AUGUSTA – Just about every kid imagines hitting a winning home run in the ninth inning. Jason Burns allowed himself a few moments to think about that fantasy Friday.

“I thought about it a little in the batter’s box,” Burns said. “Whenever I think home run in the batter’s box, bad things happen. So I really focused on line drive, take it the other way or if it’s inside, pull it.”

Five pitches later, Burns was the star in his own real-life dream. With two outs and Erik Ogren on first, Burns blasted a two-run homer over the right- field fence to give Augusta an 11-9 victory against Bangor in the American Legion baseball state tournament at Morton Field.

The win assures Augusta a spot in Sunday’s championship game. Bangor plays Gayton Post at 11 a.m., today, followed by Augusta vs. Brewer at 3:30 p.m. If Augusta wins today, the Bangor-Gayton winner will need to beat Augusta twice on Sunday.

If Augusta loses today, Brewer will play the Bangor-Gayton winner at noon Sunday, and the winner of that game will play Augusta at 3:30 p.m. for the championship. Augusta plans to start Jake Beland in today’s game.

Friday’s wild game included six hit batsmen, an ejection (Augusta assistant coach Keith Genest), and a bases-loaded strikeout that produced a run. It was 9-9 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when Ogren, who was hit by pitches three times for the second straight game, got to swing and lined a single to left field.

Burns took a ball, and by his own admission, took a weak swing and fouled off the next pitch. After a ball and a strike, Burns drove the 2-2 pitch into the trees. His teammates rushed out of the dugout and had to be held off home plate by the umpire, and Burns pumped his fist and clapped his hands as he hit second base.

“I hadn’t really had a great day, but I felt confident in that situation,” Burns said. “I knew I was due for a hit. That first swing was ugly, and then I just waited for my pitch and hit it.”

“That’s the best hitter in the state right there, Jason Burns,” winning pitcher Ryan Minoty said. “He’s seriously so clutch. Obviously that was the most epic game I’ve ever been a part of.”

Morning Sentinel Writer Matt DiFilippo can be contacted at 861-9243 or at:

[email protected]