YARMOUTH—It was the game that wouldn’t end.

And the game that no one will ever forget.

Saturday afternoon’s Class B South semifinal round showdown between the host Yarmouth Clippers and York Wildcats truly produced a little of everything.

Twists and turns, weather delays, clutch hitting and pitching and most of all, an unforgettable ending.

An ending that was longtime Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted’s wildest dream come to life in the most delicious and triumphant way possible.

The third-ranked Wildcats roared out of the gate, as senior leftfielder Ben Brown laced on a double on the first pitch of the game, came home on a booming triple from senior pitcher Brody Gullison, then Gullison scored on a sacrifice fly for a quick 2-0 lead.


The Clippers put runners on in each of the first two innings, but couldn’t answer and as the top of the third was set to begin, thunder was heard in the area, leading to a delay of 81 minutes.

When play resumed, Yarmouth senior starter Sam Bradford settled in and kept his team in the game and in the bottom of the fourth, the Clippers pushed three runs across, as senior designated hitter Aaron Mason beat out a bases loaded infield single which produced two runs, thanks to some daring baserunning.

There would be more to come.

Senior shortstop Andrew Cheever then drew a bases loaded walk to give Yarmouth the lead, but the Clippers couldn’t hold it.

In the top of the fifth, after Cheever came on in relief, two walks and a Brown single loaded the bases with no outs and then, for the second time, the game was halted, this time due to lightning.

After another 35-minute delay, York went back on top, as Gullison drew a bases loaded walk, then junior designated hitter John Jacobsohn’s ground out brought in another run to make it 4-3 Wildcats.


First Gullison, then senior reliever Leo Sullivan preserved the lead into the bottom of the seventh and when York recorded the first out, it appeared it was on the brink of a breakthrough victory.

But the proud, reigning regional champions simply refused to lose.

First, Cheever lined a base hit. Next, senior third baseman David Swift singled and then, senior centerfielder Sam Lowenstein walked to load the bases for senior first baseman Jack Janczuk.

Who would play the hero, in a most improbable way.

Halsted rolled the dice as only he can, by calling for a suicide squeeze bunt, which Janczuk laid down beautifully, easily scoring Cheever with the tying run, and when the throw went to first, Swift came flying around third base as well and dove into home to end it in breathtaking fashion, 5-4.

It took four hours and seven minutes, but Yarmouth won its fifth straight regional tournament game, improved to 14-4, ended York’s season at 12-6 and advanced to the Class B South Final against top-ranked Greely (16-2) in a game to be played at St. Joseph’s College in Standish Tuesday at 3 p.m.


“That’s got to be the best I’ve ever felt on a baseball field,” Swift said. “It was unbelievable. The fact that it was such a team effort and it took all of us over such a long period of time was pretty special.”

Whatever it takes

Yarmouth enjoyed a magical run to the state final a year ago and the Clippers have been very good again in 2024, winning 12 of 16 regular season games (see sidebar for links to previous stories), earning the No. 2 seed behind Greely for the Class B South tournament.

After a slow start Thursday, Yarmouth eliminated No. 7 Wells, 13-3, in six-innings, in the quarterfinals.

York, meanwhile, struggled with the top teams in the region, but still managed to go 11-5 in the regular season before eliminating No. 6 Leavitt, 14-3, in five-innings, in its quarterfinal Thursday.

The teams split during the regular season, as the host Clippers prevailed, 5-1 May 6 at home, then the host Wildcats returned the favor May 27 by a 10-2 score.


Yarmouth had won three of five prior playoff meetings (see sidebar).

Saturday, York appeared destined to end the Clippers’ regional title reign as it did more than enough to finish off most teams, but Yarmouth isn’t just any team and with the season hanging in the balance, it found a way to eke out one of the most improbable and glorious victories in program history.

The game began auspiciously for the Wildcats, as Brown crushed Bradford’s first offering over the head of Lowenstein in center for a ground rule double. Junior centerfielder Jack Joyce then hit the ball hard as well, but lined out to left, where senior Max Gilbert made a sprawling catch. Gullison then helped himself by going the other way on the first pitch he saw, driving the ball almost to the wall in right-center, easily scoring Brown, and Gullison didn’t stop until he sped into third with a stand-up triple. Bradford then got Jacobsohn to pop foul to Janzcuk outside first, but with Janczuk’s momentum taking him away from the plate, York coach Nick Hanlon sent Gullison home and he beat the throw. Sullivan, who began the game at first base, struck out looking, but the visitors had a quick 2-0 advantage.

