Marc Halstead has coached several Yarmouth High baseball teams he felt were contenders.

“Back on March 20th, when preseason started, this team was not one of them,” Halstead said.

But here the Clippers are, in their first state championship game since winning the Class C title in 1995.

Underdogs all year, Yarmouth (15-5) scrapped its way to 11 regular-season wins. As the No. 9 seed in Class B South, it has won four straight, beating No. 1 Madison/Carrabec, No. 4 Cape Elizabeth and No. 2 York along the way.

Now it gets Old Town (16-3) which returns seven starters from the 2016 title team that beat Freeport, another upstart from the South, 12-2 in last year’s championship game.

“We know Old Town is better than us and our kids just don’t care,” Halstead said. “These kids just love to compete. They play for championships.”

Yarmouth started the year with two players – Gibson Harnett and shortstop Chris Romano – with varsity at-bats, and Harnett was the only returning pitcher.

Harnett has become the ace, going 6-1 with a 1.03 ERA. He’ll get the start at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s College with closer Dom Morrill (2-1, 3 saves, 24 Ks in 221/3 innings) waiting in the wings.

Harnett is looking for some personal redemption. In basketball he was injured early in Yarmouth’s regional final loss to Wells. Yarmouth was a heavy favorite in that game but lost, and not having Harnett’s outside shooting was a factor.

Then there’s the story of pitcher/outfielder Luke Waeldner in the regional baseball quarterfinal. Yarmouth took a 5-3 lead into the seventh at No. 1 Madison/Carrabec. Waeldner dropped an easy pop fly and soon the lead was trimmed to 5-4 with a runner at third and one out.

Waeldner raced to catch a line drive and threw “an absolute seed from 200 feet,” Halstead said, to get the runner tagging at third for the game-ending out.

Waeldner has been Yarmouth’s offensive catalyst, hitting .469 (.526 on-base) with 18 steals.

John Romano (.377, team-high 15 RBI), Chris Romano (.355), Harnett (.368) and catcher James Waaler (.327, 13 RBI) also have been consistent hitters.

Old Town can bang and run on offense, hitting .381 as a team with 114 steals in 122 attempts.

Four regulars are hitting over .400: Cole Daniel (.476, nine doubles, 21 RBI), Nick Swift (.450, 15 steals), Ryan Hoogterp (.448, 16 steals) and Jack Ketch (.431, 4 triples, 15 steals).

Ethan Stoddard, who won last year’s championship game, will get the start. He led Old Town in innings (45) and strikeouts (53) while posting a 1.09 ERA. Hoogterp (1.63 ERA) is also available.

There is one connection between the teams. Halstead, the Yarmouth coach, grew up in Orono and played American Legion baseball with Old Town Coach Brady Goody’s older brother.

“I used to be the batboy for that Legion team,” said Goody.

Class A

Falmouth (18-1) vs. Bangor (15-4)

This is a rematch of last year’s championship game won by Bangor 5-0 behind the three-hit pitching of Trevor DeLaite.

Bangor has won three straight titles and hasn’t allowed a run in this year’s tournament.

Peter Kemble (1 earned run in 46 innings) isn’t available after pitching a complete game in the regional final, but Bangor still has Nick Copperwaithe (5 complete games, 0.43 ERA) and Gary Farnham (2.29 ERA) available.

“Those guys would be number one or two starters on most teams,” said Bangor Coach Dave Morris.

Falmouth has its whole staff available, including Cam Guarino (9-1, 1.53 ERA, 66 Ks, 9 BB in 592/3 innings). He masterfully worked six innings on just 66 pitches Wednesday in the 4-1 regional final win against Cheverus, meaning he can return on two days’ rest.

The game likely will boil down to which team can generate offense. That’s where Falmouth’s senior twins, Robbie and Reece Armitage, may hold the key. Reece hit .463 with 15 RBI in 14 games (he was slowed by an ankle injury) and Robbie hit .441 with 16 RBI.

“We have a real veteran group. They’re battle-tested and played in a lot of big games,” Coach Kevin Winship.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig