HERMON, Maine — Garrett Trask pitched a three-hitter and Hermon’s aggressiveness on the basepaths helped trigger a five-run, fourth-inning rally Saturday afternoon as the second-ranked Hawks knocked off defending state champion Brewer 5-0 in a Class B North baseball semifinal.
The win advances coach Matt Kinney’s club (17-1) to Tuesday’s 3 p.m. regional final at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor against No. 1 Ellsworth, which defeated fourth-ranked Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 6-0 on Saturday.
Ellsworth (17-1) handed Hermon its lone regular-season defeat this spring, scoring four runs in the first inning en route to a 7-1 victory on May 23.
Hermon entered its game against Brewer (13-6) with a pitching depth advantage. The Hawks had earned a first-round bye before their quarterfinal win over Erskine Academy of South China on Friday while sixth-ranked Brewer not only played a preliminary-round game against Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft but needed 13 innings to outlast No. 3 Old Town 4-2 on Thursday.
Trask (5-0) made the most of that advantage.
The senior right-hander largely pitched to contact during his shutout performance, striking out three and walking three while inducing 12 ground-ball outs. He yielded two fly-ball outs to the outfield — one a diving catch by Wyatt Gogan in left-center field that robbed Brewer’s Zach Steiger of a hit to open the top of the second inning.
“I wasn’t throwing too hard, I was just trying to get it down the middle,” said Trask of his 95-pitch complete game. “Then the boys did the job on defense. The infield was awesome today and Gogan was great in center.”
Hermon played errorless defense behind Trask while Brewer committed three fielding miscues. All came in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Hawks sent nine batters to the plate to break through against Brewer right-hander Trevor Pearson for the game’s only runs.
Hermon added six hits to the uprising and its baserunning aggressiveness also played a role early in the inning.
Keith Pomeroy reached on an infield error, then stole second — Hermon’s 106th theft in 107 attempts this spring — and reached third base when the throw got away.
Adam Rush’s ground single inside the third-base line plated Pomeroy with the game’s first run, and Rush scored to make it 2-0 after back-to-back singles by Kent Johnson and River Mullen.
Trask sacrificed Mullen and Johnson to second and third, and both runners scored when sophomore Eli Reed lined an 0-2 fastball into left field for a single.
Reed went to second base on the throw home, then moved to third as Cody Hawes singled. He scored the game’s final run when Gogan tomahawked a high fastball to the left-center field fence for an RBI double.
“It was a little high but I was just trying to hit it straight,” Gogan said. “I had been popping it up in earlier games so I was just trying to get some solid contact.”
Trask protected that lead by not allowing a runner past first base over his final three innings, with all nine outs coming via strikeouts (two) or plays handled by the infield.
“It helped early that when the ball was put in play that guys made some tough plays,” Kinney said.
“When guys make plays for you it builds your confidence as a pitcher. Garrett threw a lot of strikes and they made some plays and it just kind of steamrolled,” added Kinney.
Seven different players contributed to the Hawks’ 10-hit attack, led by Gogan with two doubles and Mullen with two singles.
“With this year’s team we have a pretty strong, complete lineup,” Kinney said. “We’ve gotten production from everywhere and I think that by itself makes it pretty difficult for teams because there’s really no let-up.
“And we have a lot of good athletes who can run so we’ve been able to be aggressive. In a perfect world and that all comes together, you win some games.”