In the bottom half, Gullison got ahead of Cheever 1-2, but threw three straight balls to put him on. Swift then drove the ball to deep left, but he got under just enough to make it a routine fly out. With Lowenstein at the plate, Cheever stole second, but Lowenstein struck out swinging at an off-speed pitch before Janczuk got a hold of a fastball and sent it to deep left-center, only to have Joyce haul it in just shy of the wall to retire the side.

“Jack just barrels up so many pitches,” Halsted said. “That ball’s out of every field we play in Class B, but ours is 375 (feet) to dead center.”

Yarmouth senior starter Sam Bradford delivers to York catcher Bradley Carr. Hoffer photos.

Bradford had an easier inning in the top of the second, getting junior catcher Bradley Carr to strike out on a 2-2 pitch and junior shortstop Connor Fell to ground out to second. After sophomore second baseman Robbie Hanscom blooped a single behind third, junior third baseman Lucas Ketchum lined out to Swift for the third out.


Bradford was then victimized by a line drive to third leading off, as his rocket was snared by Ketchum. Junior second baseman Alec Gagnon drew a walk, but Gilbert’s ground ball up the middle was fielded by Fell at short, who threw to Hanscom at second for one out, then Hanscom threw on to Sullivan at first for the inning-ending double play.

Brown stepped to the plate to start the third when thunder was heard in the distance and by rule, play was stopped for a minimum of 30 minutes.

That was at 1:36 p.m., and as it turned it, the fireworks were just beginning, as a heavy rainstorm, featuring hail, moved through, soaking the field. Once the thunder and lightning danger dissipated, it was up the Clippers players and coaches to make the field playable again, a job which took a good deal of time and finally, at 2:57 p.m., play could resume.

A Yarmouth player, under umpire supervision, works on the pitcher’s mound after the third inning rain delay.

“I’m never going to pretend I’m smart, but we tried to stay calm and work on the field and not make a big deal out of it,” Halsted said. “I don’t know if that worked. If it did, cool.”

Brown, as he did to start the game, then ripped an extra base hit, a double to left-center, but this time he’d be stranded, as Joyce grounded out to third, Gullison watched strike three and Jacobsohn flew out deep to left.

In the bottom half, Mason bounced out to short, senior catcher Graeme Roux watched strike three and after Cheever singled to left on a 2-2 pitch, Swift grounded out to third.


The Wildcats had an opportunity to add to the lead in the top of the fourth, but came up empty.

Sullivan drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch and sophomore courtesy runner Sam Jancovic was thrown out at second by Bradford on an attempted sacrifice bunt from Carr. Carr was then thrown out trying to steal by Roux. Fell drew a walk, but Hanscom hit a sharp one hopper to Gagnon at second, who threw him out.

Yarmouth then broke through in its half of the fourth, as its aggression on the basepaths paid dividends for the first time.

And not the last.

Lowenstein got the party started by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Janczuk then walked on a 3-1 offering. Bradford popped out foul to Carr behind the plate, but Gagnon walked on four pitches to load the bases. Gilbert struck out on a 1-2 pitch, leaving the Clippers’ hopes up to Mason, who hit a grounder between first and second and when Sullivan stumbled, Mason beat Gullison to the bag and on the play, both Lowenstein and Janczuk raced home to tie the score, with Gagnon moving to third.

Roux then walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Cheever, who watched four straight pitches sail out of the strike zone and the walk scored Gagnon for a 3-2 lead. Swift couldn’t break it open, striking out looking, but Yarmouth was in front.


But it wouldn’t last.

York’s Ben Brown lines a base hit off Yarmouth relief pitcher Andrew Cheever.

Cheever came on to pitch and had trouble finding the strike zone, walking Ketchum on a 3-1 pitch and after Brown went the other way and singled through the hole between third and short, Joyce drew a walk as well to load the bases.

That brought up Gullison, who worked the count to 2-1, but at that point, lightning was seen in the distance and once again, play was brought to a halt.

While the teams went into the high school to kill time during the first break, this time, they focused more on sustenance.

