BANGOR — Capitalizing on opportunities, executing, and smacking the ball hard – Old Town High did it all Saturday to beat Freeport 7-3 and capture the Class B baseball state championship at Mansfield Stadium.

The Coyotes (16-4) scored all their runs in second and fourth innings, taking a 7-0 lead. Old Town was outhit 9-8, but the Coyotes bunched their hits and had the only three extra-base hits – a triple and two doubles.

“That’s as good a hitting team as we’ve seen all year,” Freeport Coach Steve Shukie said. “They just had line shot after line shot. They did it for a couple of innings and that was the difference.”

Old Town left five on base. Freeport (14-7) left eight.

“We got a little unlucky,” said Freeport starting pitcher Anthony Panciocco, who had three singles. “We just couldn’t string (the hits).”

Tanner Evans pitched a complete game for Old Town, allowing one earned run and no walks. He struck out nine.

“He was locating his spots every single inning,” Coyotes Coach Justin Crisafulli said. “He’s a workhorse on this pitching staff and he really wanted the ball today.”

Freeport escaped the first inning with a Panciocco strikeout after Old Town loaded the bases with two outs.

But the Coyotes loaded the bases again in the second inning with nobody out, on a hit batter and two bunts that resulted in a single and a fielder’s choice (with Connor McCannell sliding in safe at third).

“We bunt every single practice. We make sure we execute,” Crisafulli said. “Big game like this, pressure situations, they got the job done.”

Gabe Gifford, who went 3 for 4, followed with a deep line drive to left field that turned into a three-run triple when the outfielder slipped and fell down.

“It was probably going over his head anyways,” Shukie said. “It was smoked.”

Gifford then scored on Matt Seymour’s sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.

Seymour swatted a two-run double in the fourth inning, then stole third base and came home when the throw went into left field.

“(Earlier in the playoffs), we were the ones to get up on teams,” Shukie said. On Saturday, “we had a couple of opportunities to get it close, but seven runs are a lot of runs.”

Blaine Cockburn and Panciocco singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, but they were stranded.

The Falcons left two more runners on base in the fifth before rallying for three runs in the sixth, on singles by Panciocco, Nathan Abbott, Elias Thomas and Keigan Shea and a throwing error. Shea, who was 2 for 3, singled in a run with two outs after a nine-pitch at-bat.

Abbott pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings in relief. He came up to bat in the seventh with one on and two out. In a hearty battle, Abbott grounded out on the 12th pitch, as the Coyotes celebrated around Evans, who finished with 117 pitches.

“We kept fighting and kept fighting, and sometimes that’s just how things turn out,” Cockburn said.

This was Freeport’s third state runner-up finish since 2016, when the Falcons also lost to Old Town. Freeport has never won a state championship.

“We faced a very good team today,” Shukie said. “We had a successful year, overall. It’s just hard to end it here.”


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