WALDOBORO — Biddeford pitcher Matt Rousselle said he’d been dreaming of playing in the Little League baseball state championship game. That dream came true for Rousselle and his teammates Thursday, as Biddeford dominated Hall-Dale 5-0 to win the 11-and-12 year old state tournament at Clyde Sukeforth Memorial Field.

Rousselle had a dream outing on the mound for Biddeford, throwing a one-hit, complete game shutout that put the Hall-Dale bats to sleep. He allowed just three base runners and retired the final 10 batters of the game.

“I was feeling great,” said Rousselle.

His coach said he looked great as well.

“Matt Rousselle, I can’t say enough about him. Just a phenomenal player,” said Biddeford manager Josh Edgerton. “He’s worked on his game since I had him in kids travel baseball when he was nine years old. He’s just progressed and gotten better and better and better and more impressive. He has command of three pitches. We can locate with them wherever we want.”

Rousselle struck out six batters and didn’t walk any, with only a hit batter to the second Hall-Dale hitter of the game showing any hint of wildness.

But Rousselle’s defense picked him up after the early shaky at bat, as Scott Kelly made a diving catch of a shallow fly ball in center for the second out of the first inning. Rousselle said he doesn’t think he’s seen a catch as good as Kelly’s at the Little League level.

Edgerton said it was just part of his team’s always-present hustle.

“In every single game, we treat it as six one-inning games, so we’re trying to win each inning. That kind of effort you saw out of Scott Kelly, you saw it out of my two 11-year-olds, Ashton (Crowell) and Will Harriman, just that little pop up (in the fifth), they were both diving for it,” said Edgerton, referring to a foul pop that landed despite the good effort. “There’s not one play that goes by that we’re not hustling.”

That hustling transferred to the base paths as well. Kelly led off the bottom of the second with a single to center, then moved around to third on a pair of wild pitches. Three batters later, Cody Albert drove him in with a ground-rule double to put Biddeford up 1-0.

“Usually for us, once we score the first run we get going,” said Rousselle, who had two hits in the game, “and that’s what happened.”

It wasn’t easy for the Biddeford offense against Hall-Dale starter Logan Dupont, who struck out eight batters. But Biddeford helped its cause by putting the leadoff batter on in each of the first three innings.

Rousselle was left stranded after leading off the bottom of the first with a double, but Kelly made the most of his lead-off base hit in the second, and Rousselle followed suit in the third with his own single. Kurtis Edgerton then drew the only walk of the game and Tommy Gonneville singled to bring in Rousselle. Edgerton later scored on a wild pitch.

“With (Dupont) on the hill, we knew that we were going to see a lot of off-speed stuff. So we told the boys ”˜sit fastball,’ we’re waiting for the fastball. There’s going to be one during the at bat, whenever that comes we wanted to drive it,” said Edgerton. “Logan did an excellent job of locating well. He kept us off-balance that first inning. We just kept forcing the kids to wait fastball.”

Dupont ended the third with a pair of strikeouts, then began the fourth with two more. He finished off the fourth by retiring Rousselle on a groundout to secure his only 1-2-3 inning. He then got Edgerton to line out to lead off the fifth before being taken out of the game with a high pitch count.

Ian Stebbins came on in relief and the Biddeford bats took advantage ”“ with some assistance from the Hall-Dale gloves. Gonneville greeted Stebbins with a single that trickled past new second baseman Sam MacFarlane, who had just moved in from left field. Pinch-hitter Alec Descoteaux then hit a pop-up that landed on home plate and created confusion for Hall-Dale catcher Nick Leighton, who failed to make a throw, allowing Descoteaux to reach on a single that didn’t leave the dirt.

Kelly then hit a fly ball to right that was dropped, allowing Gonneville to trot home, and Descoteaux came around on a wild pitch.

Rousselle then took the mound in the top of the sixth, looking to close out the game against the top of the Hall-Dale lineup.

“I just knew that I had to finish the game up, get the last three outs,” said Rousselle.

Rousselle did just that, getting Stebbins to fly out to right, then struck out pinch-hitter Kai Lucas ”“ who took the place of Leighton, who had Hall-Dale’s only hit ”“ looking, before getting Akira Warren to fly out to Albert in left to end the game.

Rousselle said he was worried facing Warren, who was Hall-Dale’s best power hitter, but knew off the bat that he had avoided any damage.

Biddeford now will represent Maine at the New England Region Tournament, which begins August 10 in Bristol, Connecticut.

“I love our chances. I love this group of boys, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Edgerton said of going to Regionals. “If I lived in another town, I think I would come back to Biddeford just to coach (this) group. These guys, they come to work every day, they work very hard for what they have, and they cherish every memory.”

— Sports Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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