BANGOR, Maine — Sam Huston’s two-run double in the sixth and Andrew Elston’s RBI single in the seventh propelled the Bangor all-stars by Bronco Little League of Hampden 3-2 in the District 3 Senior League baseball championship Tuesday night at Mansfield Stadium.
The victory secured a berth for Bangor in the Senior League World Series, which opens Sunday at Mansfield when the Bangor all-stars take on Canada, the first of four games on that day for the weeklong tourney, which concludes with the championship on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Bangor will be representing District 3 in the Senior League World Series for the eighth time since the event was moved to the Queen City in 2002, but for the first time in three years after Hampden in 2012 and Brewer in 2011.
Bangor’s last SLWS appearance came in 2010, when the local team reached the world championship game before falling to San Nicolas, Aruba.
Bangor coach Barrett Dionne said his team is “extremely happy of making the tourney. It’s good to be back,” he told Bangor radio station 92.9 FM The Ticket after the game.
“All of these kids have been dreaming of playing in this World Series. It’s unbelievable for them,’’ he added.
Eight of the players on the Bangor Senior League team were also key members on the Bangor Comrades American Legion team, which finished in the recent state tournament with a 4-2 record despite being one of the youngest squads in that field.
Bangor’s Legion tourney run ended Sunday with a 5-4 loss to eventual state champion Windham.
“This is a real good group,” Dionne said of his Senior League squad. “They’ve played a lot of baseball this summer. It’s been kind of a struggle [to find practice time], but we’re here now and it’s going to be a fun ride.”
Huston, who is also one of the Legion players, said it was a thrill to get the World Series berth.
“I grew up watching Bangor play. They’re a tough team to live up to, but we’ll try to do it,” he told The Ticket.
After Bronco took the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth, Bangor rallied for two runs in the top of the sixth. Andrew Hillier and Justin Courtney hit back-to-back two-out singles and scored on Huston’s two-run double to the gap in left-center field.
Bronco responded in the seventh when Gresley Langbein reached with one out on an infield throwing error. Nick Guerrette drew a two-out walk and then Michael Turner followed with an RBI single.
Bangor starter Trevor DeLaite reached the pitch limit of 95 and was replaced by Justin Courtney. Facing runners at first and third, Courtney induced a groundout to first to secure the victory for his team and earn a save.
DeLaite earned the win for Bangor as he was reached for two unearned runs while giving up five hits, walking two and striking out five in 6⅔ innings.
Bronco’s Tommy Farrar was the tough-luck losing pitcher as he pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits while not walking a batter and striking out two.
Bronco scored in the fifth when Langbein reached on a two-base outfield error and scored when Nick Guerrette reached on an infield error.
Huston also singled twice for Bangor and Hillier added two singles. Turner singled twice for Hampden.
“It was one of the most nerve-wracking games to be part of this year,” Huston told The Ticket. “There was so much on the line. It’s good to finally get into the World Series.”
Bangor was one of at least two teams to earn berths to the SLWS on Tuesday, as Martinez, Ga., won the U.S. Southeast regional by defeating Dumfries, Va., 3-1 in that championship game.
The Georgia team ended a three-year run of Florida teams representing the Southeast and is the first team from that state to qualify for the World Series since Cartersville, Ga., won the championship in 2007.
Martinez, Ga., will play its first SLWS game at 8 p.m. Sunday against the U.S. West representative.
Bangor and Martinez, Ga., are already joined in the 10-team field for the Senior League World Series by Makati City, Philippines (Asia-Pacific), Emilia, Italy (Europe & Africa) and Chitre, Herrera, Panama (Latin America).
The U.S. West and Southwest regions were scheduled to crown their champions later Tuesday evening with Canada, the U.S. Central and the U.S. East to determine their representatives later in the week.
Bangor (4-0) 000 002 1 — 3 8 3
Bronco (3-2) 000 010 1 — 2 5 1
DeLaite, Courtney (7) and Huston, Crichton (6); Farrar, Campbell (7) and Farmer