September 24, 2018
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Top-seeded teams to square off in regional baseball finals

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
In this 2017 photo, Ellsworth's Devin Grindle (left) celebrates after tagging Old Town's Jacob Ketch out at second.
By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

It’s hard to argue the veracity of the Heal Point system for ranking teams during the 2018 baseball season.

All four North region championship games set for Tuesday and Wednesday match the top two teams in the final regular-season Heal Points, as does the Class D South final.

In Class A, top-ranked Bangor (17-1) has won 18 consecutive postseason games and four straight state championships but will face a rival in No. 2 Oxford Hills (15-3) that has won the last two meetings between the teams.

The Vikings rallied past Bangor 8-5 in their lone regular-season game at South Paris on May 4 and scored a 5-0 victory in their recent Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship game in Bangor

Bangor did win its most recent postseason game against Oxford Hills, topping the Vikings 7-0 in last year’s semifinals.

Tuesday’s 5 p.m. regional final at Morton Field in Augusta figures to match the teams’ pitching aces in Bangor junior Zach Cowperthwaite (6-1) and Oxford Hills junior Colton Carson (5-0).

In Class B, No. 1 Ellsworth (17-1) separated itself from the North pack, winning its last 13 regular-season contests to finish nearly 45 Heal Points ahead of No. 2 Brewer (13-5).

The veteran Eagles, who reached the semifinals last year, feature two dominant junior pitchers in Penobscot Valley Conference pitcher and player of the year Matt Burnett and Connor Wagstaff. Wagstaff is expected to get the call against Brewer at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

Brewer, playing in Class B for the first time after dropping by enrollment from Class A, has lost just once to a Class B opponent this spring — a 4-2 home defeat against Ellsworth on May 17.

Coach Dana Corey’s Witches are expected to have senior Josiah Cyr (4-4) available to pitch against the Eagles.

In Class C, top-ranked Houlton (13-3) and No. 2 Mattanawcook Academy (12-6) meet for the third time this season after each won on the road on back-to-back days early in the regular season.

Mattanawcook won 6-0 at Houlton on April 30, with Houlton countering with a 7-6 victory at Lincoln the next day.

The rubber match is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mansfield Stadium.

The Class D North final marks a rematch from a year ago when Bangor Christian knocked off Fort Fairfield 9-3. This year Fort Fairfield is top seeded at 14-2 and riding a 12-game winning streak, while No. 2 Bangor Christian — the state champion in 2012, 2013 and 2014 — is 12-4.

Game time is 3 p.m. Wednesday at Mansfield Stadium.

In Class D South, No. 1 Searsport (12-6), the three-time defending state champion, lost four of its last five regular-season games against a rugged schedule. The Vikings have bounced back with double-digit postseason victories over Forest Hills of Jackman and Buckfield to advance to Wednesday’s 3 p.m. game at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

The Vikings face No. 2 Richmond (16-1) for the right to play in the state final for the second straight year after defeating the Bobcats 6-2 in last year’s D South title game.

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