BANGOR — If one of those baseball purists ever gets in your ear and says there’s never a good reason to slide into first base, show him a tape of Pastime Club’s Kyle Ullrich hustling to safety in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon.

Pinch hitter Ullrich’s hook slide beat a wide throw and evaded Franklin County first baseman Cam Abbott’s tag to lead off the rally in a deadlocked American Legion state tournament game.

Those efforts turned it over to the top of the order, where Gage Cote’s bunt single and Mike Wong’s base hit to center ushered Ullrich home for a 3-2 victory in a sensational battle at Winkin Complex.

“He’s put me in that situation the last three games before that. I’ve done that and gotten on base,” Ullrich of his conversations with manager Dave Jordan. “I’ve got to be ready at all times. He keeps telling me my time is coming, and that was my time.”

Pastime (17-5) moved into the winner’s bracket to face the victor of Wednesday’s late game between Bangor and Morrill Post of South Portland at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Franklin (12-9) falls into an elimination contest against the loser of Bangor-South Portland at 12:30 p.m.

Ullrich, Cote and Wong made a winner of Kyle Bourget, who out-dueled Franklin County’s Amos Herrin in a battle of two bulldogs who refused to blink.

“They had a lot of people on. I just had to hit spots,” Bourget said. “The defense made key plays and I got out of it, pretty much every inning.”

Bourget’s 1-2-3 inning in the ninth was only his second spotless frame of the day. He allowed six hits and struck out four. Herrin whiffed nine and allowed only one earned run.

Franklin County trailed and rallied to tie twice before its third error exacted a game-ending toll.

“They got it at the end,” Franklin manager Kyle Gunzinger said. “They’re a great group of kids. They fought through. They were fun to play against.”

Ullrich batted for Brady Cusson, who previously entered the game to replace Matt Keaney.

“Kyle is one of those guys that he’s got a good bat, and he’s also one of our best pitchers. We’ve been getting some great starts from our pitchers, so it’s been tough for him,” Jordan said. “He’s been biding his time. We’ve been saying to the guys, ‘Be ready when it’s your spot,’ and he proved it today when he came up and made a fantastic slide to get on and then ran the bases well and got the winning run in.”

In addition to his game-winning line drive, Wong tripled to lead off the sixth and scored on Ryan Riordan’s opposite-field single down the right field line.

He also reached on an error when Pastime loaded the bases in the seventh, only to see Herrin escape.

“I could tell (Herrin) was getting tired toward the end of the game, and I took advantage of that curve ball,” Wong said. “It’s all about stringing them together, so we did a good job. When we got on base, we hit. That’s what matters.”

Franklin County tied it 2-2 in the eighth.

Andrew Pratt and Abbott led off with walks. After Bourget struck out Jay Chenard looking, Scottie Hall hit a hard one-hopper off Bourget’s glove toward second base. Pastime got the force out, but in its fervor to complete the potential inning-ending double play at first, the late, errant throw allowed Pratt to race home from third.

Pastime advanced Bourget to third with one out in its half of the eighth thanks to a single, stolen base and throwing error. After Alex Small walked on a full count, Caleb Dostie’s squeeze bunt took a true roll to Herrin’s feet. The pitcher gloved it and flipped to Pratt, retiring Bourget at home by 10 feet.

Herrin fanned Austin Wing to end the inning.

“We put them in position where we asked them to execute. We tried to work on slowing the game down physically and mentally. Focus and relax and see the ball and hit the ball,” Jordan said. “There were times when we didn’t, but when push came to shove, we had some guys come up pretty clutch for us.”

Patient at the plate and aggressive on the base paths, Pastime pushed across a run with two out in the bottom of the first.

Riordan walked before racing to second on a passed ball. Carter Chabot then worked Herrin to a full count and laced an RBI single to right field.

“We had big outs and key hits,” said Bourget, who went 2-for-4. “We were always staying up, being loud.”

Pastime’s second inning started with promise on Bourget’s infield single and a walk by Small.

Herrin narrowly nabbed Dostie at first on a sacrifice bunt before he escaped the jam, sending R.J. Sargent and Keaney down swinging. Dostie’s out started a stretch in which Herrin sat down 12 of 13 Pastime hopefuls.

A flurry of early Franklin opportunities against Bourget went by the boards.

Colton Lawrence singled and Pratt was plunked by a Bourget offering in the first. Chenard’s base hit preceded Herrin’s walk in the second. Ryan Greenman reached with a leadoff single in the third.

Pastime avoided damage each time. Wong, Dostie and Chabot turned a 6-4-3 double play to get Pastime and Bourget out of the second.

“We had a couple of chances where it was first and second and we couldn’t get a bunt down and maybe that allows you to do something,” Gunzinger said. “But that other team’s a good team. That kid’s a gutsy kid. Great pitcher, man.”

The Flyers finally cleared that hurdle in the fourth. Abbott’s single and a Chenard walk christened a tying rally. Herrin (2-for-3) ripped a one-out double to the gap in right center, scoring Abbott.

Bourget buckled down, getting Charlie Martin on a sharply hit grounder and striking out Greenman to strand two in scoring position.

“I didn’t expect (a complete game), but with Kyle, he’s a competitor,” Jordan said. “This was his first taste of the tournament. Seeing him out there, it was hard to take him out, so we didn’t. I’m glad that we won it when we did.”


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