WESTBROOK — Westbrook advanced to the Western Class A baseball championship game for the third time in four seasons Monday, but it had play small ball to do it.

Scott Heath and Sam Stauble came through with sacrifice flies in the late innings as the No. 2 Blazes rallied to a 2-1 win against No. 6 Marshwood in a regional semifinal.

Westbrook will play top-seeded Cheverus for the regional title Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

The Blazes managed to get just four hits off Marshwood starter Jack Verrill.

“Their pitcher threw a great game,” Heath said. “He was mixing his pitches well. He was battling, and we were unable to put anything together off him. We had to play small ball to win it.”

Westbrook Coach Mike Rutherford wasn’t surprised about how effective Verrill was against his team. The hard-throwing righthander allowed one infield hit during the first four innings

“He pitched in relief against us early in the year,” Rutherford said. “I think he went three innings and struck out eight guys.”

Stauble, a sophomore first baseman, drove in the winning run when he flew out to center in the bottom of the sixth.

“I was just trying to put the ball into play and do my job,” he said. “That’s all you can try to do every time.”

Zack Gardiner started the game-winning rally by leading off with a double. Jake Gardiner moved pinch-runner Kaleb Kent to third with a sacrifice bunt before Stauble’s sacrifice fly.

“We don’t run real well,” Rutherford said. “We don’t steal bases. For us to advance guys from first to second, we need to bunt.”

The Hawks (12-6) took a 1-0 lead when Ben Claus led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Luke Fernandez’s infield hit.

Stauble led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and moved up a base on a one-out single by Joe Quinlan. He moved to third on Kyle Heath’s groundball into the shortstop hole when Marshwood’s Ken Kuzman was unable to find the third-base bag while trying to catch a quick throw from shortstop Fernandez for the forceout. Scott Heath then flew out to center to make 1-1.

Matt Wiemer, a senior right-hander, scattered six hits, striking out three and walking one, to pick up his fifth win in six starts.

The Hawks had a chance to put early pressure on the Blazes, but they ran into three outs during the first three innings.

In the first, Claus doubled with one out and was caught stealing third to end the inning.

In the second, Troy Pappas led off with a single and was caught in a rundown between second and third when Matt Brenner tried to bunt his way on to base after Verrill flew out to center.

In the third, Alex McLean failed to beat a perfect relay throw from Zack Gardiner for the third out of the inning while trying to stretch a single to deep left into a double.

“We’re going to run into outs early in a game,” Marshwood Coach Eric Fernandez said. “We’re going to try to press them. We’ve been doing it all year. We look good if we get it done.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH