Quirk Motor City capped off an unbeaten four-game run through the Senior American Legion baseball state tournament in dominant fashion Thursday, defeating Central Maine of Fairfield 10-0 in the championship game at Husson University in Bangor.
The Bangor-based team, which features players from as far north as Presque Isle and as far east as Jonesboro, was never really threatened in its final game after jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Quirk Motor City, the No. 3 seed from the state’s North division, improved its record to 18-3 and advances to the Northeast Regional that begins Wednesday at Fitton Field in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The Pine Tree State champion will play the Bay State champion, Beverly, Massachusetts, in the opening round.
Central Maine, the No. 2 seed in the North, finished its season at 18-5.
“We love playing underdog,” said Ryan Lincoln, who coaches Quirk Motor City with John Frye. “Not a lot of people expected us to be here but this group just battles hard and has great chemistry.”
Two recent graduates from reigning Class B state champion Old Town High School were the catalysts in the title-clinching victory, pitcher Matt Seymour and catcher Tanner Evans.
Seymour threw a complete-game four-hitter on 100 pitches, 63 of which went for strikes. The Thomas College-bound right-hander did not strike out a batter in his first pitching start of the tournament but relied on a defense that made all the necessary plays to keep the shutout intact.
“Just locating and trusting my defense, that’s what I’ve been doing for the whole year and all of my life, really,” he said. “To have a defense like this and a team like this definitely helps a lot.”
Seymour’s work on the mound was complemented by a 12-hit attack that featured Evans, the tournament MVP.
Evans had his second three-hit game in less than 24 hours against Central Maine, following up his two singles and a double in Wednesday’s 8-6 winners’ bracket victory with three hard-hit doubles, two runs scored and an RBI in the championship contest.
Evans drew an intentional walk in his only non-double at-bat and finished the tournament with a .750 batting average on 9-of-12 hitting with five doubles, four walks and two stolen bases. Overall, Evans reached base on 13 of his 16 plate appearances over four games and also pitched a 2-1 complete-game victory over the Bangor Comrades in Day 2 of the six-day event.
“Linc’s been telling us all tournament that the only thing that was going to beat us was ourselves,” said Evans, who will continue his baseball career at Husson University this fall. “Going in there and just playing our ball, that’s what we try to do all day long and it worked out today.”
Third baseman Silas Graham added two singles and an RBI for Quirk Motor City, which got hits from eight of the nine positions in its batting order.
Central Maine leadoff batter Jimmy Reed singled twice and was intentionally walked, while teammate Reid Gagnon had a first-inning double.
Seymour drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second inning and Casey Downs hit an opposite-field single to left to put runners on first and third. An errant throw as Downs stole second enabled Seymour to score the game’s first run and Downs to move to third.
Downs scored on a wild pitch, then Isaac Hayes walked and stole second, moved to third on Jack Mason’s single and scored the final run of the uprising on Joe DiAngelo’s groundout to give Quirk Motor City an early 3-0 advantage.
Evans bashed his second straight double to the left-center field gap to open the top of the third inning. He reached third on Graham’s groundout and scored to make it 4-0 on Seymour’s two-out single to left.
Central Maine had two hits off Seymour in the first inning, then did not get another hit until the bottom of the seventh as Seymour induced 11 ground-ball outs on the artificial turf.
Central Maine did load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and loaded the bases again in the sixth — both without the benefit of a hit — but Seymour induced inning-ending fly balls in both cases.
“Matt went out and just threw a gem today, he was tremendous,” Lincoln said. “He mixed and matched and kept them off balance.”
Quirk Motor City added six runs in the top of the seventh, with Evans hitting an RBI double and scoring on Graham’s single to center, and Joe DiAngelo adding a two-run single up the middle to cap off the uprising.
“Everybody was on fire today,” Seymour said. “A state championship, everybody loves to be part of it.”