BANGOR, Maine — Jeff Weeks pitched a six-hit shutout and Matt Morrow drove in two runs and scored a third as No. 3 Brewer knocked off top-seeded Bangor 3-0 in a winners’ bracket game of the double-elimination American Legion Zone 1 baseball tournament Wednesday at Husson University.
The win sends the Falcons (15-8) to Thursday’s championship round needing just one win to earn the zone title and advance directly to next week’s state tournament in Augusta.
The the Zone 1 runner-up also will earn a spot in a state tourney play-in game against Zone 4 runner-up Gorham at 3 p.m. Saturday, also in Augusta.
“We’re just looking to take every game one at a time and see what we can do with it,” said Weeks, a recent Brewer High School graduate who will study civil engineering at the University of Maine in the fall. “It should be a fun ride.”
Brewer, 2-0 in tourney play, will play Bangor (22-2 overall, 2-1 tourney) again at 4 p.m. Thursday, with an if-necessary game to follow.
The Comrades stayed alive with a 12-3 win over No. 2 Hampden in Wednesday night’s elimination game after Hampden ousted No. 5 Penquis 10-7 in the second contest.
Weeks required just 106 pitches to finish his nine-inning effort against Bangor. The right-hander had three strikeouts and one walk and never faced more than four batters in any inning.
“I finally got my curveball back because I had taken such a long break between my high school team and Legion that I kind of lost my feel for it,” he said. “But that came back today, and I’ve been working on a cutter recently and I was able to use that effectively at times as well.”
Weeks yielded a double and five singles, but never more than one hit in an inning. All the hits came after there were two outs — as did his lone walk.
The only hint of a threat against him came in the eighth, when Carl Farnham drew a two-out walk before Justin Courtney launched a 400-foot drive to the warning track in center field that Brewer’s Kyle Alexander tracked down.
Courtney pitched a complete game for Bangor, scattering 10 hits while striking out 13, walking no one and hitting a batter. Like Weeks, he had errorless defense played behind him.
“Justin’s a great pitcher, he had a heck of a game today,” said Morrow. “It was a pitchers’ battle out there all the way through.”
The right-hander struck out nine during the first 3⅔ innings alone — including seven in a row at one point — before Brewer broke the scoreless deadlock in the top of the fifth.
Morrow led off by beating out a slow roller down the third-base line. He was sacrificed to second by Ben Pushard and scored when Chase Allen served a two-out RBI single to left.
Brewer used four straight hits leading off its sixth inning to extend the lead to three runs.
Nick Moore and Tony Bissell each singled to left, and Logan Rogerson loaded the bases as he reached first safely on a sacrifice attempt when no Bangor defender covered first base.
Morrow followed with a single to right to plate Moore and Bissell. And while Bangor averted further damage after Farnham, the third baseman, turned a pop bunt by Pushard into a double play, Brewer already had all the offense it needed.
“I got down in the count pretty quick and then got some pitches I could foul off until I finally got a fastball I could hit,” said Morrow. “I just kept my swing short and pushed it into right field.
“The bases were loaded with no outs so I knew I just had to get the ball in play to get a run in so I shortened my swing and it got through and I was happy with that.”
Moore doubled and singled for the Falcons, while Allen, Rogerson and Morrow singled twice each.
Courtney’s sixth-inning double was Bangor’s lone extra-base hit.
Bangor 12, Hampden 3
Bangor scored four runs in the bottom of the first and six runs in the fourth inning to earn its trip to the championship round.
Lefty Trevor DeLaite pitched a seven-hitter and was backed by an errorless defense and 12-hit offense.
DeLaite, Sam Huston (3 RBIs), Farnham, Andrew Hillier (2 RBIs) and Curtis Worcester (2 RBIs) each had two singles for Bangor.
Shawn Smith paced Hampden with a double and two singles.
Huston and Worcester had back-to-back RBI singles in the first inning to help Bangor build a 4-0 lead.
Hampden (17-7) scored its runs in the top of the fourth to draw within 4-3 as Matt Palmer was hit by a pitch and Smith, Justin Kasprzak and Andrew Giosia followed with consecutive RBI doubles.
Bangor answered with six runs in the bottom of the inning for a 10-3 lead, an uprising highlighted by Hillier’s two-run single and RBI hits from Farnham, Justin Courtney and Worcester.
Hampden 10, Penquis 7
Hampden scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to regain the lead, then erupted for five runs in the sixth to take command.
Justin Kasprzak led the River Dogs’ 10-hit attack with a solo home run, a two-run double and a single, and he also was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth.
Spencer Hartsgrove added three singles for Hampden, while Patrick Later doubled with two RBIs.
Brandon Spratt tripled and singled with two RBIs for 11-13 Penquis, while Hunter Law tripled and singled and Caleb Richard (3 runs scored) and Dylan Graffam each singled twice for the Navigators.
Penquis grabbed a 4-3 lead with two runs in the top of the fifth, but Hampden regained the lead in the bottom of the inning as Matt Martin drove home a run with a sacrifice fly and the go-ahead run scored on an error.
After Gardner held Penquis scoreless in the top of the sixth, Hampden moved out to a 10-4 lead with a two-run single by Hartsgrove and an RBI double by Later the key hits.