STANDISH — They were the No. 9 seed in the Class B South regional and underdogs in pretty much every playoff game. But the Yarmouth Clippers ended the season alone at the top of Class B baseball.

Gibson Harnett allowed just two hits as Yarmouth defeated defending champ Old Town 3-0 to win the Class B state championship at Mahaney Diamond at St. Joseph’s College. It’s the Clippers’ first baseball state title since 1995, when they won the second of two Class C championships.

Old Town finished 16-4.

“Nobody really believed in us,” said senior shortstop Chris Romano. “And yet the whole time we believed we are an elite team. I think we showed that today.”

“To get a Class B championship with these kids, it’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said Yarmouth Coach Marc Halsted.

The Clippers (16-5) made all the plays in the field and used their aggressive baserunning to score two insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Not that Harnett – a senior whom Halsted called “one of the finest competitors ever” at Yarmouth – needed them. He was in a zone from the first pitch, throwing just 75 pitches – only 37 over the final five innings – while striking out three, walking one and hitting one batter.

“He did a great job mixing and matching and keeping guys off-balance,” said Old Town Coach Brad Goody. “He’d start the pitch on the plate and move it off. He did a great job mixing speeds and moving locations and making it tough for us today.”

Yarmouth got a run in the first inning on an RBI single by Jack Romano, and then its defense preserved that lead.

One of the game’s biggest plays came in the third inning. With one out, Old Town’s Ryan Hoogterp was on second. Cole Daniel hit a fly ball to center field that kept carrying. When Jack Romano caught it, he stumbled and fell to his knees.

Hoogterp tagged up on the play and Goody waved him around third: “Once he hit the ground, and he was out there pretty deep, it was going to take a long throw to the (cutoff man) and then a long throw from the cut to home. The way their pitcher was throwing, I figured I’d take a shot.”

Chris Romano got the relay throw from his younger brother and turned, taking a step before he unleashed a throw to catcher James Waaler. “Chris threw an absolute seed to James,” said Harnett.

The throw was just up the third-base line, but Waaler had time to catch it and tag Hoogterp to end the inning.

The defense stepped up again in the fifth. With a runner on first and one out, Old Town’s Nick Boutin put down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Yarmouth first baseman John Thoma made the out at first and then quickly threw to Chris Romano to catch the lead runner, who had rounded second.

“It was the little plays all day that really helped us,” said Chris Romano.

Then Thoma made a dazzling backhand snag of a line drive to end the sixth inning.

Yarmouth came up with two runs in the bottom of the sixth with aggressive baserunning. With one out and runners on second and third, Jackson Caruso dropped a squeeze bunt that was fielded by Old Town pitcher Ethan Stoddard halfway to home plate. Waaler, on third, scored easily.

But when Stoddard turned to throw to first, no one was there. “Just a mental breakdown on our part,” said Goody. Joe Coyne, who was on second, rounded third and kept heading home. He slid in with Stoddard still holding the ball, and it was 3-0.

“That’s who we are,” said Halsted. “Yarmouth baseball at its best.”

Then it was on to the seventh. Harnett needed just six pitches, the final one resulting in a ground ball to Caruso at third.

“Just a flutter of emotions,” said Harnett. “It’s pretty incredible, hard to explain.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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