PORTLAND – Brad Sowerby drove in three runs Thursday to lead Portland to the Babe Ruth baseball state championship for 13- to 15-year-olds with a 3-2 victory against Southern York at Deering Oaks.

Sowerby finished the tournament with a 2-0 pitching record and was 5 for 9 at the plate with six RBI in four games, all wins for Portland in the double-elimination event.

Pat Ball was the winning pitcher Thursday, scattering five hits, and also contributing two hits and a run.

Portland advanced to the New England tournament in Quincy, Mass., and will open at 1 p.m. Aug. 3 against the Rhode Island state champion.

Portland entered the game as the only undefeated team in the tournament after beating Southern York 5-2 on Wednesday. It avoided an if-necessary game by winning the first game Thursday.

Ball got the final out Wednesday and had six innings of eligibility remaining.

“I knew who I was pitching this game,” said Portland Coach Ian Boyle. “Pat is a big- game pitcher. I expected nothing less of him in this game. We made it easy on ourselves by being in the winner’s bracket.”

Portland went 1-2 in a preliminary state tournament in Rockland that determined the field for the state finals.

As the host team, Portland had an automatic berth in the states.

“Because we knew we were already in the state tournament, we went in with the wrong mindset in the Rockland tournament,” said Boyle. “It was good for the kids to taste defeat.”

Portland beat Somerset County, Augusta and Southern York twice in the state tournament.

“We have a strong core group,” said Boyle. “We have players who have been playing all-stars together since they were 13. We added a couple of big additions like Brad Sowerby and Nick Carmichael.”

With the bases loaded in the first inning, Sowerby was hit by a pitch to force in a run.

Southern York scored twice in the third to take the lead: Matt Pratt drove home a run with a double to left and scored on a single by Connor Pease.

Portland tied it in the third on Sowerby’s RBI single to right that scored Ball, who led off with a double that hit the fence in left-center.

“If the wind had been blowing out, it might have been out,” said Ball.

Portland put its first two batters on in the fifth. Will Barlock singled to right and Joe Apon walked. After a pop out, Portland loaded the bases on Dan Kane’s single to right.

Sowerby then hit a deep fly to left that drove in Barlock with what proved to be the winning run.

Ball mixed a good fastball and curve. Sam Luebbert pitched the seventh for Portland.

Jon Davis led off the seventh with a double for Southern York, but was stranded when Luebbert struck out the next two batters, then got the final out on a fly to Dom Fagone in center.

“We have a good mix of players,” said Ball. “I’m the only player from Cheverus, but we have players from Portland, Deering and South Portland.

“Some of us have been playing together since we were 8.”

Sowerby is from South Portland. Having played the previous two seasons in this league, Sowerby got a waiver to play for Portland when his new league folded before the season.

Normally a strong hitting team, it was pitching and defense that won the tournament for Portland.

“We have a lot of pitching and defense,” said Sowerby. “We didn’t make many errors and we had timely hitting.”

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

[email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH


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