Jack Gardner hit a two-run double and scored on Casey Boudreau’s single in the fifth inning as Shrewsbury (Massachusetts) Post 97 rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Bangor Coffee News Comrades in an elimination game of the American Legion baseball Northeast regional tournament Saturday.
The game, originally scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. start, didn’t begin until late afternoon because of inclement weather and was shortened from nine innings to seven innings after being moved to an auxiliary field in the area.
Shrewsbury, now 3-1 in the regional, advanced to the final day of the eight-team, double-elimination event. The Massachusetts team faces Stamford, Connecticut, in a 1 p.m. elimination game Sunday, with the winner to face unbeaten Braintree, Massachusetts, for the right to advance to the American Legion World Series that begins Aug. 10 in Shelby, North Carolina.
Bangor Coffee News ended its summer with a 20-8 record that includes a 9-4 postseason finish overall, its third state championship in four years and a 2-2 effort and fourth-place finish at the regional.
“I think in years past you’d get down here and the kids would play really hard but you just knew in the back of your mind there were a couple of teams that were probably much ahead of us,” said Bangor Coffee News coach Dave Morris, whose team compiled a 1.80 earned run average and a tournament-best .344 batting average during the Northeast regional.
“We didn’t feel that way this year. We really competed with the other teams, we really matched up well. Whether the pitch-(count) rule was an equalizer for every team, I don’t know, but there was nobody head and shoulders ahead of us.”
Bangor Coffee News jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Shrewsbury pitcher Adam Twitchell.
The Comrades scored an unearned run in the second inning as Zach Cowperthwaite walked, Zach Murray singled, and Cowperthwaite scored when Zach Ireland’s grounder to second was misplayed.
The Comrades then got a solo home run from Zone 1 player of the year Ethan Stoddard in the third inning.
But Twitchell shut Bangor Coffee News out the rest of the way, and Shrewsbury got all the runs it needed to take the lead in the fifth inning.
After a walk and a single by David Turco, Gardner blasted his game-tying double to the gap in left-center field. Two batters later, Boudreau rapped a sharp two-out single off the shortstop’s glove to drive home Gardner from second base with the go-ahead run.
Bangor did threaten in the seventh inning as Ryan Brookings singled and was sacrificed to second by Tyler Parke, but Twitchell retired the next two batters to end the game.
Stoddard homered and singled for Bangor Coffee News, while Cowperthwaite doubled and Brookings, Ben Crichton and Noah Missbrenner each singled.
Cowperthwaite pitched the first six innings for the Comrades, with Missbrenner working a scoreless seventh.
“We made some great plays the whole game,” Morris said. “It was the same way for both sides. We hit the ball at people, they hit balls at us, and we had our opportunity at the end.”