April 21, 2018
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Harnett pitches Yarmouth past Old Town for ‘B’ baseball title

Ryan McLaughlin | BDN
Ryan McLaughlin | BDN
Yarmouth High School baseball players celebrate after winning the Class B state championship Saturday in Standish.
By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

STANDISH, Maine — Gibson Harnett wasn’t overpowering on Saturday afternoon, but the Yarmouth senior was economical and all around the plate.

And his teammates did just enough offensively against a tough counterpart in Old Town senior Ethan Stoddard.

The Clippers, who emerged from Class B South as the No. 9 seed, won their first state baseball championship in more than two decades with a 3-0 victory over the defending state champion Coyotes at Saint Joseph’s College.

Yarmouth, which last raised a state championship trophy in 1995 when it played in Class C, winds up 16-5 while Old Town concludes the season 16-4.

After throwing 38 pitches over the first two innings, Harnett settled down and only tossed 75 the rest of the way. He struck out three and walked just one while keeping the Coyotes off-balance with a wide assortment of pitches, including a tough slider that he throws at a side-arm angle.

“We got through the first time through the order with great defense by my team behind me,” Harnett said. “That allowed me to get to my offspeed [pitches] early in the game.”

A first-inning run proved pivotal, with Jack Romano ripping a single to left to score Luke Waeldner, who had led off with a six-pitch walk.

Old Town’s first serious threat came in the top of the third, but that’s when the Coyotes fell victim to the first of two double plays the Clippers turned.

With one out and Ryan Hoogterp on second, Cole Daniel lifted a fly ball to medium-deep center on which Clippers’ center fielder Jack Romano had to backpedal to make the catch and subsequently fell over.

When Old Town coach Brad Goody saw that, he decided to send Hoogterp home, and he was cut down at the plate on a great relay from Romano to Chris Romano to James Waaler.

“I’ve coached [Jack Romano since 5th grade], been around, him taught him, and I had absolutely zero doubt he was going to make that throw,” Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted said.

Yarmouth got some insurance on a crazy play in the bottom of the sixth.

With men on second and third and one out, Jackson Caruso bunted the ball back to Stoddard, scoring Joe Coyne from third. When Stoddard just held the ball with his back to the plate Dom Morrill, who had been on second, kept on running and scored.

“We like to get the second runner in and the pitcher was pretty upset that he didn’t get the first out, and we kind of sneaked the second runner in,” Harnett said.

Harnett retired the Coyotes in order in the top of the seventh. He didn’t allow a runner past second base after the third.

“We just couldn’t get any breaks in the game today,” said Goody, whose Coyotes received a solid outing from Stoddard. “Hats off to their pitcher, he’s a really good pitcher.”

Stoddard allowed only four hits but a leadoff walk and an error on a bunt in the sixth helped ignite the Yarmouth rally.

Goody shouldered the blame for the double play on which Hoogterp was gunned down at the plate.

“Just trying to be aggressive and make something happen,” Goody said, noting he had no choice the way Harnett was dealing.

“He does well mixing and matching and keeping guys off-balance,” Goody said. “He just did a great job mixing speeds.”

Being seeded ninth in Class B South never fazed Yarmouth, which is championship-tested after winning a state title in soccer last fall.

“We’ve come together as a team, coaches believed in us, we believed in each other and here we are,” said Harnett.

“They’re not afraid of the big stage,” Halsted said.

Neither was Harnett, who settled down after having to throw a lot of pitches over the first two innings.

“One of our mantras is ‘we don’t care,’” Halsted said. “Gibson balks, he doesn’t care. He’s going to continue to compete.”

Chris Romano was the game’s lone repeat hitter with two singles.

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