BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor All-Stars kept alive their hopes for a berth in the Senior League World Series on Wednesday evening, using an eight-run rally in the top of the sixth inning to pull away to a 12-2 victory over Holbrook in an elimination game of the Maine District 3 baseball tournament at Mansfield Stadium.
The game was halted after six innings under the 10-run rule.
“We finally got the right people on the bases at the right time, and we finally got our signals uncrossed, so to speak, so that everybody was in sync,” said Bangor coach Ron St. Pierre. “That made a big difference with the base running tonight. We didn’t run into any outs.”
Bangor, 2-1 in the double-elimination tournament, will play unbeaten Hampden (2-0) beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday needing two victories to secure District 3’s host team berth in the Senior League World Series.
Hampden, which defeated Bangor 8-5 in a winners’ bracket game Tuesday, needs just one more win to advance to the SLWS pool play opener against Canadian champion Notre-Dame-de-Grace Little League of Montreal at noon Sunday.
Holbrook ends its postseason run with a 3-2 record.
Bangor managed just six hits but capitalized on seven Holbrook errors, nine walks and a hit batsman to mount consistent offensive pressure.
“We were a little down because of the loss [Tuesday] night, but we knew we had to bounce back and that we weren’t out of this tournament yet,” said Bangor shortstop Hunter Boyce, who drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly. “We started off a little slow, but we got it going at the end.”
Right-handers Andrew Hillier, Reed Brookings and Riley McKay combined to limit Holbrook to no earned runs on four hits with one strikeout and two walks — and none of the trio threw as many as 30 pitches, meaning all three are eligible to pitch Thursday.
“It was a gamble on our part,” said St. Pierre. “We didn’t really want to go more than 30 pitches with Hillier, but we never took him out of the game so he could have come back, and the other guys did very well, but we made some errors and that extended their pitch counts. Fortunately, we got to 12 runs because if we had gone to the seventh, we’d have lost Riley because he probably would have gone past 30.”
Holbrook starter Chase Allen struck out the game’s first two batters, but Boyce was hit by a 2-2 pitch and the next three batters each walked, with a walk to Nick Ashey forcing home Boyce with the game’s first run.
Ryan Gagne came on in relief, but an immediate four-pitch walk to Sam Huston forced home Brendan Moore to make it 2-0.
Bangor stretched its lead to 3-0 in the top of the third. Ashey hit a one-out single to left, Huston followed with a walk and, one pitch after a double steal, Hillier lofted a sacrifice fly to left field that plated special pinch runner Kenny Colpritt.
Holbrook broke through with an unearned run in the bottom of the third. Seth Pearson and Shawn Curran reached on back-to-back infield errors with one out. A walk to Allen loaded the bases before Pearson scored when Gagne lined a sacrifice fly to deep left.
Bangor got that run back in the top of the fourth on a one-out walk to Jon Stanhope, a balk, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly to left by Boyce.
Holbrook closed the gap to 4-2 in the bottom of the inning on an infield single by Logan Rogerson that drove home special pinch runner Justin Gagnon from third base.
But Tom Burns, who had singled earlier in the inning and reached third base on Rogerson’s hit to the shortstop hole, was called out for leaving third early after scoring on Pearson’s flyout to center field.
Bangor broke the game open in the sixth, a rally that began with four Holbrook errors and a suicide squeeze bunt good for a single and an RBI by Stanhope.
“Coach just gave me the squeeze sign, and I was just lucky to get it down,” said Stanhope of his bunt, which drove home Jordan Derrah from third and plated a second run on an overthrow. “I was a little scared that I wouldn’t bunt the ball and it would blow up in my face.”
Boyce then singled home Stanhope before Moore singled to left and McKay followed with a two-run single to right to give Bangor a 9-2 cushion.
Ashey then walked, and Huston grounded an RBI single down the left-field line to drive home McKay before two more Holbrook errors led to the final two Bangor runs of the inning.