AUGUSTA — Offense wasn’t a problem for the Somerset 13-15 Babe Ruth team during its run to the championship round of the state tournament, as the Chargers scored 33 runs in four games and always seemed to come up with the hit, run or big inning they needed.

In the finals against unbeaten Greater Portland, however, those answers were nowhere to be found.

Greater Portland swept the best-of-three championship series Saturday with 8-0 and 5-1 victories at Morton Field. All three Greater Portland teams – 13-year-old division, 14-year-old division and 13-15 division – captured state titles.

Greater Portland got six stellar innings from Bennett Smith in the first game and seven outstanding innings from Anthony DiMillo in Game 2 as they advanced to the New England tournament, which starts Friday in Westfield, Massachusetts.

Greater Portland Coach Jerome Gignac said the team had no interest in letting the tournament come down to a third game Sunday.

“We don’t want to come up here every day. We wanted to get it done and over as quick as possible and move on,” he said. “We really came to play and did what we had to do.”

While Greater Portland had a day off after beating Tri-County in the South division final on Thursday, Somerset was playing for the fourth straight day. The Chargers beat Capital Area in the North final on Friday after losing to Capital Area on Thursday.

“We just had what I can only say is tournament fatigue. Six games in six days is really a lot for baseball,” Somerset Coach Mark Ardito said. “I was proud of the kids, they bounced back from that 8-0 loss, and we were right in (the second) game until the very end.”

“We battled hard. They’re a good team over there,” Somerset shortstop Mitchell Grant said. “We put up a good fight; it just wasn’t enough.”

Knowing there was no more margin for error after an 8-0 loss in Saturday’s first game, the Somerset players played a cleaner game and trailed only 2-1 going into the sixth inning of Game 2.

“We knew that our season was on the line, it was do-or-die at that point,” catcher Joe Ardito said. “We played all right, considering they had great pitching and they’re just a great team.”

Greater Portland finally pulled away in the sixth, however. Brady Coyne led off with a single, and DiMillo followed with a hit to right that resulted in a run after two throwing errors. Ryan Thurber followed with a single, and Ben Wilson’s single to right-center drove in DiMillo to make it 4-1.

The lead was stretched to 5-1 in the seventh when Colby Winship doubled and scored on Coyne’s single.

It was plenty of cushion for DiMillo, who struck out three and allowed one walk and four hits. He left a pair of runners on base in the first and fourth, then retired the side in order the last three innings.

“I definitely tried to keep my composure in the last innings,” he said. “Toward the last inning, I was getting kind of excited. … We’ve got a good infield, so (I got) ground balls and short popups. And you have to be able to hit the corners.”

In the first game, four straight walks put Greater Portland up 1-0 in the first inning. A five-run third featuring an RBI single by Jimmy Gignac, an RBI double by JT Fasulo and a two-run single from Dom Tracey made it 6-0. Tracey added an RBI double in the fifth, and Coyne singled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.

“We started really in a hole with a lot of walks, a lot of unearned runs,” Coach Ardito said. “Really, too much to recover from.”

Somerset, meanwhile, was held in check by Smith, who struck out six and allowed two hits and three walks in six innings before giving way to Coyne in the seventh.

“I’ve been in these situations before,” Smith said. “I wasn’t nervous or anything, and I found a groove in the third or fourth inning. … You have to go in there with a lot of confidence.”

Coach Ardito said running into a pair of pitchers who could throw off-speed pitches for strikes was a jolt for his team.

“The control and the speed change was something we’ve never seen before,” he said. “We were actually holding off on the fastball and waiting for the curve and the off-speed pitch.”

Greater Portland jumped in front in the third inning of the second game when Eban Daniels scored on a wild pitch and Winship scored on DiMillo’s sacrifice fly. Somerset inched closer in the bottom half when Brayden Mayo singled, advanced on a groundout and a stolen base and scored on a passed ball.


GREATER PORTLAND 4, CAPITOL AREA 1: Greater Portland scored three runs in the third inning and won the state championship in South Portland.

Aiden Lee gave Portland a 1-0 lead with an RBI double, then scored on a single by Andrew Brewer. A wild pitch allowed Brewer to score.

Nolan Hobbs, the winning pitcher, allowed three hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings.

Greater Portland advances to the New England tournament and will face the host team, Rochester, New Hampshire, on Friday.


BESSEY MOTORS SWEEPS WINDHAM: Emery Chickering hit a three-run double in Game 1 and added two RBI in Game 2 for Bessey Motors (10-1), which earned 12-2 and 6-0 wins against Windham (8-6) in Paris.

Jonny Pruett and Cam Slicer each contributed three hits in the opener, and Ashton Kennison hit a two-run double. Rod Bean drove in three runs in Game 2, while Andrew Binette pitched a three-hitter.

Windham got two hits from Brady Afthim in Game 1 and two from Caleb McCartney in Game 2.

CHEVERUS SWEEPS RUMFORD: Josh Paisley pitched a one-hitter in Game 1 and contributed two hits to a 13-hit attack, starting Cheverus on its way to a doubleheader sweep at Colby College, 14-0 and 5-2.

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