This was the year that Bangor High was not supposed to win the Class A baseball state championship.

The Rams didn’t have a dominating pitcher in the mold of Trevor DeLaite or Peter Kemble. They had underclassmen playing key positions.

And yet …

When the season ended, there was Bangor once again standing atop Class A, a 10-6 winner over Gorham for its record fifth consecutive state championship. No baseball team, in any class, had ever won more than four in a row.

For that, Bangor is the Varsity Maine spring team of the year.

Dave Morris, in his second year as coach of the Rams, said this was a team that took nothing for granted.

“This was a pretty authentic group,” he said. “They like to play baseball, they get along with each other, and they work hard. It was really about closeness, and consistency, and hard work.

“I know you hear things like that all the time, but it was very true with this team. They spent a lot of time together, from Little League to middle school to high school, and were a real community-oriented group.”

Bangor’s six seniors, led by catcher Tyler Parke and shortstop Zach Ireland, provided stability when things got tough. It was Parke who hit a walk-off grand slam to win the Class A North final 5-1 over Oxford Hills.

But younger players stepped up, including junior pitcher Zach Cowperthwaite, junior first baseman/pitcher Noah Missbrenner, sophomore outfielder Jacob Munroe, sophomore pitcher Carson Prouty and freshman third baseman James Neel.

Munroe and Neel combined to drive in five runs in the state final, and Prouty got the save with 22/3 innings of scoreless relief.

That’s why, said Gorham Coach Chuck Nadeau, “It looks like it doesn’t come to an end any time soon.”

After losing 8-5 to Oxford Hills on May 4, Bangor won its final 13 games to finish with a 19-1 record.

In the state final, Bangor took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, then gave up four runs in the bottom half to Gorham, which eventually took a 6-5 lead.

But Bangor kept the pressure on and tied the game in the fifth, then went ahead in the sixth and scored three in the seventh to put it away.

“I had a few people tell me that if you are going to beat Bangor, you better play a full seven innings,” said Nadeau. “That’s absolutely true. They jumped out 5-0 on us … We answer back and made them play from behind. That was a really difficult thing for them to do, but they never wavered.”

Morris said his players simply never got caught up in the situation.

“We tried to approach it the same way we have all those other years, take it one game at a time,” he said. “A lot of coaches say that, but it’s different when a team buys into it. The kids really understood what that meant.

“It helps when you have the type of experience we have. A lot of these kids have been in high school or American Legion championship games. It’s about staying within the process and not looking ahead. Sometimes your eyesight is on the future and not taking care of what’s in front of you.

“We stayed in the moment in a lot of games. The kids knew what our destination could be if we took care of the process.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: