One Cinderella story, one traditional power, one special year and one sudden champion describe the Western Maine participants in Saturday’s high school baseball state finals.
The Cinderella story is in Class A, where the Biddeford Tigers rose from being out of playoff consideration with one game left in the regular season to regional champions for the first time in 14 years.
Coach Casey Roy’s club clinched the No. 7 seed in Western A only after upsetting then No. 1 Bonny Eagle of Standish on the final day of the season.
The Tigers (12-7) then defeated No. 2 Scarborough 8-1 in 11 innings and No. 6 Windham 7-2 before upending preseason favorite and fourth-ranked Westbrook 8-6 in eight innings Tuesday to win the Western A crown.
Lefthander Travis Fleurent, this year’s Travis Roy Award winner as the state’s top high school hockey player, pitched a complete game for the Biddeford in the regional final.
Either he or Tyler Audie is likely to get the call in Saturday’s noon state final against Oxford Hills of South Paris at Mahaney Diamond on the campus of Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.
Biddeford is the first team from York County to represent Western Maine in the Class A state final since Sanford defeated Oxford Hills 9-1 in 2002. The Tigers won their only state championship with a 10-2 win over Brewer in 1984.
The traditional power to represent Western Maine in the state finals is Class B Cape Elizabeth.
The Capers (18-1) haven’t won it all since defeating Hermon 6-2 in 2004, but have 10 Class B championships to their credit since winning for the first time in 1974. Coach Chris Hayward’s club is back in the state final for the second time in three years, having lost to Gardiner 10-0 in 2008.
Cape Elizabeth rolled to the top ranking in Western B this spring with a 17-1 record before battling through a tightly contested regional tournament. The Capers defeated No. 8 Oak Hill of Sabattus 3-0 in the quarterfinals, then eliminated defending state champion Greely of Cumberland Center 4-3 in an eight-inning semifinal.
Cape avenged its only loss by topping No. 2 Yarmouth 5-1 in Wednesday’s regional final, using a three-run triple by designated hitter Kyle Danielson in the sixth inning to break the game open.
The Capers had split two games with Yarmouth during the regular season. With ace Conor Moloney unable to pitch against Waterville in Saturday’s 11 a.m. state final at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor because he pitched a complete game in the WM final, Cape is likely to turn to junior Rob Macdonald against the Purple Panthers.
Macdonald most recently had a solid six-inning outing in the semifinal win over Greely.
The special year among the Western Maine champions belongs to Class C Dirigo of Dixfield.
The Cougars will be playing in their third state championship game in as many sports seasons when coach Dave Lafleur’s club faces Calais in a 5 p.m. start at Saint Joseph’s College.
Dirigo defeated Foxcroft Academy 37-20 last fall to win its first football title since the 1970s, then reached the Class C basketball final for the second straight year before falling to Washington Academy of East Machias 70-58.
Now the Cougars are after their first state title in baseball after knocking off defending champion St. Dominic of Auburn 6-4 in Tuesday’s regional title game.
Dirigo (17-2) features Mountain Valley Conference North player of the year Ryan Lafleur, who improved his pitching record to 8-0 with the win against St. Dominic. He is joined by Arik Fenstermacher and Eric Bolduc on a pitching staff that produced eight shutouts during the regular season.
Top-seeded in Western C, Dirigo defeated No. 8 Old Orchard Beach 9-3 and No. 4 North Yarmouth Academy 3-1 before defeating St. Dominic behind two doubles and three RBIs from Tyler Chiasson.
The sudden champion is Class D Richmond, which trailed Greenville 1-0 with one out in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Western Maine final until two runs scored on one squeeze bunt by Mike King to give the top-ranked Bobcats a dramatic 2-1 victory.
That gave Richmond its third regional title in as many sports seasons during the 2009-10 school year, but the Bobcats will be seeking their first state crown during that span after falling to Bangor Christian 2-1 in the soccer state final and to Schenck of East Millinocket 65-43 in the basketball state championship game.
Coach Ryan Gardner’s club (14-4) drew a bye in the first round of the Western D playoffs — Western D has just seven teams in baseball, four of which advanced to postseason play.
The Bobcats then topped No. 4 Forest Hills of Jackman 12-2 in the semifinals before edging a Greenville team they had split two games with during the regular season.
Richmond is back in the state final for the second straight year, having lost to Deer Isle-Stonington 5-4 in last year’s final, and will be after its first state crown since 1996 when it squares off against Central Aroostook of Mars Hill in Saturday’s 3 p.m. state final in Bangor.