Crane pitches Dexter past Orono, into Eastern Maine Class C final|
ORONO, Maine — Matt Crane and Dylan Graffam combined on a one-hitter Saturday afternoon, setting the tone for fourth-seeded Dexter’s 6-0 Eastern Maine Class C baseball victory over top-seeded Orono at Mahaney Diamond.
Coach Chad Graffam’s Tigers (13-5) advance to Tuesday’s 7 p.m. regional championship game against No. 3 Calais, a 12-5 winner over Mattanawcook Academy on Saturday.
The Red Riots close out the season at 13-5.
Crane, who pitched three innings in Thursday’s 11-inning quarterfinal win over Bucksport, shut out Orono for 5 1/3 innings. He allowed only a third-inning single to Conor McKaig, but was lifted after walking the bases loaded with one out in the sixth.
Batterymate and classmate Graffam came on and struck out each of the five batters he faced to preserve the shutout and the victory.
Crane, who improved to 2-1, finished with four strikeouts and six walks.
Trevor Fogarty propelled the Dexter offense with three hits, including a two-run triple in the fourth inning, and scored twice. Graffam laced a run-scoring double and Ryan Wilks posted a single and scored two runs.
Orono demonstrated some patience while working the six walks, but lined into a double play in the third inning and wound up stranding six baserunners in the contest.
Red Riots starter Bryce Mehnert (4-1) was in trouble from the outset.. He often found himself behind in the count and lasted only 2 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and walked three with two strikeouts.
Dominic Mowrer worked the last 4 2/3 innings, but was touched up for four runs in the fourth inning.
Dexter took the lead for good in the second inning. Crane stroke a hard single through the left side, then Brandon Spratt fisted an infield single to the shortstop hole.
Crane took third on a wild pitch and Spratt stole second on the next pitch, before Jacob Sinclair delivered an RBI groundout or the only run the Tigers would need.
Dexter added a run in the third on Wilks’ single to center, a bunt single by Fogarty, Casey Jordan’s sacrifice bunt and back-to-back walks to Graffam and Crane (RBI) that spelled the end for Mehnert.
Mowrer pitched out of the jam when Spratt popped up a squeeze bunt on which third baseman Mehnert made a diving play, then raced to third to double Fogarty off third base.
The Tigers took control in the fourth when Jared MacDonald walked, Sinclair was hit by a pitch and Vinny Malinauskas bunted his way on. Wilks then reached on a fielder’s choice bunt back to the mound.
Dom Mowrer got the force at home plate, but MacDonald’s slide disrupted catcher Ethan Halls’ throw to first, which sailed high but was backed up by second baseman Justin White. Sinclair alertly raced hom with a run.
Fogarty followed by lining a two-run triple over the head of left fielder Cameron Mowrer and Jordan added a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.
The Tigers added a run in the seventh on Graffam’s RBI double to score Fogarty (leadoff single).