BANGOR, Maine — As Josiah Cyr watched his pitching opponent strike out the first seven batters he faced Wednesday night, he knew he’d have to elevate his own performance if Brewer was to capture the Class B North baseball championship.
His response was measured but borderline magnificent. The senior right-hander pitched a two-hitter to lift the second-ranked Witches past No. 1 Ellsworth 4-2 in the regional final at Mansfield Stadium.
“It definitely motivated me,” Cyr said of Ellsworth junior Conner Wagstaff’s overpowering start on the mound. “The big thing for me is consistency, and keeping my rhythm, keeping my cool and staying composed.
“Overall I think this is the best game I’ve thrown. They’re a good team, so I felt like I did really good.”
The title, in Brewer’s initial Class B season, is the first for the Witches since they captured the 2008 Eastern Maine Class A crown.
Coach Dana Corey’s club (14-5) returns to Mansfield Stadium to play Wells for the state title at 11 a.m Saturday.
“It’s awesome,” said Brewer shortstop Kobe Rogerson, one of only four seniors on the roster and the lone returning starter from the 2017 team. “I’ve been playing baseball with these guys my whole life, and this is a great way to end it.”
Ellsworth, which hadn’t lost a game since April 24, ends its season at 17-2.
Cyr, who pitched a four-hit shutout during Brewer’s 2-0 quarterfinal victory over John Bapst of Bangor, was just as controlled on the bigger stage.
He allowed only a first-inning single to Jared Hamilton and a bunt single by Jack Lee in the bottom of the sixth while striking out six batters, walking two and hitting two. He threw 104 pitches, 66 for strikes.
“He’s a tough kid, a fighter,” said Brewer catcher Andrew Kiley. “He just kept throwing strikes. He was able to hit the outside corner with his fastball and he was throwing the curveball well.”
Wagstaff finished with a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts — including the first seven batters he faced — and two walks. The right-hander threw 111 pitches, 76 for strikes.
Ellsworth broke on top against Cyr in the bottom of the first as Bradly Smith drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on two wild pitches before scoring on Jared Hamilton’s one-out single to right.
Wagstaff was perfect on the mound until issuing a one-out walk to Kaleb Bryant in the top of the third.
No. 9 hitter Hunter Russell then singled to center, and both Russell and Bryant moved up on a wild pitch before Rogerson drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly to right. Cyr gave Brewer a 2-1 lead with an RBI single to shallow right.
That marked the first time Ellsworth — which shut out its first two playoff foes — had trailed during the postseason.
Cyr made that lead stand up through the middle of the contest. At one point the senior right-hander retired eight straight batters and struck out the side in the bottom of the third.
“After he got through that first inning he settled into himself, went one pitch at a time and got in command of his pitches, working ahead and letting the defense take over,” said Corey.
Ellsworth did get two runners aboard with one out in the bottom of the fourth as Hamilton walked and Sam Horne was hit by a pitch, but Cyr got the next two batters on fielder’s choices to end the threat.
Brewer added to its lead in the top of the sixth, as Rogerson grounded a leadoff single through the shortstop hole and scored when catcher Andrew Kiley blasted a triple over Horne’s head in left field.
Levi Williamson followed with a fly ball down the left-field line that Horne — unsure if it would land fair or four — caught just in foul territory, and Kiley scored on the sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
Ellsworth, which had gone out 1-2-3 in three of the previous four innings, went the small-ball route to generate its biggest big-inning threat of the night in the bottom of the inning. But the Eagles managed just a single run.
Smith drew a leadoff walk for the Eagles, took second base on a wild pitch and reached third as Jack Lee beat out a bunt single.
Smith scored to make it 4-2 as Hamilton reached on an error, and the bases became loaded with still no one out when Horne was hit by a pitch.
But Cyr got Jackson Curtis to pop out to first base, and the Husson University-bound Rogerson flagged down Burnett’s ground ball up the middle, stepped on second base and threw to first for an inning-ending double play..
“I couldn’t have asked them to hit it to a better person as far as that’s concerned,” Corey said. “That’s no offense to the rest of our defense but when you’ve got your shortstop coming across the second base bag and throwing to first, that’s what you want.”