“We tried to keep it as loose as possible,” Hanlon said. “We just stayed warm and asked the parents to go get some Subway (sandwiches). We stayed energized and the guys handled it well.”

After a 35-minute break, the game resumed and Cheever threw a strike to Gullison, then missed to work the count full. After Gullison fouled a pitch off, Cheever missed just outside and the walk scored Ketchum and reloaded the bases. Jacobsohn then grounded to short, where Swift threw to Gagnon for a force out, but Brown came home with the go-ahead run. York still had runners at the corners, but the Clippers’ defense rose up and turned a double play, as Sullivan grounded into a Swift-to-Gagnon-to-Janczuk double play to keep the score 4-3, a sneaky critical moment in the contest.


Yarmouth looked to answer in the bottom half, as Lowenstein again got things started with a walk on a full count pitch, which ended Gullison’s time on the mound.

Sullivan came on and got Janczuk to pop up near the mound. Sullivan fell down, but made the catch for the first out. With Bradford at the plate, rain began to fall but the umpires vowed to play through it.

Lowenstein stole second, but Bradford flew out to center and when Lowenstein tried to advance to third, he was thrown out by Joyce to end the frame.

Carr drew a walk to lead off the top of the sixth, but Fell popped out to Swift in short left, Hanscom grounded into a second-to-short force out and Ketchum watched strike three.

The Clippers went meekly against Sullivan in the bottom half, as Gagnon flew out to right, Gilbert grounded out to third, where Fell made a nice stab and throw, and junior pinch-hitter Cade O’Meara chased strike three.

Brown continued his sizzling afternoon at the plate by grounding the first pitch he saw toward second, but when it died in the grass, he reached on the infield single. Cheever then struck out both Joyce and Gullison before Jacobsohn grounded to Swift on the first pitch he saw, which resulted in a force out on the throw to second.


Yarmouth then came to the plate hoping to keep its season alive.

It would do so, but not in a way anyone could have expected.

Senior Matt Gautreau, the Clippers’ longtime sparkplug as a leadoff hitter and second baseman, who had been sidelined with injury, came on to pinch-hit to lead off and after getting ahead in the count, 2-1, the speedy Gautreau tried to beat out a bunt, but he sent the ball right back to Sullivan and was thrown out.

“We don’t have enough time to talk about what Matt Gautreau means to our team,” Halsted said. “He got out, but he set the tone. He helped win the game even if he didn’t get on base.”

The Wildcats then needed just two outs to prevail.

They would never come.


Cheever started the rally by lining a sharp single to left on a 1-1 pitch.

“I was just keeping it simple, straight barrel of the ball,” Cheever said. “I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I just had to have the right timing and good things happened.”

Swift, who hadn’t reached all game, then lined a ball down the third base line on the first pitch he saw. It resulted in a single, moving Cheever to second.

“I was just passing the torch along, that’s the mindset,” Swift said. “Keep the line moving. Hit a line drive.”

Lowenstein was next and he worked the count full, then drew a walk for the third time.

Suddenly, the Clippers had the tying and winning runs in scoring position for Janczuk, whose bat has been as potent as anyone of late.


But instead of crushing the ball to the outfield to win it, Janczuk took a ball, watched a strike, then squared up for his moment of destiny.

With all three runners on the move, Janczuk coolly bunted the ball in front of the plate, easily scoring Cheever. Carr pounced on the ball and fired to first for the out, but as he did so, Halsted gave Swift the green light and Swift raced to the plate and beat the return throw from Ketchum to Fell and dove in and touched the plate.

At 5:10 p.m., Swift was called safe and Yarmouth had an unforgettable 5-4 victory, setting off a wild celebration.


“I was just thinking no matter what, I had to get it down,” Janczuk said. “I knew Cheever was going to be hustling home and ‘Big Rig’s’ faster than me, so he’d be hustling home too. I had no idea. I figured (Coach) would probably send Dave, but I was just trying to run. I didn’t even see it. I just heard the boys react. It was a great feeling, probably the best I’ve ever felt in sports. This says a lot about our toughness and our resilience. You can get us down, but we’re never out of it until the final pitch. We keep fighting back.”

“I trust Jack and I knew he’d get it down,” said Cheever. “As soon as I touched home, I turned around to watch Dave slide in safe.”


