STANDISH — Sacopee Valley’s season has officially gone from storybook to sublime.

For the second game in a row, the fourth-seeded Hawks rallied in the seventh inning to beat a Mountain Valley Conference foe on Tuesday, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to defeat No. 3 St. Dom’s, 4-2, and win the Western C baseball title at Mahaney Diamond on the campus of St. Joseph’s College.

It is Sacopee’s first Western C championship since 1993, when it went on to win the state championship.

The Hawks also became the first Western Maine Conference team to win the region since, ironically, St. Dom’s did it in 2009, its final season in the league. The last team from the WMC to win the title other than St. Dom’s was Falmouth in 1998.

The only unbeaten team in the state, Sacopee (19-0) will face Eastern Maine champion Washington Academy for the state title Saturday at St. Joe’s at 4:30 p.m..

In Saturday’s semifinal, Sacopee came from four runs down in the seventh to beat top-seeded Monmouth Academy. Tuesday’s deficit wasn’t as daunting.

“Lately, it’s kind of been our thing,” said senior pitcher Anthony Haskell, who fought through first-inning nerves to keep the Hawks’ early deficit at just two runs, then held the Saints scoreless the rest of the way.”We get down early and come back at the end. We’ve pulled it off so many times lately, it’s just kind of become second nature.”

Sacopee cut the deficit in half in the sixth when Brady Anderson belted a one-out triple off Saints starter Mitch Lorenz, then scored on Roderick Maynard’s infield single.

St. Dom’s, which had multiple opportunities to add to its lead (six of seven runners stranded in scoring position) anticipated more pressure from the Hawks in the seventh, but was ultimately powerless to stop it.

“You knew there was going to be a run,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “Mitch pitched great. We weren’t concerned with his pitch count or anything. It was pretty modest. But when momentum changes, it changes. So it fell apart at that time.”

Haskell reached on an errant throw by Lorenz to start the seventh. Craig Dunnells followed with a single — putting runners at first and third — then stole second.

With the infield playing in, Saints shortstop Caleb Dostie made a terrific play on Alex Fenderson’s high chopper and threw Haskell out at the plate to temporarily maintain the lead.

“It’s just too bad for him to make a play like that and not have it come through for us. I wish it was the third out of the inning, not the first,” Blackman said.

Fenderson stole second uncontested, putting runners at second and third once again. D.J. O’Shea followed with a fly to shallow right. Chase Hainey stumbled and fell charging in on it, but was still upright enough to get the ball in his glove. It popped out as he went to the ground again, however, and Dunnells raced home with the tying run.

Michael Pingree drove in Fenderson with the winning run on a flare to shallow left that dropped between a diving Dostie and sliding left fielder Matt Keaney.

“With a guy at third, I was just trying to drive him home, get that third run in and take the lead,” Pingree said. “There’s no doubt on this team. We battle back all the time. There hasn’t been a game that we’ve given up on yet.”

Shea scored the insurance run on a wild pitch, although he may have helped force Lorenz off-target by breaking for home as he delivered to the plate, which Shea may have had stolen anyway.

The Saints (14-5) threatened in the bottom of the frame. Keaney walked and Dostie singled with one out. Haskell uncorked a wild pitch to put the tying runs in scoring position. But he got Mike Richard to ground into a force out at third and struck out Lorenz looking to set off the Hawks’ wild celebration.

“I wish we could get a 10-run lead early and hold onto it,” Sacopee coach Eric Anderson said. “We’ve won three or four games this way. A lot of times, I question whether they’re really intense. But I think they’re used to getting beat down at practice and this is nothing to them. They don’t feel the pressure. It’s a fun team to coach.”

Haskell, a Maine Mr. Baseball finalist, nearly imploded in the first inning, issuing back-to-back walks to Dostie and Richard at the start, making a wild bunt on Lorenz’s sacrifice bunt to score Dostie, then allowing another walk.

Anderson paid a mound visit to calm his senior down.

“He was very nervous in practice (Monday). When he threw his bullpen, he couldn’t even throw a strike,” Anderson said. “Today, he was nervous when he came out and I think it showed the first inning. But we stopped the bleeding, which was huge.”

Ray Mosca’s sacrifice fly was the last drop of blood. St. Dom’s left runners at second and third, setting the tone for later squanders, such as leaving Richard at third with one out after he led off the third with a double, and stranding Mosca at third with one out in the fourth.

“We just couldn’t get the hit with runners in scoring position,” Blackman said. “We just couldn’t get that key hit, and that’s what it boiled down to.”

Lorenz (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 2 BB) cruised through the first two innings on 17 pitches, then worked around a pair of walks in the third. He didn’t allow a hit until Shea’s clean one-out single in the fifth. He promptly erased Shea without throwing a pitching, picking him off after a 1-3-6-1 rundown.

It was a rare mental mistake for the Hawks, but certainly not anything they didn’t believe they could overcome.

“I felt like no one believed in us. I felt like we were the underdogs the whole way,” said Haskell, who allowed just four hits, struck out seven and walked five. “I knew we could do this. I know we can win the one this weekend.”


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