AUGUSTA, Maine — Reid Nutter and two relievers combined to pitch a five-hitter and the Messalonskee of Oakland offense pounded out 14 hits to overpower Lewiston 13-2 in the Eastern Maine Class A baseball final at Morton Field on Tuesday.
The regional crown was the first for the fourth-ranked Eagles since winning the Western B title in 1973. Coach Ray Bernier’s club, now 14-5 and the winner of its last nine games, will play for the state title at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish on Saturday against the winner of Tuesday night’s Western A final between defending state champion Cheverus of Portland and Scarborough.
Second-ranked Lewiston, the defending Eastern A champion, ends its season with a 15-4 record.
Messalonskee broke on top with an unearned run in the top of the first inning and never trailed in avenging a 9-2 loss to Lewiston on April 20.
The Eagles took a 3-0 lead in the third inning on Travis St. Pierre’s two-out, two-run double, then broke the game open against Lewiston starter Corbin Hyde with three more runs in the top of the fourth, a rally highlighted by an RBI double by freshman Zach Mathieu followed by an RBI single by Josh Woodard.
Devin Warren’s RBI single in the the fifth made it 7-0 before Lewiston finally broke through with an unearned run in the bottom of the inning, as Alex Small walked, went to third on an errant pickoff throw and scored on an infield hit by Nate Berube.
But Messalonskee freshman Jake Dexter hit a two-run double to center in the sixth inning, then hit another two-run double to left in the seventh two batters after Woodard had singled home two runs to extend the Eagles’ lead to 13-1.
Nutter (6-2) allowed three hits while walking five and striking out four in 4 ⅓ innings before giving way to Pat Breton, who got out of a first-and-third, one-out situation in the fifth unscathed and used a double-play grounder fielded by shortstop Sam Dexter to retire Lewiston without incident in the sixth.
Jake Dexter then worked the seventh for the Eagles, yielding one unearned run.
Warren and No. 9 hitter Gage Landy each had three hits for Messalonskee, while Dexter had two doubles, four RBIs and two runs scored from the leadoff spot in the order. St. Pierre had three RBIs with a double and a sacrifice fly, while Woodard singled twice, drove home three runs and scored twice.
Berube singled twice and drove home both of Lewiston’s runs, while Eddie Emerson added a double.
Hyde, who had thrown 131 pitches in a complete-game quarterfinal victory over Brewer last Thursday, did not record an out in the fourth inning of his second playoff start. The senior lefthander (5-2) allowed five runs — four earned — on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.