WESTBROOK – Scott Heath showed Friday why he was voted the most valuable player in the Telegram League.

Heath, a left-hander, pitched a three-hitter and delivered a two-run double in the third inning to lead fourth-seeded Westbrook to a 4-0 victory against fifth-ranked South Portland in a Western Class A quarterfinal at Olmsted Field.

Westbrook (12-5), which lost 2-0 to South Portland (11-6) two weeks ago and also in last season’s quarterfinals, will play top-ranked Deering at 1 p.m. today at Hadlock Field.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Heath. “This is what we want. We have to put some good at-bats together and give our starting pitcher support. Whoever hits will be the team that wins.”

Heath struck out the final three batters and had eight strikeouts for the game.

Westbrook took two innings to get to South Portland starter Andrew Richards, who has been effective by keeping the ball low with a lot of movement.

In the third, Heath capitalized on a Richards mistake to drill an opposite-field double to a wide-open left field. The defense was shifted to account for Heath’s penchant to pull.

“I was looking for a pitch I could drive and their pitcher left one up and out,” said Heath. “I put a good swing on it.”

After Richards got the first two batters on groundouts, Joe Quinlan singled between third and short. Sam Stauble beat out an infield hit with Quinlan alertly going to third. Heath drove in both runners with his double. Heath then scored when Sean Murphy’s line drive to center was misplayed.

The Blazes added their fourth run on a squeeze in the sixth as pinch-runner Keenen Lowe scored easily.

“When Scott Heath got the double, that was the ball game,” said Westbrook Coach Mike Rutherford.

“The way he was throwing, the game was really over. His selection as league MVP was an obvious choice. When he’s on, he’s the best around.”

South Portland Coach Tony DiBiase said the game came down to Westbrook getting the key hit and not his team.

“We had the same situation but didn’t come through. Westbrook had only one inning, too,” he said.

The Riots loaded the bases with one out in the second with the heart of their lineup up. Heath then struck out Ryan Curit and Jon DiBiase.

“I challenged them with the fastball,” said Heath. “I got a quick strikeout on the first hitter and struck out the second on an inside fastball. I was hitting all my spots and I had a commanding fastball, which set up my curveball.”

After struggling at times during the regular season, Westbrook could be finding the form that was predicted in the preseason.

“You definitely want to be playing your best at this time of the season,” said Heath. “We’re swinging the sticks, getting good pitching and playing defense.”

South Portland got a hit off Heath in the first inning and then two in the second, but was held hitless the rest of he way.

“Heath is very good,” said DiBiase. “It was basically Heath, and us not taking advantage of our one chance.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]