HARWICH, Mass. — The University of Southern Maine had just lost to Endicott College 7-6 Saturday night in the NCAA Division III New England Regional when Forrest Chadwick approached Huskies Coach Ed Flaherty.

“He came to me and said, ‘I’ve got to get in the lineup,’ ’’ said Flaherty.

Chadwick, a center fielder, had been limited to pinch-hitting duties after injuring his left quadricep in the Little East Conference tournament. He couldn’t run, thus he couldn’t play in the field.

But with the season on the line, Flaherty put Chadwick, a senior from Gardiner, in the third spot of the lineup as the designated hitter. And he produced. Chadwick went 3 for 5 with four RBI and hit a punch-in-the-stomach three-run home run in the eighth inning that gave the Huskies a 6-1 lead. USM would eventually defeat Endicott 11-1 to secure its second consecutive regional championship and second straight trip to the Division III World Series, a double-elimination tournament in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Flaherty called Chadwick “one of the most talented kids I’ve ever coached. He’s a five-tool player. To me, he’s a pro prospect.’’

WITH TWO outs in the top of the ninth, Flaherty walked out to the mound and took the ball from ace lefty Logan Carman, who had thrown his best game of the season.

“He’s been hurt and has come back and come back,’’ said Flaherty. “Every time he’s gotten a little better.’’

But Flaherty didn’t take Carman out simply to get the ovation he deserved from the USM fan contingent.

“I actually wanted to get Nate Veilleux into the game,’’ said Flaherty. “Nate’s a senior that’s the heart of our team, the father of our kids. He puts every effort into pitching for us but doesn’t pitch much for us. I wanted him to be on that mound at the end with that cushion.’’

CARMAN WAS named the regional’s most outstanding player. He had a 2-0 record with a 2.87 ERA and, of course, was outstanding in the clincher. Carman threw 109 pitches (69 for strikes) in 82/3 innings, with five strikeouts and just two walks. He allowed only five hits.

The Huskies had four other players named to the all-tournament team: Chadwick (who was second in RBI with six despite limited at-bats), shortstop Sam Dexter (who led all batters with 12 hits and six runs), catcher Matt Verrier (.333 with a home run and three RBI) and reliever Andrew Richards (1-0, one save, 1.17 ERA).

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH