STANDISK – Baseball teams Searsport and Richmond have made the meeting for a place in the Class D state championship a routine. The games are not always close.
Wednesday afternoon, the latest edition of the regional rivalry between the Vikings and the bobcats, gave an exception.
Nate Ashey scored twice, including a clear jump at the top of the seventh, to help bring back an impressive outing from Josh Wright and lead the No. 3 Searsport back to the Class D final with a 4-3 victory over No. 1 Richmond at St. Joseph’s College Larry Mahaney Diamond.
Searsport improved to 9-10. Richmond finished 13-3.
“We found it just in time,” said Searsport coach John Frye, whose team lost a 3-0 lead before meeting the seventh. “Two great programs that fought with it, and some had to win today. It’s too bad, both teams are very good. ”
“We’re come a long way since preseason,” Ashey said. “Our team is capable of many things.”
Richmond played Searsport in the regional finals for the fifth time in six seasons, after losing 11-1 in 2019, 6-2 in ’17 and 13-3 in ’15 and winning 14-6 in 2018. Bobcats made it to the edge to their fifth Class D final since 2006, despite only having one shortstop senior and pitcher Andrew Vachon.
“(It came down to) one hit, and two of their runs were hit batsmen and one was a trip,” Richmond coach Ryan Gardner said. “Too many gifts from us, but we fought back. We have a senior. I’m so proud of the kids. We just didn’t get the hit we needed. ”
Richmond scored races in the fourth, fifth and then sixth to tie it. In the Searsport excavation, the Viking, even a young man with only three older and ten first-year students and second-year students, was not rattled.
“Nothing bothers them,” Frye said. “They do not come down, they do not get nervous, because they have not been there. So they do not know. ”
Ashey started the seventh by drawing a turn and stealing others. Sam Cahill dropped a bundle to move him to third, and catcher Hunter Mason had to scramble to try to get out first. The throw went wrong, so Ashey could come home with the clear signal.
Richmond threatened immediately at the bottom, with Max Viselli pulling a one-turn and Chance Taylor following one out later with a single up the middle that put runners in the corners.
Wright, junior, was over 100 places, but he was determined to finish what he started. His 108th pitch popped up behind the plate, and Ashey made the catch to complete the game.
Wright finished with six strikes and a walk while allowing nine hits.
“This was the goal from the beginning. We talked about it in the first exercise, “Wright said. “There’s nothing better in high school than a championship. … I started to get a little tired, but I carried down, focused and gave what I had.”
Searsport scored his first run when Ashey was hit with the match’s first pitch and then scored on Wright’s double to deep left. The Vikings got two more in the fourth on Chase Brassbridge’s double and Gage Ellis’ single.
Richmond quickly climbed out of the hole. Vachon single and scored on a foul in the fourth, eighth-grader Zander Steele single and scored on a Viselli single in the fifth, and Connor Vashon single, moved up on Mason’s single and scored on another hit from Steele in the sixth.
Gardner, who got four innings on the mound from Cole Alexander and three from Andrew Vachon, said the Bobcats knew they would have a chance to come back as the game went on.
“We hit the ball hard. We just got too much air under the ball, “he said. “We needed more ground balls. We started doing that, I think they started building confidence, and I think we got to (Searsport) a bit, and ran the bases like we usually do. ”
The comeback eventually fell, but the mood among the Bobcats was still high.
“(This season) was a lot more than I expected, to be honest,” said Andrew Vachon. “Personally, a loss right now makes them want more. I bet they want it next year. ”
“I asked them to channel it,” Gardner said. “You have to go out there and go ‘I want to be that made’ next year. ‘I want to feel that way.’ “