Steady play earns No. 1 Waldo County second straight titleBoth teams rap 11 hits, but five errors prove costly for No. 2 Swan Lake Grocery
Waldoboro — For a game that lasted two hours and 20 minutes, the Midcoast Babe Ruth League championship battle between No. 1 Waldo County and No. 2 Swan Lake Grocery ultimately came down to a 15-minute stretch of time.
And in that stretch on Thursday night, July 17 at Medomak Valley High School, Waldo County showed why it has been the best 13- to 15-year-old baseball team in the league all season — and the top seed in the postseason.
Waldo County (13-1) saw its first seven runners of the bottom of the fourth inning reach base, which ultimately turned into five runs, and then retired Swan Lake Grocery (11-3) in the top of the fifth inning on just seven pitches, to break a 3-3 tie and from there surged to an 11-5 victory and the Midcoast Babe Ruth League championship.
The game, an all-Waldo County affair, originally was slated to be played on Wednesday, July 16, but was moved to Thursday due to rain.
It was the second straight league championship for Waldo County, which defeated Rockland Café 7-6 in eight innings in last year's final.
Team members for Waldo County include Brandon Smith, Barrett Grant, Emmett Shell, Kyle Moore, Mitchell Philbrook, Max Thomas, Evan Thomas, Colby Furrow, Lian Cail, Cole Frey, Josh Stebbins, Dylan Dinardo, Joey Danna, Holden Dudley and Caleb Ackley. The team is managed by Mel Grant and coached by David Smith and Wally Furrow.
Team members for Swan Lake Grocery include Skylar Perkins, Lucien Gordley-Smith, Garrett Hamlin, Zach Dyer, Tristan Roberts, Peter Spectre, Grey Dinsmore, Tyler Bartlett, Zak Sheafe, Nathaniel Johnson, Konnor Harford, Alex Newcomb, Ian Snowdeal, Rick Wyman and Aaron Fuller. The team is managed by George Ross and coached by Chris Lavalle and Penson Bartlett.
Waldo County scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second, five in the fourth and three in the sixth, while Swan Lake Grocery scored one in the first, second, third, sixth and seventh innings, respectively.
Leading Waldo County at the plate Thursday were Smith (single, run, stolen base), Grant (2 singles, run, stolen base, RBI), Shell (single, run, RBI), Moore (2 singles, 2 runs), Philbrook (double, run, 2 RBIs), Max Thomas (single, stolen base), Evan Thomas (run), Furrow (2 singles, 2 runs), Cail (single, run) and Stebbins (run).
For Swan Lake Grocery, Perkins (double, single, run, RBI), Fuller (single, RBI), Hamlin (2 singles, 2 runs, stolen base), Dyer (single), Tristan Roberts (2 singles, stolen base), Spectre (single) and Dinsmore (2 singles, 2 runs) paced the offense.
Shell and Furrow pitched for Waldo County, allowing 11 hits and one walk, with four strikeouts. Dyer, Perkins, Spectre and Dinsmore toed the slab for Swan Lake Grocery, scattering 11 hits and six walks, with one strikeout.
Perkins doubled to lead off the game and later scored on an RBI-ground out by Dyer to put Swan Lake Grocery up 1-0 early, but Waldo County responded in the bottom of the frame after Philbrook belted a two-run double into deep center field to plate Shell and Moore to put the higher seed ahead one run.
Perkins tied the game in the top of the second on an RBI-single, but Furrow drew a walk and later came in on an error in the bottom of the second inning to put Waldo County up 3-2.
After Spectre plated Hamlin on an RBI-single to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the third inning for Swan Lake Grocery, things settled down for both squads until Waldo County came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Furrow and Cail kicked off the uprising with back-to-back walks, while Stebbins, looking to lay down a sacrifice bunt, reached on an error, which plated Cail to give the higher seed the lead at 4-3.
A second Swan Lake Grocery error saw Cail cross the plate, while Grant and Shell connected on RBI-singles to plate Stebbins and Smith as Waldo County's lead swelled to four runs.
Grant put Waldo County ahead 8-3 later in the frame after scoring on a wild pitch.
The first two batters of the top of the fifth inning for Swan Lake Grocery were retired on two pitches, followed by a five pitch at-bat by Roberts, which retired the side for the second seed.
Swan Lake Grocery committed five errors on the day to none for Waldo County.
Moore and Philbrook came in on an error in the top of the sixth, while Cail plated Evan Thomas on an RBI-single to round out the scoring for Waldo County. Fuller also had a sixth-inning RBI-single for Swan Lake Grocery.
Waldo County defeated No. 9 Camden 11-1 in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Rockport 11-2 in the semifinals to advance to the finals, while Swan Lake Grocery beat No. 7 Damariscotta Lions 10-4 in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Rockland Café 14-10 in the semifinals to advance to the title game.
A list of past MBRL champions include: 2013 Waldo County, 2012 Rockport Automotive, 2011 Rockport Automotive, 2010 Rockport, 2009 Rockport, 2008 Newcastle, 2007 Waldoboro, 2006 Mount View, 2005 Waldoboro, 2004 Damariscotta, 2003 Rockland, 2002 Damariscotta, 2001 Camden and 2000 Camden.