BREWER, Maine — The Brewer 11-12-year-old all-stars are riding to Augusta for the state tourney on Josiah Cyr’s walk-off RBI single after defeating Bronco Little League 5-4 at Harry Dalton Field for the District 3 Little League baseball title Tuesday.
After falling behind 4-0 in the top of the first inning, Brewer pitcher Evan Andrews didn’t give up another run the rest of the way as his team’s offense clawed its way back in the final three innings before Cyr’s game-winning hit.
Brewer plays Saco at 4 p.m. Friday in the first round of the state tournament.
“[Andrews] threw 30 pitches in the first inning and ended the game with about 70,” said Brewer manager Randy Baker. “From inning two through six he was efficient. He tried to throw first-pitch strikes and keep the pitch count down.”
Sam Economy of Bronco reached first on an error to start the first-inning rally, and Derek Gendreau and Nick Lorenzo singled to load the bases. Gavin Partridge walked to drive in Economy while Kent Oliver and Deakin Dow hit RBI singles. Partridge scored the fourth run on a passed ball.
Gendreau led Bronco, which includes players from Hampden, Newburgh and Winterport, with two singles and a run scored.
After a quick first couple of innings, Brewer loaded the bases in the third inning but couldn’t get a runner across. Baker told his team to maintain a good attitude to have a chance at turning the game around.
“We told the kids to keep the bench up, keep their heads in the game and the bats will come alive eventually,” he said. “Our kids went out and got one [run] at a time. We couldn’t try to get them all back at once.”
Bryce Largay of Brewer provided the spark the team needed to come back when he hit the ball to the right-field fence and he landed on third base. A Marty Hughes sacrifice fly drove in Largay for Brewer’s first run.
Bronco’s Economy walked to start the fifth inning and Evan Thomas reached on a single, and after a passed ball, Brewer faced a jam with two runners on and nobody out. Andrews struck out three batters in a row to get out of the inning.
“We just couldn’t get the key hit,” said Bronco manager Pete Economy. “In the fifth inning we had runners on first and second with no outs and couldn’t get a runner in and the last inning we couldn’t get the run in. We just needed one more hit.”
Brewer tacked on two more in the fifth inning after Kobe Rogerson and Cyr hit back-to-back singles to put two on with one out. After Cyr hit Rogerson to third and stole second, Andrews hit an RBI groundout to drive in Rogerson, and Zack Steiger drove in Cyr with an RBI single to cut Bronco’s lead to 4-3.
Rogerson paced Brewer with two singles, a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
Ethan Quimby of Bronco reached third base with one out in the top of the sixth after a Brewer throwing error and the ball going out of play. Andrews struck out the next batter and got the following batter to pop-out to maintain the 4-3 score.
Andrews pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking two.
Economy replaced Bronco starting pitcher Lorenzo in the sixth after Lorenzo pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.
“[Lorenzo] pitched great. We’re going to ride him through; he’s a 12-year-old, give him his due,” Bronco manager Economy said.
C.J. Horr led off the sixth for Brewer with a single and took second on a passed ball. Rogerson drove in Horr with an RBI double, setting up Cyr’s game-winning RBI single to give Brewer the 5-4 win.
“We’re very excited. This same team, eight or 10 of these same kids two years ago won the district championship at the 9-10 level,” Baker said.
Economy said his team was happy to make it this far and looks forward to next season.
“They’re young, we have eight 11-year-olds. We surprised ourselves, we didn’t expect to get this far. We battled all season and we’re building for next year,” he said.