SOUTH PARIS – To say they were due would have been an understatement. Despite pounding the ball with a potent offense all season and a mentality that stresses offensive production, Bessey Motors had advanced to the Zone III championship game having scored just three total runs in two games, a 1-0 win over Gayton and a 2-1 squeaker over Cole Farms.

Perhaps all of the energy the players saved helped Sunday.

Paced by three hits and four runs from catcher Jeff Austin and Garrett Olson’s solid pitching performance, Bessey Motors dismantled New Auburn 11-1 in eight innings at Don Gouin Field.

Bessey Motors advance to the American Legion baseball state tournament in Augusta as the Zone III champion.

“We know we’re a good hitting team,” said Austin. “We figured we’d come around at some point. I’m just glad we picked this game to do it.”

New Auburn was coming off two games in which it had scored a combined 19 runs on 24 hits.

“After the season we had, to have won six of the last seven games to get to this point was great,” said New Auburn coach Brian Flynn. “I guess we didn’t save any runs for this game.”

Through six innings, Olson had faced the minimum number of New Auburn hitters despite allowing a walk and two hits.

“There was a ball that went off a shin and even then it still was a double play,” said Flynn. “They played spectacular defense out there. It wasn’t like we weren’t making contact.”

In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings Bessey Motors turned a double play with a man on first and nobody out to preserve for the time being Olson’s shutout.

“I wasn’t thinking much about that at all,” said Olson. “I wanted to pitch strikes. The defense was playing well so I was confident enough to let them hit the ball.”

While New Auburn struggled to find gaps in the defense, Bessey had little difficulty. After two scoreless innings, the Zone III regular-season runners-up exploded for five runs on three hits and two errors in the second to jump out top the early lead.

“We didn’t let up after getting ahead today,” said Bessey coach Shane Slicer. “With this team that normally hits very well, we weren’t sure that five runs would be enough.”

In the fifth, Kyle Kenniston, Olson, Austin, Tyler Bryant and Joe Baker all scored. Olson had a triple while Austin and Baker each had singles.

Austin again crossed the plate in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings, while Bryant joined him in the sixth and Dan Bolduc and Brent Grenier scored in the eighth to push the margin to 10.

New Auburn’s lone run came in the top of the seventh. Jay Verrill stole second after leading off with a walk and scored four batters later on Rory Flynn’s single, one of four scattered singles New Auburn managed all afternoon.

Bessey Motors used just three pitchers in the three day tournament, getting complete games from Andrew Stacy, who threw a no-hitter on Friday, Baker, who threw a four-hitter on Saturday, and Olson, who also allowed just four hits.

Bessey and Mid Coast will represent Zone III in the state tournament starting Saturday in Augusta.

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