LEWISTON — After losing to York on Tuesday in a winners’ bracket game at the Little League Baseball 11-12 state tournament, Lewiston knew it would have to beat York twice to win the championship and become Maine’s representative in the New England Regional. 

One of those wins came Friday night – a 5-3 Lewiston victory that forced a winner-take-all game Saturday morning.

Then Lewiston completed its climb out of the losers’ bracket, as Jeffrey Randall pitched five innings, homered, and drove in four runs to lead Lewiston to an 8-4 win. 

Lewiston will play the Massachusetts champion in its New England Regional opener next Sunday in Bristol, Connecticut. 

“This is huge,” Lewiston Manager Jim Caron said. “This is huge for the city. I’ve been in this league for 12 years and there’s been so many guys that have helped get this league to this point, and they were here today. … It’s huge for the city, baseball-wise.”

Randall held York scoreless until the fifth inning. Lewiston built an 8-0 lead before York broke through for two runs in the fifth.

Randall said he had a simple game plan.

“Throw strikes, because I have a good defense behind me, and if I let one up, I know that they have my back,” Randall said. “I knew that I had other good players coming in after me.”

Both offenses took a little while to get going. 

York pitcher John Jacobsohn allowed just two base runners in the first two innings, while Randall set York down in order twice.

“Jeffrey is the captain of this baseball team, he’s the emotional charge, the guy that’s going to get them up, the positive thinker,” Caron said. “The boys tend to want to listen to what he has to say. With him on the mound, it gave a lot of kids (confidence), ‘OK, he’s on the mound.’”

After York loaded the bases but failed to score in the top of the third, Lewiston grabbed the lead. Ethan Blue hit a single, Joe Dube doubled, and both scored on a double by Randall.

Michael Caron followed with a triple to make it 3-0. 

An unassisted double play by Dube at first base ended the top of the fourth. 

Blue broke the game open in the bottom half, drilling a three-run homer after walks to Andrew Theriault and Ian Allen.

“I hit a couple in practice, but it was my first one in a game,” Blue said. “It gives me a lot of memories. I didn’t know how far it was, but I knew if it was going to go, it was going to go.”

Dube added another double, and Randall followed with a home run to left field. 

“It felt great,” Randall said. “I was happy for my teammates, also, because Ethan got his first one today.”

“(Ethan) is probably our best contact hitter on the team. We decided in (the District 5 tournament) that he needed to be at the top of the lineup,” Caron said.

Many of the York players were bidding for a third straight state championship, after winning titles in the 9-10 division two years ago and the 10-11 division last year. Manager Ed Gullison’s team didn’t go down without a fight.

York scored twice in the fifth with two outs. Robbie Hanscom reached on a fielder’s choice, Parker Murch followed with a single, and Lucas Ketchum and Jack Joyce each had RBI hits.

York continued its comeback bid in the sixth against Dube, who relieved Randall. An infield single by Ryan Cummins and three walks forced in a run, and Lewiston’s next reliever, Blue, gave up an RBI single to Murch before getting the final two outs, the final one a fly ball to his brother, Dylan, in right field.

“A single or double, anything that could have lit it up, and there was a lot of scenarios that could have changed it, but the bottom line is they didn’t quit,” Gullison said. “They didn’t quit in these games against Lewiston, and it turned out to be a good tournament.”

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