BANGOR – Zach Guptill rounded third and glanced at first base. He was expecting to see his Winslow High teammate Ryan Dubois running out a sacrifice bunt.
When Guptill saw pitcher Brian Bellows’ throw get through and roll down the line, he ran home and on to the Class B state championship game.
“We lucked out right there,” Guptill said. “I saw it was a bad throw and I took off.”
Guptill’s run in the ninth inning gave the Black Raiders a 3-2 victory against Waterville in the Eastern Class B championship game Thursday, earning Winslow a spot in the state final for the first time since 2007.
Winslow (16-3) will face York at 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s College. Waterville (16-4) was playing in its fourth consecutive regional final.
Guptill led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and went to second on a Logan Hewes base hit. Dubois laid down his bunt, but Waterville second baseman A.J. Godin was late covering first and Bellows’ throw went through, allowing Guptill to score.
“Not well defended on our part. Every single run on the board was unearned,” Waterville Coach Don Sawyer said. “It’s too bad to give something like that up on a couple of routine plays, but that’s baseball.”
Winslow needed to rally in the seventh to force extra innings. Guptill led off with a single, breaking a string of 15 consecutive outs by Bellows.
Hewes reached on an error while trying to sacrifice and Dubois singled to load the bases with no outs.
After an out, Alex Berard’s infield single to short scored Guptill to tie it.
“Don’t give up. We never give up. We knew we could come back. We knew we could get that run,” Guptill said.
Added Winslow Coach Jesse LaCasse: “I knew we could do it. I mean, we’ve done it before. We’ve put up runs many times.”
BUCKFIELD 8, RICHMOND 5: Top-seeded Buckfield (14-1) took advantage of five errors by the third-seeded Bobcats (7-8), including four in the fourth inning, and went on to win the Western Class D title at Standish.
The Bucks will play Bangor Christian for the state title Saturday at Standish. Richmond was the only team to give the Bucks a loss this season.
Buckfield trailed 3-1 heading into the fourth, but Jeff Pepin led off with a single and stole second. He later scored on Richmond’s first error of the inning. Keenan Stockdale reached on an error and scored on a single to right by Ben Strout to make it 3-3.
“The formula for us is simple: We’re ahead when we don’t make errors,” Richmond Coach Ryan Gardner said. “We had four in that one inning. Those were giveaways. (Buckfield) put the ball in play, made us make plays, and we didn’t.”