BANGOR, Maine — Nearly everyone in the Winkin Complex audience was anticipating a sacrifice bunt — except the player with the bat in his hand.
So when Logan Rogerson instead swung at the first pitch he saw with runners on first and second and no one out in the top of the ninth inning Friday night, the contact was not only surprising, but decisive.
His line-drive triple to the right-center field gap brought both the tying and go-ahead runs all the way home, propelling the Brewer Falcons past top-ranked Bangor 6-5 in a winners’ bracket game of the American Legion Zone 1 baseball tournament.
With the win coach Darrell Pluard’s club became the first of two teams that will represent the zone at the state Legion tournament that begins Wednesday, also on the campus of Husson University.
Third-seeded Brewer (15-5 overall and 2-0 in tourney play) also advanced directly to Sunday’s 1 p.m. Zone 1 championship round needing just one more victory to win the double-elimination tournament. The Falcons will face the winner of Saturday’s 7 p.m. elimination game between Bangor and second-seeded Trenton, a 5-3 winner over Motor City in Friday’s earlier game.
Bangor (17-3) had taken a 5-2 lead over Brewer with a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth, an uprising highlighted by a tiebreaking two-run triple by Andrew Hillier followed by Sam Huston’s RBI double.
Brewer got a run back in the seventh when Dylan Birmingham dribbled a leadoff infield hit down the third-base line and scored two outs later when Chase Allen skied a fly ball that landed just inside fair territory down the right-field line for an RBI triple.
Jeff Weeks chased Bangor starter Trevor DeLaite with a leadoff triple to right center in the top of the eighth, and Weeks scored to make it 5-4 on a one-out groundout by Carter DeRedin off Hillier.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Maguire walked to open the Brewer ninth, and pinch-runner Dylan Soper advanced to second when Greg Warmuth beat out a bunt single.
With Bangor’s defense playing for another bunt to advance the runners to second and third, Rogerson — Brewer’s No. 9 batter and the only Falcons’ starter yet to have a hit — drilled a first-pitch fastball where no Bangor outfielder could reach it, driving home both Soper and Warmuth to give the Falcons a 6-5 lead.
Righthander Kyle Alexander, who pitched six innings Wednesday in Brewer’s tournament-opening 11-2 victory over Trenton, came on to work a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to earn the save for Galen Williamson, who worked two innings of scoreless relief to get the victory.
Warmuth, Birmingham and Matt Pushard each had two hits to pace Brewer’s 12-hit offense, while Weeks, Rogerson and Allen each tripled.
Hillier tripled and singled with three RBIs for Bangor, while Hunter Boyce singled twice and Huston, Kyle Stevenson and Ryan Brookings each doubled as part of the Comrades’ eight-hit offense.
Brewer used four singles to take a 2-0 lead in top of the second inning.
Brendan Moore hit a leadoff single to center and was sacrificed to second base by DeRedin. Pushard grounded a single through the shortstop hole to advance Moore to third, then Birmingham and Warmuth hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Falcons the early advantage.
Brewer had a chance to break the game open in the top of the fourth after Moore drew a leadoff walk and DeRedin reached on an infield error. Pushard then singled sharply to center but Brookings gunned down Moore at the plate. Moments later Boyce, the Bangor catcher, caught DeRedin leaning too far away from second base, setting in motion a 2-6-5 pickoff play.
And when DeLaite retired Birmingham on a pop-out to shortstop, the Brewer threat was squandered.
Bangor capitalized on that turn of fortunes in the bottom of the inning as Stevenson grounded a one-out double down the left-field line and scored on a two-out, opposite-field single by Hillier that closed the gap to 2-1.
Bangor tied the game an inning later. Boyce grounded a leadoff single to left, then went to second as Ben Crichton put down a sacrifice bunt and ended up reaching first on an error.
A sacrifice by Brookings advanced the runners to second and third before Boyce scored as Johnny Cote grounded out to third base.
In Friday’s first game, Trenton was held hitless through 6⅔ innings by Motor City righthander Jackson Coutts before Dylan Collin singled to break up the no-hitter.
Hank Vinall then was hit by a pitch before Will Ricker tripled both runners home and scored on a throwing error at the end of the play to give the Acadians a 4-2 lead.
Shawn Curran’s RBI double in the top of the eighth cut Motor City’s deficit to one run, but Trenton got that back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI triple by Tony Bianco.
Ricker and Jon Phelps combined to pitch a six-hitter for Trenton, while Coutts allowed just four hits before giving way to Ryan Jurgevich in the eighth inning.
Coutts singled twice for Motor City, which ended its season with an 8-13 record.
Friday’s First Game:
Motor City 110 000 010 — 3 6 2
Trenton 100 000 31x — 5 4 1
Coutts, Jurgevich (8) and Young; Ricker, Phelps (7) and Collin, Looke (8)
Friday’s Second Game:
Brewer 020 000 112 — 6 12 1
Bangor 000 113 000 — 5 8 1
Weeks, Williamson (7), Alexander (9) and DeRedin; DeLaite, Hillier (8) and Boyce