ROCKLAND — The No. 3 Damariscotta Lions were firmly cemented in the middle of the five-team championship chase throughout much of the 2021 Midcoast Babe Ruth League regular season.

However, at the end of the two-day baseball playoffs for players ages 13-15 on Sunday afternoon, July 11, the Lions roared loud and proud, playing their best ball at the right time, to emerge for their first league championship in 17 years.

The Lions (8-5), who squared off with No. 4 Granite Coast Orthodontics (4-10) in the best-of-three title clash, scored 24 runs in two games Sunday to win the title as they bested GCO 9-6 in game one and claimed the coveted Allen T. Wilcox championship trophy with a decisive, 15-2, five-inning triumph in game two.

It was the Lions’ first league title since 2004.

The players and coaches in the league were happy to have a season after the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the pandemic.

There were three single-elimination playoff games on Saturday, July 10 and two best-of-three championship series games on Sunday, July 11, at Morrill Field on Thomaston Street.

Damariscotta Lions, led by manager Allen Tomasello and coach Chris Perry, include Kaden Bartrug, A.J. Giberson, Micah Tomasello, Blake Grady, Steven Baldwin, Spencer McDaniel, Lincoln Ball, Carson Hallowell, Roan Donaghy and Hamilton Pierpan.

Granite Coast, led by manager Tom Hedstrom and coach Joe Coffey, includes Owen Hotchkin, Ezra Landry, Alden Howard, Owen McManus, Franklin Coffey, Wyatt Butcher, Robert Bixby, Thomas Leadbetter, Gavin Campbell, Wesley Mayhorn, Jethro Ward, Brennan Wright, Micah Fagonde and Zyric Barrows. The squad played with a heavy heart this season as team member Theodore Hedstrom, son of Granite Coast’s manager Tom Hedstrom, lost his life in a house fire in Camden during the winter.

Damariscotta Lions, 2021 Midcoast Babe Ruth League baseball champions. Don Shields

On Saturday, July 10, it was “a great day of playoff baseball,” according to longtime league president Don Shields, as the three first-round games — two of which ended in upset victories by the lower seeds — were decided by one run.

No. 4 Granite Coast Orthodontics walked off with a 7-6 win over No. 5 P.G. Willey (1-10) and outlasted top-seeded Waldoboro (9-2) 9-7 before the No. 3 Lions bested No. 2 Rockland Ford (8-3) 7-6.

The more recent previous league champions included: Tidewater Oil 2019, Rockland Ford 2018, Union Farm Equipment 2017, Swan Lake Grocery 2016, Waldo County 2015, Waldo County 2014, Waldo County 2013, Rockport Automotive 2012, Rockport Automotive 2011, Rockport 2010, Rockport 2009, Newcastle 2008, Waldoboro 2007, Mount View 2006, Waldoboro 2005, Damariscotta 2004, Rockland 2003, Damariscotta 2002, Camden 2001 and Camden 2000.

Additionally, the league will field an all-star team for the 13- to 15-year-old state tournament, which begins on Thursday, July 15 at the CARA Complex (Morton and McGuire Fields), Piggery Road, in Augusta. That day Midcoast will play Capital Area at 5 p.m. on Morton Field.

Midcoast will be represented by A.J. Giberson and Micah Tomasello from Damariscotta Lions; Josh Blake, Porter Gahagan, Gabe Lash and Sam Moody from Waldoboro; and Blade Brann, Dominic Frisone, Bryson Mattox, Taygan McAllister, Gavin Ripley, Gilbert Stewart, Jacob Watkinson and Dylan Winslow from Rockland Ford.

Don Shields from Rockland Ford will be the manager, with Allen Tomasello from Damariscotta and Matt Moody from Waldoboro the coaches.

Teams from Skowhegan, Tri-County and Saco Bay also will participate in the double-elimination tournament that runs through Sunday, July 18.

The state champion will advance to the New England Tournament, beginning on Friday, July 23 in Trumbull, Conn.

The following is a recap of reported playoff results:

No. 3 Damariscotta Lions 15, No. 4 Granite Coast Orthodontics 2 (5 inns.)

At Rockland July 11, the Lions roared past the lower seed and claimed the coveted Midcoast Babe Ruth League title. The Lions scored three in the first, three in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth and seven in the fifth, while Granite Coast Orthodontics scored two in the fourth.

The newly-crowned league champs were led at the plate by Bartrug (3 runs, stolen base), Giberson (double, 2 singles, 2 runs, stolen base), Tomasello (2 singles, 2 runs), Grady (single, 2 runs), Baldwin (run), McDaniel (double, run), Pierpan (single, 2 runs) and Hallowell (double, run).

For Granite Coast Orthodontics, Hotchkin (double, run, stolen base) and Landry (single, run, 2 stolen bases) paced the offense.

Bixby, Landry, Fagonde and Howard pitched for GCO and allowed nine hits and nine walks, with three strikeouts. Giberson went the distance on the hill for the Lions and allowed two hits and one walk, with nine strikeouts.

