READFIELD — Inning after inning, Sacopee Valley pitcher McGwire Sawyer put up zero after zero, hoping his team eventually would turn one of its many threats into runs.

In the eighth inning, he got his wish.

The sixth-seeded Hawks prevailed in extra innings again, scoring three runs in the eighth, then holding off second-ranked Maranacook for a 5-4 victory in a Class C South semifinal Saturday.

Sacopee Valley (12-6), which needed 10 innings to beat Hall-Dale on Friday, will take on top-ranked, undefeated Lisbon in the regional final at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College.

“Whatever it takes,” Coach Kevin Miner said of the consecutive extra-inning wins. “These boys have rallied this year over the last part of the season and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Maranacook (16-2) was hoping for a return trip to the regional final.

“They had a long one (Friday) night and they had a lot of adrenaline,” Coach Eric Brown said. “Their pitcher came in and shut us down. That was the big key right there.”

Sawyer pitched the first seven innings, striking out four, walking one and scattering five hits, and he did it with the season on the line. The Hawks left men on in six of the first seven innings and stranded 13 overall, constantly threatening against Maranacook pitchers Jay Lauter and Glen Guerrette.

“They were rattling me at points but I just dug through it and had faith in my teammates that they would make the plays behind me,” Sawyer said. “I had faith that we would end it eventually and get a run.”

In the eighth, the Hawks broke a 2-2 tie. Kaleb Cox reached on a two-base error and stole third, and, after a strikeout, Brandon Capano — 0 for 4 to that point — dropped a single into shallow right to score Cox. Capano later scored on Isaac Stocks’ bases-loaded walk and Dylan Miner came in on Cole Eastman’s sacrifice fly to center.

“Right now I have confidence 1 through 9 is going to put the ball in play,” Coach Miner said. “You put the ball in play, good things are going to happen.”

Down 5-2, Maranacook didn’t go quietly. With Austin Eastman on the mound, Wyatt Lambert walked, and Mitch Root (three hits) and Guerrette had back-to-back singles with one out to load the bases. Collin McGarr drilled a single to right to score Lambert and Root, but Eastman got the last two outs, including a strikeout to end it.

“You can’t count us out until the last out,” Brown said. “I thought maybe we could get in there and make something happen there, and have a walk-off, and we came close. But we didn’t quite get it done. We didn’t get that clutch hit.”

The Black Bears started with their ace on the mound in Lauter, but back soreness Brown said has lingered since laste summer limited him. Lauter struck out nine in four innings but was more resilient than dominant, allowing six hits and frequently slipping out of trouble. His best escape was his last one; he gave up two runs in the fourth but struck out Austin Eastman on a full count with the bases loaded to keep the game tied.

“He gave us everything he had,” Brown said. “After that fourth inning … he came in and said ‘I’m done.’ Glen stepped up and stepped in and did a great job.”

Maranacook took a 2-0 lead in the third when Rogers and Root scored on a throwing error. Sacopee Valley tied it in the fourth after Caleb Eastman (double), Sawyer and Janoah Edwards led off with hits. Eastman scored on Edwards’ hit and Sawyer came in on Capano’s fielder’s-choice grounder to short.

The Hawks weren’t finished.

“We’re on a roll right now,” Coach Miner said. “We are tired but we’re on a roll.”


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