BIDDEFORD — Biddeford moved its Western Maine Class A baseball preliminary-round game with South Portland Tuesday from its regular St. Louis Field because of wet conditions to the other end of the complex.

Call it St. Louis Field No. 2.

It didn’t affect the sixth-seeded Tigers, who went out and played like the season-long team that had pulled off upsets of three of the top four seeds in the tournament.

This one went according to form as Biddeford downed No. 11 South Portland, 9-2.

Pitcher Robert Cote pitched three-hit ball through six innings and Nate McKeown stroked a two-run double in the fifth inning to comfortably send the Tigers to the next round.

Biddeford plays at No. 3 Windham at 4 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Tigers beat the Eagles 8-2 on May 26.

Biddeford Coach Keith LeBlanc said the adjustment to the second field was minimal at best.

“This is the (junior varsity) field and most of the kids have played here,” said LeBlanc.

“We didn’t make too many adjustments. We just went out and played. It’s not a bad field and it has very good drainage,” he said.

South Portland (6-11) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Brendan Horton tripled to right field, scoring Dominic Desjardins, who had walked.

The deficit didn’t bother Biddeford.

“We scored 10 runs against South Portland in the opening game of the season,” said McKeown.

“We knew we were going to come out and swing the bats. We have a balanced lineup,” he said.

The Red Riots led 1-0 through 21/2 innings.

“We were getting good swings,” said LeBlanc.

“We weren’t just seeing the results in the first two innings. All season long, we’ve talked about taking advantage of our opportunities. There’s a lot of parity in the league. We’ve been fortunate to beat some quality teams. We hope we can keep it going.”

The Tigers tied it in the third. Matt McGuirk, the No. 9 hitter, led off with a single. He scored on a two-out hit by Cote. Biddeford went ahead 3-1 in the fourth with Corey Brown and McGuirk driving in the runs. Brown had a sacrifice fly to score McKeown, who led off with a walk while McGuirk scored Zach Jacques.

The Tigers broke it open the next inning. McKeown’s double to left scored Cote and Patrick Wilson, who had singled. Jacques’ sacrifice fly scored McKeown.

The Tigers took advantage of three errors to score three in the sixth.

McKeown, Cote and McGuirk had two hits apiece. McKeown’s were hard liners.

“I was seeing the ball better,” said McKeown.

“They fixed the field up nice. I’m glad we got the game in. Now I can go on my senior class trip.”

Cote had five strikeouts and retired the Riots in order in the third and sixth innings.

“Robert has been very consistent throughout the season,” said LeBlanc. “When he’s hitting his spots like he did in the later innings, he’s tough.”

LeBlanc said McGuirk has continued his strong hitting late in the season.

“The last two to three games, Matt has swung the bat pretty well.

He’s had two-hit games in each.

The Riots beat No. 5 Westbrook in their final regular-season game to reach the tournament.

“We dug a hole for us early in the season, but the kids didn’t quit and kept plugging,” said South Portland Coach Mike Owens.

“Biddeford is a good team. We knew if we made mistakes, they would capitalize.

“It’s too bad it got away from us at the end. Cote made some good pitches. We put guys on base and could have scored a few more.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH