June 13, 2013

Baseball: Westbrook shuts out Marshwood

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

STANDISH - A team of destiny? Westbrook just might be.

click image to enlarge

Westbrook players form a pile on top of pitcher Keenen Lowe after a 5-0 win over Marshwood on Wednesday afternoon in the Western Class A baseball final. The Blue Blazes will play for the state title Saturday against Oxford Hills or Messalonskee.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Keenen Lowe, left, is swarmed by his Westbrook teammates after completing a four-hit shutout Wednesday in a 5-0 win over Marshwood for the Western Class A title.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Wearing their favorite away blue jerseys that they donned for the league playoffs three weeks ago and have been wearing ever since, the Blue Blazes are one game away from their first baseball state championship since the statewide playoff system began in 1970.

Keenen Lowe pitched a four-hitter, and the bottom of the order continued its torrid hitting as fourth-seeded Westbrook beat No. 2 Marshwood 5-0 for the Western Class A championship Wednesday afternoon at St. Joseph's College.

The Blue Blazes (16-3) will take an eight-game winning streak into the state final. It's the first regional title for Westbrook since 2005.

Westbrook will play the winner of Thursday's Eastern Maine final between Oxford Hills and Messalonskee. The state final is 2 p.m. Saturday at Morton Field in Augusta.

Kyle Schumacher, who bats ninth, hit a two-run double down the left-field line in the top of the fourth to make it 4-0. He also had a sacrifice fly in the sixth and finished with four RBI. His bases-loaded grounder in the second inning drove in the first run.

The bottom third of the order -- Austin Black, Kaleb Kent and Schumacher combined to go 6 for 8. Kent was 3 for 3, and Blake, the designated hitter, had two hits and scored two runs.

"We're comfortable with the bottom of the order," said Westbrook Coach Greg Souza. "In the last six games, they've really come through.

"(Opponents) continue to throw fastballs to Schumacher and he continues to hit them."

Besides frustrating Marshwood (16-3) at the plate, Lowe also picked off two runners at first base, in the third and fifth innings. The Hawks didn't get a runner to third until the bottom of the seventh.

"It was probably my best game of the year," said Lowe, a senior. "I went with mostly fastballs. I was getting a lot of groundball outs."

Keenen just dominated the game," said Souza.

Souza called Lowe's pickoffs deflating for Marshwood.

"Marshwood is a powerful team. They can break out at any moment," he said.

The Hawks got consecutive hits by Matt Brenner and Max McCoomb with one out in the bottom of the seventh. An outfield error allowed the runners to move to second and third. Souza went to the mound.

"I told Keenen we need two outs and they need five runs. Just get one out at a time," said Souza.

Lowe got the final two outs on a fly ball to right and pop-up to first baseman Zack Bean in foul territory.

Schumacher's double in the fourth drove in pinch runner Josh Richards and Kent, who blooped a single in short left.

"I wasn't worried when it became 2-0, but I was worried when it was 4-0," said Marshwood Coach Eric Fernandes.

"Lowe pitched a great game. Westbrook played a beautiful game and was mentally tough. We were flat and I don't know why. We didn't do anything differently preparing for this game than we did in the others."

In the sixth, Blake's line drive hit the base of the right-field fence near the line. He eventually scored on Schumacher's sacrifice fly to left.

Westbrook lost to Marshwood (16-3) during the regular season but beat the Hawks in the SMAA championship game.

"After we lost to Windham, Coach Souza got on us and told us we're going to have to pick it up," Lowe said of Westbrook's last loss. "I thought we were the best team in the league when the season started."

Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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