STANDISH, Maine — Roderick Maynard pitched a five-hitter as Sacopee Valley of South Hiram edged George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill 3-2 in the Class C baseball state championship game at Saint Joseph’s College on Saturday.
Maynard, who required 138 pitches over nine innings a week earlier to lead the Hawks to an upset of top-ranked and previously undefeated Monmouth Academy in their Class C South semifinal, needed just 75 pitches over seven innings to fend off George Stevens.
“My arm was good,” said Maynard, the Western Maine Conference Class C player of the year and a Mr. Baseball finalist. “I had a week off. I didn’t throw until Friday and I threw light bullpen so I was feeling fresh and live and everything was strong. I felt good.”
The senior left-hander struck out nine batters, walked no one and came up with the big pitches he needed late in the game as GSA attempted to rally from a 3-0 deficit.
“We knew he was a good pitcher coming in,” said GSA coach Dan Kane. “I had heard a lot of scouting reports on him. He had a plus-fastball and a good breaking ball. Early in the game it took us three innings to get adjusted to him. He was a tough pitcher and he did his job.
“But you could start to see that once we put a couple of good swings on him that they started to tighten up a little bit. We just needed to start earlier in the game.”
Kyle Jordan paced 17-3 Sacopee Valley offensively with a double, two singles and an RBI, while Jake Keenan singled twice for 18-2 GSA.
Sacopee Valley used three straight two-out hits off Keenan to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Brady Anderson singled to center and Jordan blooped a hit off the infield dirt just behind first base to put runners on first and third. Maynard then lined a 2-2 pitch into right field to drive home Anderson with the game’s first run.
Jordan lined a two-out, RBI double down the left-field line in the bottom of the third to make it 2-0, and Brandon Burnell’s similar shot to open the Sacopee Valley fourth, prompting Kane to turn to reliever Beckett Slayton.
Burnell advanced to third on a groundout to first by Peter Cates and scored to make it 3-0 as Taylor Schildroth overthrew home plate on Jarrod Jordan’s grounder to shortstop.
GSA reached Maynard for single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Stefan Simmons lined a triple to straightaway center in the fifth to drive home Will Entwistle, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
GSA made it a one-run game an inning later. Tyler McKenney hustled out a pop double down the right-field line and was sacrificed to third by Tyler Snow before scoring when Schildroth grounded out to second.
But the comeback ended there, as Maynard struck out the side in the seventh around a one-out single by Keenan to give the Hawks their first state championship since 1993.
“I kept them off balance and tried to manipulate the way I pitched and it turned out pretty good in the end,” said Maynard, whose team had lost to Washington Academy of East Machias in the 2014 state final. “They squared me up a couple of times but that’s going to happen in the course of a long game. Seven innings is plenty of time for them to figure me out.”