Westbrook players, including Dom Brunner (13) and winning pitcher Bronson Damon (8) watch the final out as it heads to right field where it was caught by Ryan Stone in Tuesday’s 6-3 Class A South round of 16 playoff win against Cheverus. (Steve Craig photo) Steve Craig photo

WESTBROOK — Staked to an early five-run lead, Westbrook High senior pitcher Bronson Damon knew what he had to do as he battled in and out of trouble over six innings in Tuesday’s 6-3 win against No. 11 Cheverus in a Class A South round of 16 playoff game.

“They had some guys who put together some good hits off me, just get downhill and throw it in there. There’s not much to it,” Damon said. “All year when we have a lead early it gives you the confidence to go out there. You can let a few across and it doesn’t really stress you out, you just have to stay loose and keep throwing.”

Damon struck out 10 and stranded eight runners – five in scoring position – over six innings. He recorded the final out of each inning via strikeout, including two straight to end the third inning after Cheverus scored twice on three straight doubles by Richard Tremble (4 for 4), Orion Guibord and Noah Kennedy-Jensen.

“Bronson pitched great. He had to work through a couple of tough innings but he’s so tough where, when we need a strikeout, he’s a guy who can go get it,” said Westbrook Coach Adam Begos.

No. 6 Westbrook (10-6-1) advances to the quarterfinal at No. 3 South Portland (14-3), at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, at Wainwright Sports Complex. South Portland beat Westbrook, 5-0, on May 17.

Cheverus, a young team, finishes 7-10. The Stags were without standout shortstop Brian Connolly. A back issue that has plagued the sophomore all season flared up and kept him out of the game, said Cheverus Coach Tony DiBiase.

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Westbrook got to Cheverus senior starter Kevin Connolly, who struggled with his control from the opening pitch, for two runs in the first inning and three in the third.

Leadoff batter Chris Kullman pulled a ringing double to right field. Ryan Stone singled to left-center and moved to second on an errant outfield throw. Kullman scored on a wild pitch and so did Stone on the same play after catcher Braden Smith mishandled the ball while scrambling to retrieve it.

In the second inning, Ayden Macwhinnie stroked a one-out single, stole second base and scored on a double by Steven White. White moved to third on Kullman’s second hit and scored on a passed ball. Kullman eventually scored on a single by Garren Post.

The playoff game was similar to Westbrook’s 4-1 win against Cheverus to end the regular season: early runs, including a three-run second where the Blue Blazes got production from the bottom of the order and help from Cheverus’ defense.

Matt Connor, who came back from an injury in the final week of the season, pitched well in relief for Cheverus, allowing one run on one hit over 4 1/3 innings.

“Same thing. We had that one inning where we didn’t play well,” said DiBiase.

Jacob Lucier’s RBI single in the fifth scored Kennedy-Johnson to cut the lead to 5-3 but Westbrook got that run back when Damon scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.

Carter Dow pitched around trouble in the seventh inning, stranding two more Stags, to earn the save.


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