BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Senior League World Series team became the first District 3 team to win a pool (Pool A) and go undefeated (4-0) in pool play.
But hard-throwing 15-year-old left-hander John Doxakis from U.S. Southwest champion West University of Houston, Texas, ended Bangor’s bid for a berth in the finals with an absolute masterpiece on Friday as Houston triumphed 7-0 to earn a berth in Saturday’s 2:07 p.m. title game at Mansfield Stadium.
Houston will face Latin America champ Curacao, a 3-2 winner over U.S.South champ, Dumfries, Virginia, in the other semifinal.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Doxakis fired a two-hitter and allowed just one ball to be hit out of the infield. He struck out nine, walked one and induced eight ground-ball outs.
He threw 87 pitches of which 56 were strikes. He threw 15 first-pitch strikes to the 24 hitters he faced.
Doxakis allowed just one runner to get as far as second base, and that came in the fifth inning when Bangor put runners on first and second with one out on Ryan Brookings’ infield single, Nick Cowperthwaite’s sacrifice and a walk to Johnny Cote.
But he struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
“I was really hitting my spots,” said Doxakis. “I went mostly with my four-seam fastball, and I kept it low. I got a lot of ground balls. It was cutting low and away [from righthanded hitters]. They were on top of it and hitting it into the ground.”
He said his curve wasn’t working early in the game “but it started working the last two innings, and I got a strikeout with it.”
“He was a great pitcher,” said Brookings, who had both of Bangor’s hits. “His ball was tailing like crazy. We had difficulty hitting the ball.”
“He was the best pitcher I’ve ever faced,” added Bangor catcher Derek Fournier. “I’ve never faced a lefty who threw this hard. His fastball had a little tail on it that through us off.”
Doxakis received an errorless defensive performance by his slick-fielding mates.
Bangor right-hander James Prescott, who hadn’t pitched more than three innings in a game at any level this year because of shoulder soreness, turned in an equally superb performance for five innings before Houston erupted for eight straight hits in a six-run sixth-inning rally that sewed up the win.
Prescott had a four-hitter through five innings and had allowed just one run, that coming in the first inning.
“I was a little tired in the sixth. I left my fastball up, and they turned on it and hit it hard,” said Prescott.
“He was a really good pitcher,” said Houston shortstop Jimmy Winston, who had three singles and triggered the rally with an infield hit. “He had a good curveball.”
Doxakis thought Prescott may have tired and started leaving the ball up in the zone in the sixth but agreed with Winston that Prescott was a quality pitcher.
Third baseman Carson Maxwell said they had become acclimated to Prescott by the third time through the order, “and we caught on to [his pitches in the sixth].”
Winston opened the sixth with a high chopper that went under charging third baseman Ben Crichton’s glove for a base hit.
Maxwell then rifled a long double over left fielder Trevor DeLaite’s head to score Winston.
“I was just sitting on a fastball. I had been 0-for-6, and I finally found a fastball up and in, and I got it,” said Maxwell.
Doxakis blooped a single into right center but got caught between first and second and thrown out at first by right fielder Joey Moir.
Jacob Millender launched another long double over DeLaite’s head to score Maxwell.
Millender scored when Joe Gobillot’s scorching one-hop line drive glanced off second baseman Cote’s glove for a base hit.
Owen Holt chased Prescott with a slicing double inside the right field line.
William James greeted reliever Cowperthwaite with a two-run line drive double to right center, and Aaron Cranfield capped the rally by grounding an RBI single through the box.
Houston had scored its first-inning run on a leadoff walk, Winston’s ground-ball single down the third base line and a throwing error on a double play attempt.
James had a triple to go with his double to complement Winston’s three hits.
Brookings’ first hit was a line drive single to center in the second.
“It was a changeup, and I didn’t throw another one after that,” said Doxakis who had pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in Houston’s 10-0 win over U.S. East champ Bristol, Connecticut, on Sunday.
“My stuff wasn’t working as well in that game. Today, I felt I was in command. My pitches were working a lot better and everything felt more fluid,” he added.
In the second game, Zaino Henriguez’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh gave Curacao its victory over Dumfries.
Raysheandall Michel singled to center to lead off the inning and he raced to third on a throwing error on the pitcher on Rrowensly Klaber’s sacrifice.
Draydon Evelina pinch-ran for Klaber and stole second.
After a pair of infield pop-ups, Henriguez lined his game-winning single to center.
Curacao took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out rally.
Michel and Klaber singled and Michel eventually scored on a passed ball before Swindly Lint singled home pinch-runner Mitchelson Danchi.
But Dumfries rallied to tie it with runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Michael Nickles singled, Christian Colangelo doubled and Michael Morrissey hit an RBI single to center.
In the fifth, Thomas Thorgersen doubled with one out and scored on Fox Semones’ single to right.
Michel, Klaber and Lint each had two singles for Curacao and Michel picked up the win with one inning of scoreless relief.