STANDISH – Cheverus won its first Western Class A baseball title Wednesday with a familiar script:

Pitching, defense and timely hitting.

In their drive to the regional title, the Stags allowed two runs in the quarterfinals, two in the semifinals and now this gem.

Left-hander Harry Ridge scattered five hits and knocked in a run with a double in the fourth inning as top-ranked Cheverus beat second-seeded Westbrook 2-0 at St. Joseph’s College.

Cheverus (17-2) will play Lewiston (18-1) for the state title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Morton Field in Augusta.

The last Cheverus team to win the Telegram League was the undefeated 1961 club. There were no state playoffs until 1970.

In what may be a first in Western Class A, Cheverus owns regional titles in football, basketball and baseball in the same school year. The football team also won the state title.

“Giving up two runs in the first two tournament games and no runs in the regional final shows the character of this team,” said Cheverus Coach Mac McKew.

“What a competitor Harry Ridge is. His heart is that big,” added McKew, holding his hands apart.

It was the third meeting in 16 days between the rivals. Cheverus held the Blue Blazes to two runs in the first two games — the regular-season finale and the Telegram League title game, both in eight innings.

“We’re a resilient team,” said McKew.

Ridge, a junior, mixed a fastball, curve and cutter. Westbrook (16-3) had chances but couldn’t come up with the key hit.

“Give Ridge credit, he made the pitches,” said Westbrook Coach Mike Rutherford. “Sean Murphy pitched a heck of a game for us.”

The Blazes lost for the second straight year in the regional final.

Asked if a healthy Scott Heath would have made a difference, Rutherford wouldn’t buy it.

Heath, a dominant pitcher, tore a ligament in his arm pitching against Cheverus in the regular- season finale May 31.

“Maybe if Scott pitches, it’s 0-0 late in the game but we still haven’t scored a run,” Rutherford said. “No excuses; we didn’t hit. We didn’t hit in the semifinals (a 2-1 victory against Marshwood).”

Ridge struck out Scott Heath with two on in the top of the third and got Zach Collett on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to end the fifth. Collett hit a high chopper to Louie DiStasio at short, who flipped to Nick Melville for the force.

Ridge got the lead runner after the first two Blazes opened with hits. Fielding a bunt, Ridge threw to third for the first out.

In the top of the seventh, Ridge walked the leadoff batter after starting 0-and-2. After a force out, Ridge threw wild to second to put runners on first and second, but a fly to center and a force at second ended it.

Ridge said his strategy was the same in the seventh as it was in the first.

“I was just trying to go after them,” said Heath. “I think this is the biggest game I’ve pitched in since Little League. I played with Louie (DiStasio) and Nick (Melville) in Little League in Yarmouth. To win the regionals with them and the rest of the guys is special. It’s a great group.”

Cheverus scored both of its runs in the fourth. Melville led off with a chopper to third that went for a hit. Joey Royer was hit by a pitch. Tyler Flaherty bunted them to second and third. Jack Bushey then lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score Melville, and Ridge hit a line double to right, scoring Royer to make it 2-0.

With two outs in the fourth, Jake Gardiner of Westbrook lined a double off the left-field fence. The next batter, Sam Stauble, lined out to center.

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

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