STANDISH — Throughout the Western Class B baseball tournament, the York High baseball players ended each team meeting by asking, “Why not us?”
The Wildcats got their answer.
York won its first baseball state title since 1971, riding a three-run first inning and the pitching of Adam Bailey to beat Winslow 4-1 in the Class B state final Saturday at St. Joseph’s College.
Bailey held the Black Raiders to six hits, striking out seven and walking one.
“Even as a coach I was never able to guess what he was going to throw next,” said Winslow Coach Jesse LaCasse. “He mixed it up well and kept my guys off-balance. That’s a tough guy to beat right there.”
York’s last state title was in Class C when it beat Shead, 17-1. Chuck Chadbourne, the first-year coach of the Wildcats, said his goal was to establish a baseball identity at the school.
“I’d say we took one more giant step,” he said.
This title was special, especially to the seniors who competed in regional championship games in football and basketball this school year — and lost.
“It’s been like a curse, the Western Maine curse,” said Bailey. “I’m just so happy to get a state championship my senior year.”
York (16-5) gave Bailey all the runs he would need in the first inning. Anthony Sciaudone led off with a single and went to second when Samuel Johnson’s line drive was misplayed. Derek Neal followed with a single to left-center, scoring Sciaudone and moving Johnson to third. Johnson scored on a wild pitch.
Alex Mercurio later hit an RBI double, making it 3-0.
The Wildcats left the bases loaded in the first — as they did in the second and third. Chadbourne said the Wildcats were able to overcome that for one big reason.
“Our scouting report indicated that Winslow would never give up and that was evident today,” he said. “But our wild card was a 6-foot-6 right-hander who didn’t give them a lot of opportunities to come back.”
Bailey (7-2) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth. And he was backed by steady defense. Mercurio, his catcher, threw out two runners trying to steal second. Right fielder Cole Merritt threw out another runner trying to stretch a single into a double.
“They made all the plays,” said LaCasse. “They played a great game.”
York made it 4-0 in the third when Johnson walked with the bases loaded. But Winslow freshman Jacob Trask, who relieved starter Donald Camp with two on and no outs in the second, kept the Wildcats from scoring again.
Winslow finally scored in the sixth. Taylor Roy and Gabe Smith opened with back-to-back singles, and Camp sacrificed them to second and third. Roy scored on a balk.
Bailey ended the game with a strikeout, and Mercurio slammed his catcher’s mask into the ground in celebration.
“This was just huge for the town, for everyone,” said Mercurio, who lost in the wrestling state finals. “I’ve already had a lot of people come up to me and thank us for winning the title. This was for every single baseball player who ever played at York.”
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: