A rare sub-.500 campaign in 2019 and the loss of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 may have contributed to Bangor High School’s recent baseball success beginning to fade from memory.
But if the tradition-laden Rams ever truly left the championship scene, it wasn’t for long.
Coach Dave Morris’ program — winner of five consecutive Class A state titles from 2014 through 2018 — captured its sixth regional title in the last seven seasons high school baseball has been played in Maine with a 6-2 victory over Skowhegan at Morton Field in Augusta on Thursday.
Senior left-hander Bradley McLaughlin retired all 13 batters he faced in relief of starter Colton Trisch and Bangor rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring six runs on eight hits over its final three at-bats to capture the program’s sixth Class A North crown in the last seven seasons baseball has been played in the state.
The 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Keegan Cyr paced Bangor’s 10-hit attack with three singles, while Ryan Howard singled twice — one driving home two runs — and Ryan Howard also added a two-run single for coach Dave Morris’ club.
McLaughlin came on to relieve Trisch with two outs in the third inning after Skowhegan had taken a 2-0 lead and never allowed a runner to reach base as he induced 10 fly-ball outs to go with two groundouts and a single strikeout.
Bangor (14-6) advances to Saturday’s state final against the winner of Thursday night’s Class A South final between No. 1 Thornton Academy of Saco (16-3) and No. 6 South Portland (14-5).
The gold ball game is set for a 1 p.m. start at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.
Skowhegan ends its season with a 14-6 record, with three of the losses to Bangor.
Skowhegan struck first when Trisch experienced some wildness after striking out the first two batters he faced in the top of the third inning.
A walk to Tyler Annis, a wild pitch and a walk to Gage Morgan brought up cleanup batter Hunter McEwen, and the sophomore third baseman pulled a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line for a double that plated both baserunners to give the River Hawks a 2-0 lead.
That would be Skowhegan’s lone hit of the game.
McLaughlin came on to get the final out of the inning, the start of his 4 ⅓-inning shutout relief stint.
Green escaped a two-on, one-out threat by Bangor in the bottom of the inning, but the Rams reached the senior right-hander for three runs on four hits in the fourth to grab a 3-2 lead.
Cyr led off the inning by singling off home plate umpire Barry Fuller, who was stationed behind the pitcher’s mound.
McLaughlin then grounded an opposite-field single to left field, and Max Clark then sacrificed the runners to second and third bases.
Cyr scored as Trisch walked on a fourth-ball wild pitch, and Trisch then stole second base before scoring along with McLaughlin when Ryan Howard grounded a two-run single up the middle.
Bangor added an insurance run in the fifth, with Cyr again the catalyst. This time the junior shortstop hit a one-out single to left-center, then went to second as McLaughlin singled to left and scored when Clark reached on an infield error to make it 4-2.
Holmes added his two-run single an inning later after Howard hit a leadoff single and went to third as Ben Caron reached second base on a throwing error. Howard came up with two outs and lined an opposite-field hit to left-center as Bangor’s lead increased to 6-2.