BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Coffee News always will tout pitching and defense as the primary keys to success during its run of three American Legion baseball state championships in the past four years.
But as the Comrades attempt to add to that legacy this summer, the team’s offensive might has proven worthy of equal billing.
Coach Dave Morris’ club pounded out 17 hits late Monday afternoon as the top-ranked Comrades held off stubborn Quirk Motor City club 10-8 to remain undefeated and capture the Zone 1 Senior Legion championship at Husson University.
“Our pitching is so good right now, and we’re hitting so well right now, and our defense has always been there,” said shortstop Zach Ireland, who contributed two singles, a walk and an RBI for the 19-0 Comrades
Every starter in the Coffee News batting order had at least one hit, with Nos. 8 and 9 batters Andrew Kiley and Jack Corey leading the way with three hits and two runs scored apiece.
That duo was supported by two-hit games from Ireland, Tyler Parke, Noah Missbrenner and Zach Murray.
Parke struck the game’s biggest blow, a three-run triple to left field in the bottom of the third when the Comrades scored four runs to extend their lead to 8-2.
“As you get put in these situations so many times over and over, we trust everyone that’s out in the field and we trust everyone that’s on the bench,” Ireland said. “There’s a good mutual trust among everyone on the team that everyone is going to do their job.
“Baseball’s a game of failure but if you fail you know you’ve got someone right there who will pick you right up.”
While Coffee News had eight runs on 10 hits through the third inning, Quirk Motor City (9-11) never wavered.
The No. 3 seed in this year’s five-team tourney field after not fielding a team last summer, Quirk Motor City scored four runs in the top of the fourth to pull within 8-6, with Nick Swift contributing a two-run single to left after Nick Perfitt hit an RBI single and scored on Adam Sheehan’s double to right center.
Kiley and Corey hit RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth to make it 10-6, and while Quirk Motor City again pulled within two runs when Jake Ketch tripled home Sheehan in the top of the sixth and scored on Jeremy Richard’s groundout, Coffee News’ Karl Sund came on to pitch a scoreless seventh and earn the save.
“I told the guys before the game that Motor City wanted this as much as we did and when it comes down to it you just have to go out and play the game of baseball,” Morris said. “I think our guys did a good job of playing the game.”
Ketch, Sheehan and Cole Daniel each had two hits to pace Quirk Motor City’s 10-hit offense, with Daniel also driving home two runs with a single in the top of the first that gave his team an early 2-0 lead.
Missbrenner had RBI singles in each of the first two innings as Bangor Coffee News scored once in the bottom of the first and three runs in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
Bangor Coffee News, Quirk Motor City and the third-place R.H. Foster Riverdogs of Hampden all will represent Zone 1 in the eight-team state Senior Legion tournament that begins Saturday, also at Husson University.
Quirk Motor City will play in that tournament’s 10 a.m. opener against Zone 3 runner-up Coastal Landscape (Cheverus High School) of Portland. R.H. Foster will play at 1 p.m. against the Zone 2 champion, either Bessey Motors (Oxford Hills) of South Paris or Pastime of Lewiston, while Bangor Coffee News will open at 7 p.m. against the survivor of Thursday’s play-in game in Gorham between the runners-up from Zone 2 and Zone 3.
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