The Bangor High School baseball team’s offensive balance was on full display during Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 win over Edward Little of Auburn in their Class A North semifinal at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
On a day in which the top five hitters in the Bangor lineup combined to go 1-for-14, the bottom half of the order got the job done, going 5-for-8 with three walks, four runs scored and four runs batted in.
The bottom of the order produced the two runs that broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning.
Fifth seed Bangor (13-6) takes on No. 6 Skowhegan (14-5) in Tuesday’s 5 p.m. regional championship game at Morton Field in Augusta.
Bangor beat Skowhegan twice during the regular season, 9-2 and 8-7.
Eighth seed Edward Little wound up 11-7.
Max Clark, the No. 6 hitter in the Bangor order, triggered the decisive sixth-inning rally. He ripped reliever Alex Avila’s first pitch over left fielder Jack Keefe’s head for a double.
“I was just sitting on fastballs and he threw me one down the middle,” Clark said.
Center fielder Colton Trisch, a left-handed hitter, followed by ripping a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left-center field for a run-scoring triple.
“He threw me a fastball on the outer half of the plate. I knew I could drive it so I slapped it the other way,” Trisch said.
One out later, No. 9 hitter Luke Missbrenner drove in Trisch with a sacrifice fly to right.
“I was just trying to hit the ball to the right side to get the runner in and I was able to get the ball in the air,” Missbrenner said.
First baseman Missbrenner may have saved a potential go-ahead run in the top of the sixth when he scooped second baseman Brayden Caron’s low throw out of the dirt to complete an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play.
EL had runners on first and second with one out at the time.
“I was trying to keep the ball in front of me to keep the runners from advancing,” Missbrenner said.
“That was a huge double play. That gave us momentum,” said Bangor winning pitcher Bradley McLaughin.
Clark said the team knows everyone has the ability to deliver at the plate.
“We know we are strong one through nine in the lineup,” Clark said.
“We’re balanced. It was a team effort. It was a great team win,” Bangor coach Dave Morris said.
“Bangor was able to string some hits together at the end and make some plays. But I’m very proud of our team,” Edward Little coach Dave Jordan said. “We didn’t hit our spots [pitching] to the bottom of their order.”
EL took a 1-0 lead in the second on Patrick Anthoine’s single, a sacrifice and a double by Will Cassidy on a ball that was in the glove of Bangor left fielder Matt Holmes but became dislodged when he collided with center fielder Connor Prouty.
Prouty wound up leaving the game but he walked off on his own.
Bangor answered with two runs in the bottom of the second. A one-out walk, Clark’s hit-and-run single through the vacated shortstop hole and a walk loaded the bases.
No. 8 hitter Ryan Howard’s sharp, line-drive RBI single through the box past pitcher Campbell Cassidy and a bases-loaded walk to Missbrenner plated the runs.
The gritty Red Eddies tied it in the third on a walk, singles by Clay Robbins and Colin Merritt and Anthoine’s sacrifice fly. Bangor restored its one-run lead in the fourth on Howard’s two-out single, a stolen base and two wild pitches.
The Eddies again answered in the fifth on Campbell Cassidy’s single and Anthoine’s two-out double over Holmes’ head.
Lefty McLaughlin went the distance for the win. He allowed eight hits and three runs with two walks, a hit batsman and two strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 62 for strikes.
“I was a little bit up and down but I thought I threw the ball pretty decent,” sad McLaughlin, who featured a fastball and a curve. “I tried to keep the ball down.”
Clark’s double and single, Howard’s two singles and Trisch’s triple paced the Rams.
Anthoine’s double, two singles, sacrifice fly and two RBIs led the Red Eddies.
Campbell Cassidy, also a lefty, allowed three runs on three hits over four innings with five walks and three strikeouts. Righty Avila took the loss after allowing three hits and two runs in two innings.