STANDISH — Both offenses in Tuesday night's Western Class D final had plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard.
Pitchers Jordan Richard of Rangeley and Greenville's Jeremy St. Louis teased the opposition all night with walks and the occasional hit. Then, with a little extra behind their fastball or a fine play behind them in the field, they would pull the rug out from under the run column on the scoreboard.
Top-seeded Greenville finally scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to break a scoreless tie and blanked No. 2 Rangeley, 2-0, at Mahaney Diamond on the campus of St. Joseph's College. Greenville (14-2) will face the winner of Wednesday's Eastern D final between Katahdin and Bangor Christian on Saturday.
"It feels great. It couldn't feel better," said St. Louis, whose team won its first regional title since 1990. "It hasn't really sunk in yet, but it will."
Shawn Mills sparked the winning rally by following a lead-off walk to Nathan Fenn with a single, putting runners at first and second with none out.
A strikeout and then a walk to Henry Hersey loaded the bases. Bryce Breton hit a chopper to third that deflected off the glove of third baseman Tyler Castle on the in-between hop and pinch runner Zach LaBrecque raced home with what proved to be the winning run.
After a fly out to left, with Steve Bilodeau, who had three of Greenville's four hits, at the plate, Richard, with his pitch count around 130, issued a four-pitch walk, bringing Mills home with an insurance run.
"Jordan threw a lot of pitches, so he was getting a little tired there towards the end," Rangeley coach Mark Gordon said. "He's had a great year. That's only his second loss of the year."
Rangeley had a shot at an early lead when Alex Morton walked and Richard singled with one out. Zeke Hall's grounder to second moved both runners into scoring position.
Eric White followed with a ground ball in the hole between short and third. Mills ranged to his right, backhanded the ball, set himself and fired to first just in time to get White and save at least one run, and likely two.
"I think that was the key play of the game," Greenville coach Tyler Muzzy said. "That was one of the best plays I've seen all year. It saved a run or two. They had situations all game where they had runners in scoring position and we just battled."
Greenville put a runner on in each of the first three innings but didn't threaten seriously until the fourth, when Richard suddenly lost the strike zone.
Richard (10 strikeouts, 7 walks) walked three in the inning, including a two-out free pass to Hersey that loaded the bases. He then fell behind No. 9 hitter Breton before battling back with strikes on the next three pitches, including a swinging strike three that ended the threat.
Rangeley (9-6) threatened again in the sixth when St. Louis issued back-to-back walks to start the inning. He fanned the next two batters, however, and got a pop out to second for the rally killer.
"I got a little nervous and a little shaken up, so I just had to take my time, step off, regroup myself, step back on and go through my motions the way I know I can," St. Louis said. "After that first inning, I kind of settled down a little bit, got into a rhythm."
St. Louis struck out 10, walked seven and only gave up two hits.
Fittingly, the game ended with another Rangeley threat. With one out and a runner at first, Cam Searles singled to put the tying run aboard. St. Louis got Morton looking, then fired his final pitch so hard that Richard swung and missed and the ball sailed to the backstop. Catcher Breton played it off the backstop and calmly threw to first to end the game.
"Jeremy is very mentally strong and nothing rattles him," Muzzy said. "He averages 12 strikeouts a game and two walks, so he knows what he's doing out there."