STANDISH – The law of averages dictated that a play at the plate was going to have to go Oak Hill’s way eventually.

And for the Raiders, one out of four was good enough for a regional title.

Mike Eaton raced home after reliever Sam Green’s first pitch sailed to the backstop for what turned out to be the winning run in the the seventh inning, as seventh-seeded Oak Hill top-seeded Greely, 6-5 in the Western Maine Class B championship game Thursday night at Mahaney Diamond.

The Raiders (15-5) will meet Eastern Maine champion Bucksport for the state title Saturday in Bangor. Oak Hill beat Bucksport the last time it played for the state title, in 2003.

Green came on in relief of starter Jake Richardson with runners at first and third and one out. His first pitch sailed high, bounced off the glove of catcher Paul Valente and to the backstop. Oak Hill had had three runners thrown out at the plate over the course of the game, but Eaton didn’t hesitate from third, and slid in just before Valente’s throw to Green covering at home.

“I don’t even think about it. Coach (Chad Drouin) said go, so I went,” Eaton said. “I just play the game.”

“Sam came in and had a lot of adrenaline and he just uncorked one,” said Greely coach Derek Soule. “It’s too bad. He’s had a great career. It’s a tough situation to put him in.”

Senior Brian Bisson, who has been closing games for the Raiders all year, picked up his first win after wiggling his way out of a two-on, one-out jam in relief of Eaton in the fifth. He then retired eight of the last 10 batters to uncork Oak Hill’s wild celebration.

“I just put everything out on the line,” said Bisson. “I like following Mike because he throws off-speed pitches and I come in and usually throw fastballs, so it helps out a lot.”

“The guys thought all week that this was going to be an absolute battle from start to end, and it was,” Oak Hill coach Chad Drouin said.

The Raiders wanted to force Greely’s defense to make plays, which the Rangers did almost from the outset. Eaton cracked a triple over center fielder Chris D’Alessandro’s head in the first inning. Ethan Guerette scored from second and Devon Eaton tried to follow suit from first, but he hesitated around third and was cut down at the plate on a perfect relay throw from behind the second-base bag by Green.

The game became a see-saw affair after that. Greely (16-3) took the lead on Richardson’s two-run double in the second. Oak Hill recaptured it temporarily on a throwing error by Green in the third, but the Rangers went back on top again in the bottom of the frame on run-scoring hits by Christian Robinson, Matt McDonough and Richardson that made it 5-3.

Oak Hill cut the lead in half when a grounder to second by Guerette took a bad hop and bounced into right field, allowing Eric Daniels to score. The Raiders missed an opportunity to tie it, though, when Dean Stowell got a little too eager at third and broke for home as Richardson went into the set position and was cut down.

The Raiders tied the game in the fifth when Josh Jillson scored on Wally Rines’ double to center, but Green executed another perfect relay on the play to throw out Bisson at the plate.

“I put us in a tough spot a couple of times getting guys thrown out at the plate, but the scouting report was I needed to put pressure on their defense,” Drouin said. “It didn’t pay off. They made the plays and it kept them in the game.”


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