STANDISH — One thing about Jared Taylor is fairly obvious: He likes to hit in big games.
For the second straight game, Taylor had a monster performance, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and five RBI as Washington Academy beat Sacopee Valley 7-1 to win the Class C baseball state champion Saturday at St. Joseph’s College.
It’s the Raiders’ first state title since 1987.
“We knew Jared had it in him,” said Coach Derek Feeney. “We’ve been working with him.”
Gage Feeney pitched a complete game for Washington Academy (16-4), holding Sacopee Valley (19-1) to four hits. The 6-foot-4 right-hander struck out nine.
Taylor doubled home a run as the Raiders scored three times in the first inning.
He added a two-run single in the third and a two-run double in the seventh that made it 7-1.
“I tried to clear my mind before the game and focus,” said Taylor. “I seem to hit better in the playoffs than the regular season. I don’t know what it is. Knocking in those two insurance runs in the seventh felt good.”
Feeney was the second right-handed starter to have a dominant pitching performance at St. Joseph’s College on Saturday. Feeney drew inspiration from Bangor’s Justin Courtney, who led the Rams to the Class A state title.
“I know Justin and that was one dominating performance,” said Feeney. “I just tried to hit my spots as well as I could and throw strikes. I kept my curveball low, maybe not as low as I wanted. My slider was working and I got a couple of people on it. I knew we were going to have a good game because we’ve been playing well for the past eight games.”
Sacopee got its first hit on a single to right by Brady Anderson in the third inning. The Hawks had two singles in the fifth when they scored and got their final hit in the sixth.
“Gage threw very well,” said Anthony Haskell of Sacopee Valley.
“He threw hard and his off-speed stuff was very good. I couldn’t catch up to his fastball. He’s the best pitcher we’ve seen.”
Alex Fenderson led off the fifth for the Hawks with a single up the middle. He was sacrificed to second and scored on Devin Day’s single that dropped just inside the line in short right.
“I had heard a lot about their pitcher and I knew we had our work cut out for us,” said Sacopee Valley Coach Eric Anderson. “Without a doubt, the best pitcher we’ve seen. He throws hard and changes speed.
“I had the boys try an aggressive approach at the plate and when they did that, we had a little success. But then they were content with getting behind in the count and then Feeney imposed his will. Washington Academy is a solid team and they feed off him. They deserve to be where they’re at.”
Anderson pointed out how far the Hawks’ program has come in the last four years.
“When these seniors were freshmen, this program was 0-16. Two years ago, it was 3-13. Last year, we went 8-10 and made the quarterfinals. This year we’re 19-1 and in the state final,” said Anderson.
“It’s hard not to be disappointed, but the program is going up and the future is very bright.”
“When I was a freshman, I never expected us to be here.”