“I wasn’t sure, but Coach Halsted gave me the wave and I just went for it,” Swift said.

“In that situation, we thought we had the element of surprise,” Halsted added. “We had our best runner at third base and our smartest base runner at second. If I held up Swift, I’ve got Sam Bradford up and he would have absolutely finished the job. We were going to win the game either way. I sent (Swift) because of the catcher looking like he was going to throw to first. I lost my mind right there. Bases loaded. Who does that?

“You could add up every championship won by this group of players and it’s probably in the 50s or 60s. They know how to win and they want to win. I said to them before the bottom of the seventh, ‘This is what you live for every single day when you’re a soccer player, football player, hockey player, basketball player at this school. This is where you eat.’ Nobody was afraid of the situation and everybody had an excitement to take care of the situation. Our whole mission in life as teachers and coaches is to teach young people how to keep moving forward and to never give up.”

Yarmouth only mustered four hits and Cheever had half of them.

Cheever also scored a run, as did Gilbert, Janczuk, Lowenstein and of course, Swift.

Janczuk and Mason each drove in two runs with balls that didn’t leave the infield. Cheever had an RBI as well and he stole a base, as did Lowenstein.


The Clippers left five runners on base.

Bradford didn’t earn a decision, giving up two runs on four hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Cheever got the win in relief, surrendering two runs on two hits in three innings of work. Cheever walked four and fanned three.

“During the (second) break, I had a Subway sandwich and I took a nap in my car,” Cheever said. “My Mom always tells me to visualize everything I do. I came out and I knew the position I was in. I gave up two runs, but I knew the boys were going to bring me back.”


York was led by Brown, who had two doubles and two singles, scoring twice.


Gullison and Ketchum also touched the plate.

Gullison and Jacobsohn each had two RBI.

The Wildcats stranded six runners.

Gullison ended up with a no-decision, giving up three runs on two hits and eight walks in four-plus innings. He struck out four.

“Brody pitched his butt off,” Hanlon said. “We had to ask him to get loose twice during a game and maintain composure and get outs. I’m immensely proud of him. They have a very good lineup over there and he exceeded every expectation we had of him.”

Sullivan took the loss, surrendering two runs on two hits in 2.1 innings of relief. He walked one and fanned one.


York left the field in agony, but its effort was valiant.

“It was one of the weirdest baseball games I’ve ever been in,” Hanlon said. “Up-and-down. It ended in a way we’ve prepared for all year. We know that play. We’ve thrown them out on that play here on this field. They executed it a half-step before the throw. They’re a fantastic group, well-coached, in it until the end. Baseball’s about execution. We executed what we needed to do to get the out at home, but they executed a half-step better.

“You hate to lose, but we can walk away knowing we did everything we could to pull out a victory. We went down, then came back. This group has been through it together. They’ve done some special things. They don’t ever roll over and they showed a lot of fight this postseason.”

“I have so much respect for Coach Hanlon,” Halsted said. “He has great kids and they competed hard. They’re a classy program.”

The Wildcats graduate six seniors, but will return plenty of hungry players next spring, when they look to take the next step.

“We lose four seniors that contributed quite a bit, but we have a big junior class,” Hanlon said. “They have lofty goals next year and rightly so.”


Showdown in Standish

Next up is another potential classic.

Yarmouth was the only team to beat Greely this spring and the Clippers did so twice, 1-0 May 1 in Cumberland and 2-1 (in eight-innings) two weeks later at home. In fact, Yarmouth has beaten the Rangers five consecutive times over the past two seasons, including last year’s semifinals (6-1), which cut Greely’s lead to 5-3 in the teams’ all-time playoff series.

The Clippers will have their hands full Tuesday, but if you’re betting against them at this point, what’s wrong with you?

“Everyone says senior spring is special, but you don’t really appreciate it until it’s here,” said Swift. “All of us seniors will do anything we can to keep advancing.”

“We have to keep it simple and do the little things right,” Cheever said. “We know our pitchers will do their jobs and the hitters need to do their jobs too. If we do, we’ll come out on top.”

“We’ll worry about (Greely) on Monday,” Halsted added. “I have to do my job and execute a good practice Monday and they’ll be excited Tuesday. The guys will be locked in. It’s about excitement, positivity and enthusiasm.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

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