GORHAM — One run was enough for Monmouth Academy and junior pitcher Sam Calder to knock off top-seeded and high-scoring Sacopee Valley in the Class C South baseball final Wednesday at the University of Southern Maine.

The Hawks (18-1) outscored their regular-season opponents 153-19, but Calder’s ability to change speeds and locations allowed him to escape jams in the fourth and sixth innings and complete a 1-0 victory.

“We picked the wrong day not to hit. No team has done that to us before,” said Sacopee Valley Coach Jamie Stacey. “Hats off to them for doing it, but the timely hitting just wasn’t there.”

Monmouth (18-1), which was the No. 2 seed, returns to the state final for the second time in three seasons. The Mustangs will play Mattanawcook Academy or Bucksport at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at USM.

Monmouth had just three hits against Sacopee pitcher Brady Cummings, who struck out six and walked one. Calder, meanwhile, allowed six hits.

Monmouth’s unearned run came in the third. Calder, leading off, reached on a throwing error, then moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Hunter Frost and a bunt single by No. 9 hitter Brandon Smith. With one out, Kyle Palleschi drove a pitch to right-center for a sacrifice fly.


“I mean, with a runner on third, I was just trying to hit the ball the other way and give him a chance to score,” Palleschi said.

Sacopee had runners at second and third with one out in the fourth but was thwarted by third baseman Owen Harding, who took a sharp grounder from Austin Croteau off his lower leg but stayed with the play to throw out the Sacopee catcher. Calder got pinch hitter Dylan Capano on a fly to left to end the inning.

“A lot of it was just make sure I could locate my off-speed and locate low in the zone so they couldn’t get barrels to it, and get a lot of ground balls,” Calder said.

In the sixth, Sacopee senior Carson Black (2 for 3) reached on a one-out error and went to third on a wild pick-off attempt by Calder. Monmouth intentionally walked Caleb Vacchiano. Calder struck out Brady Metcalf, who had singled in his first two at-bats, on a slow curve, and then – after another intentional walk to load the bases – Cummings grounded to third to end.

“We had plenty of chances, we just didn’t capitalize,” Cummings said.

Now, an experienced Monmouth team gets another shot at a state championship. In 2021, the Mustangs lost 5-0 to Orono in the state final.

“I think … pretty much everybody that starts played in that state championship game, one way or another. We’re all older. We’re all experienced, and we all made a goal to get back there this year,” Palleschi said.


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