Bessey Motors starter Colton Carson pitches against Yankee Ford in the American Legion baseball state tournament at Husson University in Bangor on Saturday. Carson pitched a complete game in Bessey’s 1-0 win. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)Yankee Ford’s Riley Hasson flies past second base after being tagged out by Bessey Motors shortstop Janek Luksza on a steal attempt during the American Legion baseball state tournament at Husson University in Bangor on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)
Prior to the final inning between Bessey Motors and Yankee Ford, hits came at a premium, as Bessey’s Colton Carson out-dueled Brice Springer in a 1-0 win in the opening round of the American Legion baseball state tournament Saturday.
Springer was pitching well, allowing only two hits through six innings against Bessey. Wyatt Williamson had reached first on a single to lead off the third but was caught stealing second. Hunter LaBossiere had singled with two outs in the fourth but was forced out at second two pitches later.
Bessey struggled to move base runners along all game, but head coach Shane Slicer stuck to the plan.
“It’s one of those things where you tell them that all you need is one run because Colton was pitching well,” Slicer said. “It was just a matter of time before we got our one run and they believed it.”
In the top of the seventh, Janek Luksza legged out an infield single to get the inning rolling. A sacrifice bunt by LaBossiere moved Luksza to second, setting up Emery Chickering with a man in scoring position.
Chickering struck the first pitch he saw into right field for a single that was able to drive home Luksza for the game’s only run.
“I had seen him twice and I was just waiting for the fastball,” Chickering said. “He had been painting the outside corner all game so I just waited for it.”
“They knew that Colton was giving them everything he’s got and luckily we got a bloop single, a nice bunt and then a nice RBI,” Slicer said.
Chickering’s RBI single gave Carson some breathing room.
As Carson pitched into the sixth, a no-hitter was brewing. Yankee Ford had struck out four times and hadn’t garnered a hit until the sixth. Bessey’s defense was a crucial part in upholding Carson’s no-hitter, with a diving catch by Rodney Bean in the fourth inning and Williamson catching two base runners stealing being instrumental in holding the 0-0 tie.
Carson knows how crucial his defense behind him is to his success.
“It feels great,” Carson said “It gives me all the confidence I need.”
In the bottom of the seventh, with Yankee Ford trailing by one run, Zack Johnson led off the inning with a single but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice grounder by Brogan McDonald. Yankee Ford followed up with two more singles to load the bases with just one out, putting Carson in a jam.
Bessey Motors called time and huddled up to hear what Slicer had to say. Slicer made some defensive adjustments and let Carson go to work. For Carson, as long as he had his defense, he could escape the jam.
“Going into the inning I felt pretty confident. I knew I threw strikes, but they hit the ball pretty well that inning, something that they hadn’t done through the game,” Carson said. “I still wasn’t nervous with the bases loaded. I knew that I had the defense behind me and it came out good.”
On Carson’s first pitch to Cam King, King hit a ground ball to shortstop, starting a 6-4-3 double play that ended the game with first baseman Ashton Kennison stretching out to catch the throw just before King’s foot hit the bag.
“I was toying with what I was going to do and I think just putting Carson out there on the mound told the team that we weren’t going to back down, we were going to go with him no matter what,” Slicer said. “I told the guys to watch for the suicide, it probably wasn’t a good spot for the suicide squeeze, but we are going to try to stop the guy at second to score. Defensive placement, where I wanted the outfielders, and luckily they hit it right at us.”
Bessey will play Bangor on Sunday in a battle of day-one winners.
Bessey Motors shortstop Janek Luksza tags out Yankee Ford’s Will Prescott, who was trying to steal second during the American Legion baseball state tournament at Husson University in Bangor on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)Yankee Ford’s David Drew slides back into first base safely ahead of the tag by Bessey Motors first baseman Ashton Kennison during the American Legion baseball state tournament at Husson University in Bangor on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)Bessey Motors catcher Wyatt Williamson, center, celebrates with pitcher Colton Carson (28) after Carson escaped a jab in the sixth inning of the American Legion baseball state tournament at Husson University in Bangor on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)Bessey Motors’ Janek Luksza celebrates after scoring the only run of the game in the seventh inning of Bessey’s 1-0 win over Yankee Ford at the American Legion baseball state tournament at Husson University in Bangor on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)