potent offensive attack.
Bangor was able to use its strengths once again and take its seventh straight Junior League title with an 11-0 win in five innings over the Acadians Tuesday night at Mansfield Stadium.
Bangor will now represent Maine in the Junior League East Regional finals Aug. 3-8 in Freehold Township, N.J.
When asked to compare past team’s to this year, Bangor coach Jim Owens was unable to do such a thing.
“It’s like comparing apples to oranges, they’re unique in their own way,” Owens said.
Bangor starter Ryan Brookings scattered just three infield hits over five innings, with all three of the hits coming in the last two innings. Brookings struck out four and walked just two, while the defense continued a string of solid play in both district and state tournament play.
“I felt really good out there and was able to get my curveball over consistently throughout,” said Brookings. “Everybody came up big when we needed it and got the job done.”
“Ryan did a very nice job for us in a big spot,” added Owens. “He threw 74 pitches over five strong innings and that’s efficient at this age level.”
The situation was familiar territory for Brookings, who found himself in a similar spot back in Little League.
“I’ve done it before in Little League when I threw a one-hitter in the state championship game,” he said. “It’s kind of the same, but it always feels good to get the job done.”
The Bangor offense made life easy for Brookings by giving him an early 3-0 lead on a two-run double from Ben Crichton and Ethan Dorman’s RBI single.
The third inning was the difference maker as Bangor capitalized on errors and produced big hits to grab six runs.
After Tanner Goodine scored on a passed ball, Johnny Cote ripped an RBI single to left that scored Nick Moore, with Crichton following Moore in after an Acadians error. The offense kept it coming with Ryan Moore’s sacrifice fly and Peter Kemble’s RBI single. Brian Pierce scored on a passed ball to cap off the inning and make it 9-0.
Kyle Stevenson provided the knockout blow in the fifth with a two-run double to put Bangor in a commanding 11-0 lead.
Stevenson was more than happy to come through in such a big spot for his team.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball well early in the game, but getting that hit made up for it and pumped me up,” said Stevenson.
Brookings worked through two singles to get the last three outs and clinch the title.
Nick Moore added a double and a single for Bangor.
Dylan Collin, Simon Hulbert, and Aaron Snurkowski each had singles for the Acadians of the Bar Harbor area.
The play on the field was essential in Bangor’s title run, but the key to all the success started with the team’s camaraderie, according to Stevenson.
“This team has better team chemistry than any team I’ve ever been on,” he said. “We’re all best friends, we hang out all the time, and all that really shows on the field in how we play.”
Bangor will have a few days to fine tune its game before heading to New Jersey, but Owens believes its just a matter of continuity from here.
“Need to work a little on base running, but past that it’s just reviewing what got us here,” he said.
“Our defense has been real solid for us to this point, so we just need to continue to hit the ball and we will be fine,” added Stevenson.