Granite Coast’s Franklin Coffey. Ken Waltz

No. 3 Damariscotta Lions 9, No. 4 Granite Coast Orthodontics 6

At Rockland July 11, the Lions took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship series with a three-run win over GCO. The Lions scored four runs in the first, two in the second and one in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, while Granite Coast Orthodontics tallied one in the first, one in the fourth and four in the sixth.

Bartrug (3 runs, 2 stolen bases), Giberson (single, run, stolen base), Tomasello (double, 2 singles, 2 runs, 2 stolen bases), Grady (run), Baldwin (2 singles, 2 runs, 3 stolen bases) and Ball (single) led the Lion offense.

Hotchkin (run), Landry (2 singles, 2 stolen bases), Howard (single), McManus (single, 2 runs, 2 stolen bases), Coffey (double, run), Ward (run), Barrows (run) and Mayhorn (single) keyed GCO.

Hotchkin and Fagonde pitched for Granite Coast Orthodontics and allowed seven hits, six walks and three hit batters, with four strikeouts. Bartrug, Giberson and Donaghy pitched for the Lions and allowed six hits, six walks and one hit batter, with seven strikeouts.

Granite Coast’s Owen McManus, right. Ken Waltz

No. 4 Granite Coast Orthodontics 9, No. 1 Waldoboro 7

At Rockland July 10, Granite Coast Orthodontics knocked off the top seed in the tournament to advance to Sunday’s championship final. GCO scored three runs in the third inning and six in the fourth, while Waldoboro plated one in the second, two in the sixth and four in the seventh.

Granite Coast Orthodontics was led at the plate by Hotchkin (single, 2 runs), Landry (double, run), Howard (single, 3 stolen bases), McManus (run), Bixby (single, run), Leadbetter (run), Ward (single, run), Fagonde (run) and Mayhorn (run).

For Waldoboro, Jaiden Starr (run), Aaron Reed (single), Gabe Lash (2 runs), Isaac Simmons (run), Sam Moody (single, run), Kyle Smith (2 singles), Porter Gahagan (2 singles), Eli Pluecker (run) and Josh Blake (double, run) paced the offense.

Simmons, Reed, Lash and Smith pitched for Waldoboro and combined to allow five hits and seven walks, with 11 strikeouts. Coffey and Leadbetter pitched for GCO and allowed seven hits and three walks, with four strikeouts.

Damariscotta’s Spencer McDaniel. Ken Waltz

No. 4 Granite Coast Orthodontics 7, No. 5 P.G. Willey 6

At Rockland July 10, Hotchkin stole home in the bottom of the seventh inning as Granite Coast Orthodontics walked off with a thrilling victory. GCO scored one run in the second, three in the fourth and one in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, while P.G. Willey plated one in the first, one in the fifth and four in the sixth.

Hotchkin (run), Howard (single, run, stolen base), McManus (single, run, 2 stolen bases), Coffey (2 runs, 2 stolen bases), Bixby (single), Barrows (single, run) and Campbell (single) led GCO at the plate.

P.G. Willey was keyed by Walker Hedrich (single, 2 runs, stolen base), Butler (single, run, stolen base), Aldrich (run), Kai Young (2 singles), Laidlaw (run) and M. Mitchell (run).

Butler and Leonard pitched for P.G. Willey and allowed five hits and two walks, with 14 strikeouts. McManus, Howard and Leadbetter pitched for GCO and allowed four hits and nine walks, with 12 strikeouts.

Damariscotta’s Micah Tomasello, right, and Granite Coast’s Owen Hotchkin. Ken Waltz

Regular-Season Scores

Rockland Ford 8, Damariscotta Lions 5.

Waldoboro 12, P.G. Wiley 1.

Waldoboro 10, Rockland Ford 4.

Damariscotta Lions 11, Granite Coast 3.

Granite Coast 3, P.G. Willey 0.

P.G. Willey 11, Granite Coast 10.

Waldoboro 6, Damariscotta Lions 2.

Rockland Ford 16, P.G. Willey 6.

Waldoboro 16, Granite Coast 1. (5 inns.)

Waldoboro 13, Damariscotta Lions 6.

Rockland Ford 9, Damariscotta Lions 2.

Rockland Ford 10, Granite Coast 0.

Damariscotta 11, P.G. Willey 3.

Waldoboro 17, P.G. Willey 2.

Waldoboro 7, Rockland Ford 6. (9 inns.)

Damariscotta Lions 5, Granite Coast 4.

Granite Coast 14, P.G. Willey 12.

Rockland Ford 12, P.G. Willey 0.

Waldoboro 7, Granite Coast 1.

Rockland Ford 11, Granite Coast 1. (5 inns.)

Rockland Ford 3, Damariscotta Lions 2.

Damariscotta Lions 12, P.G. Willey 4.

Waldoboro 18, P.G. Willey 0.

Rockland Ford 10, Waldoboro 5.

Damariscotta Lions 18, Granite Coast 4.

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