THE FITZHERBERT AND BOURGET baseball tournaments in Bath concluded Monday evening with championship games for both. Pictured on top, Ararat’s Rhys Terry slides home safely after a wild pitch in the Fitzherbert final. Above right, Eligh Imrie unsucessfully tries to avoid the tag from Messalonskee’s Donavan Hermann, and left, Ava MacMahan of Bath shows her Kyle Fitzherbert Award, given to the player voted on by the tournament coaches who exemplies Kyle’s love for baseball. ERIC MAXIM / TIMES RECORD STAFF

THE FITZHERBERT AND BOURGET baseball tournaments in Bath concluded Monday evening with championship games for both. Pictured on top, Ararat’s Rhys Terry slides home safely after a wild pitch in the Fitzherbert final. Above right, Eligh Imrie unsucessfully tries to avoid the tag from Messalonskee’s Donavan Hermann, and left, Ava MacMahan of Bath shows her Kyle Fitzherbert Award, given to the player voted on by the tournament coaches who exemplies Kyle’s love for baseball. ERIC MAXIM / TIMES RECORD STAFF

BATH

As the 2018 youth baseball season winds down in the area, the Bath Parks and Recreation’s Kyle Fitzherbert baseball tournament crowned its champion on Hawkes Field at the Donnie Small Athletic Complex Monday evening.

The 10-and-under team from Messalonskee cruised through the winner’s bracket over the weekend and held on to edge a pesky Ararat squad, 3-2.

After grabbing an early 1-0 lead, Ararat fell behind 3-1, but never gave up.

“They have tremendous camaraderie, great teammates,” said one of Ararat’s coaches Josh Spooner of the resilient young athletes. “They stay loose, but they stay focused at the task at hand. What you saw there tonight was evident of how they played all summer.”

After losing to Messalonskee in the first round of the tournament Friday, Ararat beat teams from Lisbon, Scarborough and Kearsarge Mountain in New Hampshire to come out of the elimination bracket over the weekend for Monday’s rematch.

Ararat struck first in the top half of the opening frame when Stan Spooner scored on a Kenny Mecham two-out double for a 1-0 lead.

 

 

The Ararat defense kept the home team off the scoreboard in the bottom half of the first, getting out of a one-out jam with runners on second and third. But Messalonskee answered in the second inning. With two runners on, Ararat pitcher Jesse Bowker had a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but the next hitter Alex Beckwith smacked a two-run double to plate a pair, giving Messalonskee a 2-1 lead after two innings.

After Messalonskee added a run in the third inning, the visitors from Ararat were able to get the run back in the top of the fourth when Rhys Terry came around to score on a pair of wild pitches to cut the lead to 3-2.

Ararat once again threatened in the fifth inning when Eligh Imrie roped a one-out double to right field off Donavan Hermann, who relieved starter Ben Bernier at the beginning of the frame. Randall LaGrange followed with a single between the first and second basemen, but a solid throw to the plate caught the Ararat runner in between third and home for the second out of the inning. LaGrange was stranded on base a batter later when Jack Taylor almost won a foot race to the bag — trying to beat out an infield single — for the final out.

 

 

Hermann retired Ararat in the sixth in order to clinch the victory.

Despite the loss in the summer’s final contest, Spooner praised his team.

“They’re confident and always keep it classy,” the coach said. “As you could tell in the last inning, down by run, (they were) cracking jokes and staying loose. I think that’s important because it’s far easier to perform when not under the gun.

“They’re 10 years old, this is what baseball is all about.”

In the Bob Bourget Tournament, being held on the adjacent Kimball Field, the 12U team from Messalonskee also won the tournament without a loss, cruising to a 9-1 victory over Lisbon.

PITCHER JESSE BOWKER of Ararat fires a throw to first base after fielding a ground ball back to the mound in the fourth inning against Messalonskee. Messo won the game, 3-2. ERIC MAXIM / TIMES RECORD STAFF

PITCHER JESSE BOWKER of Ararat fires a throw to first base after fielding a ground ball back to the mound in the fourth inning against Messalonskee. Messo won the game, 3-2. ERIC MAXIM / TIMES RECORD STAFF

Kyle J. Fitzherbert

Kyle Fitzherbert was a Bath youngster that loved the game of baseball. He passed away at the young age of 14 in 2003. For the past 11 years, the Bath baseball community has named the tournament after him. Kyle lived nearby in the neighborhood and used to hear the cheers of the crowd.

“When he was 3-years old, he would hear all of the screaming and yelling and want to come over,” his father John recalled. “Once I brought him over here, he got involved. He started as a mascot, then the bat boy. We started coaching a team together and in his last year before his death, he was actually sitting in on board of directors meetings and was a player agent for the league.

“The night before he died, he talked about the things that he had in his life, and the first thing he listed was Little League baseball. He was so thankful for that experience.”

At the end of the tournaments,, the coaches select a player that exemplifies Kyle’s love for the game, not just the wins and losses, awarding a trophy bearing Kyle’s name.

“He always believed in fair play. He used to complain when kids threw bats or argued a call,” added the elder Fitzherbert. “He’d say ‘you know this is just a game, get ’em next time.’”

Before recognizing who the coaches selected, the teams and fans were reminded what Kyle represented and what “K.Y.L.E.” stood for.

K — Knowledge of the game; Y — Yearning for the game; L — Love of the game; E — Enthusiasm of the game.

With that, the 2018 recipient was Ava MacMahan of Bath. After she was presented with the trophy, her coach Ray Guild had nothing but positive things to say.

“Ava exemplifies baseball to a ‘T,’” Guild said. “She is what every baseball player wants to be.”

“This is wonderful, it’s a great reminder of Kyle,” John Fitzherbert said. “This is such a great tribute to his life. I am so proud that his legacy still goes on. I couldn’t be more proud of a father.”

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