BANGOR, Maine — Washington Academy has tried all season to place an emphasis on the small details of the game.
On Tuesday afternoon, with dominating junior pitcher Gage Feeney on the mound, the Raiders were able to execute in key situations.
Feeney pitched a dominating three-hitter and second-seeded Washington Academy of East Machias claimed the Eastern Maine Class C baseball championship with a 3-0 victory over No. 4 George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill at Mansfield Stadium.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game going into it,” said Feeney (8-3) who has allowed only four earned runs all spring.
“They’re [the Eagles] a great group of kids, very talented, a good team, so we were fortunate enough to get through,” he added.
Coach Derek Feeney’s Raiders (15-4) face Western Maine winner Sacopee Valley of South Hiram (14-6) in Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. state title game at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.
It was the first regional crown for Washington Academy since 1998.
The Eagles of coach Dan Kane closed out the season at 14-5.
Tuesday’s game was the rubber game between the two ballclubs, who had split two regular-season games. It made for a tense rematch.
“Especially on this kind of field, this atmosphere’s definitely different than what we’re used to: Playoffs and a lot of people in the crowd,” said WA junior Jared Taylor.
However, Gage Feeney was in control again.
The tall right-hander used a hard fastball and an overhand curve along with a handful of sliders and changeups to keep GSA guessing. Feeney struck out nine and walked two while throwing 103 pitches, 71 for strikes.
“Honestly, it probably wasn’t my best,” said Gage Feeney, who is the coach’s son. “The team played great defensively behind me and we got up early, which was good, and my control was on enough.”
He encountered trouble in two innings, but was able to work his way out of jams.
WA scratched out only four hits against GSA righty Kelsey Allen, who struck out one and walked one while going the distance. However, the Eagles committed four errors that led to two unearned runs.
The Raiders scored the only run they would need in the second inning. Cameron Varney lined a double to left-center, moved up on Taylor’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Ethan Sawyer’s groundout to third base.
“It’s something we’ve struggled with all season but they got the bunt down,” said Derek Feeney. “I tried to tell them, little things make a big difference.”
Washington Academy provided Gage Feeney with two insurance runs in the fourth inning with the help of three miscues.
Fred MacLean drew a leadoff walk and advanced on an errant pickoff throw, then Colin Pineo reached on a fielding error. One out later, Taylor grounded a run-scoring single through the right side.
Ethan Sawyer got aboard on an error when the shortstop’s throw went wide of the bag on a force attempt at second base. That allowed the final run to score.
GSA mounted threats in the first and fifth innings.
In the first, Garrison Looke posted the first of his two hits, lacing a one-out double to left-center. After Anthony Bianco reached on a fielding error, Feeney worked around a walk to get the final two outs.
The Eagles tried to rally in the fifth when Allen beat out an infield single and moved up on Looke’s single past first base. However, Feeney induced a fielder’s choice grounder, on which Allen was cut down at the plate, and then notched an inning-ending strikeout.
“Our third baseman made a big play when he cut that runner off at home plate,” Derek Feeney said. “That could have made a difference.”