AUBURN — When it came to picking favorites in the preseason, the chatter among Class A North coaches bounced around several teams.

When they were asked who might be a surprise team in 2017, one name came up repeatedly, Mt. Ararat.

Edward Little coach Dave Jordan was among those who touted the Eagles in the preseason, and with good reason. Last year, the second-seeded Red Eddies had to fight tooth-and-nail to eliminate the sixth-seeded Eagles with a walk-off win in the regional semifinals. An equally tense 2-1 win last May 24 and a quarterfinal upset over No. 2 Brewer merely reinforced his belief that the Eagles were a dangerous team.

In Saturday’s Class A North semifinal, the Eagles, seeded seventh this time, went from dangerous to lethal, eliminating the third-seeded Red Eddies, 4-2, at Auburn Suburban Little League’s Austin Field.

“Winning games against these top seeds, it just makes us more confident about ourselves,” Mt. Ararat junior left fielder Kyle Brennan said. “We want to get to that state championship.”

Hunter Lohr, who pitched well for Mt. Ararat in its regular-season loss to EL, scattered seven hits over six innings, and Brennan went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to help the Eagles (10-8) advance to Wednesday’s regional final against No. 2 Bangor in Augusta.

Lohr (five strikeouts, two walks), a diminutive sophomore righty with a high leg kick and herky-jerky motion, allowed at least one baserunner in every inning. But he buckled down when he needed to and stranded nine Red Eddies (14-4).

“I thought of what one of my prior coaches said to me, there’s no real difference between this game and any other game, I’ve just got to do what I can,” Lohr said. “My defense was really the key.”

“I think the key today was us making the plays in the field,” Mt. Ararat coach Bob Neron said. “When we had to make a play, we made a play.”

Mt. Ararat committed two errors, both of which Lohr was able to pitch around. Edward Little made four errors which led to two of the Eagles’ four runs being unearned.

“(Lohr) was better today (than the first meeting),” Jordan said. “I thought he had good control. He hit his spots. Cam (Cox) behind the plate is a fantastic catcher. I think they knew every inch to work in terms of what they would get for a strike.”

“There were some key situations I thought we didn’t hit the ball as well with men in scoring position. Sometimes we were a little impatient,” Jordan added. “Overall, I thought we hit the ball. We just didn’t get the big hit when we had guys in scoring position, and that’s a credit to his pitching and their defense.”

The first three innings ended in frustration for the Eddies after stranding a runner at third base in each frame and five overall. The Eagles, meanwhile, got a two-out RBI single by Brennan in the second to take a 1-0 lead.

“It was a big day,” Brennan said. “I just wanted to get those runners in. You know one run’s not going to beat this team. A one-run game is what I expect playing EL, every single time.”

“He’s really done okay all year long. He wanted to be up higher in the batting order, but it’s valuable to have a guy down there that can get on base,” Neron said. “He had a big game.”

EL pitcher Damien St. Pierre stranded a baserunner in each of the first four innings and two in the fifth to keep it a one-run game.

In their half of the fifth, the Red Eddies finally broke through against Lohr, loading the bases with one out before tying it on Tyler Blanchard’s sacrifice fly to right and taking a 2-1 lead on Ian Brushwein’s single to right.

Mt. Ararat answered immediately, and again it was Brennan who had the big hit, a one-out RBI single, to tie it. The go-ahead run later scored from second when the Eddies tried to turn a double play and the throw to first sailed high.

Another error set up the Eagles’ fourth run in the second, delivered by Brennan’s third RBI single.

Mt. Ararat closer Cam Grant came on in the seventh and ended it with the only 1-2-3 inning of the game, thanks in part to a leaping grab at second by Garrett Moody to snare a Grant Hartley line drive that appeared ticketed for right-center.

“This is the second year in a row that they’ve come out of a lower seed,” Jordan said of the Eagles. “Last year, they knocked off a higher-seeded team (Oxford Hills) in the first round, got to this spot and played us a real tough game. They did the same thing this year, got here and finished the job. Credit to Bob. He’s put in so much time down there with that Mt. Ararat program. Although I’m very disappointed that we’re not playing next week, I am happy for him because he’s a great guy.”

“We knew all along that if we were going to go anywhere we’d have to come through here to get where we wanted to go,” Neron said. “Those guys played really well over there. I’ve got to tip my hat to them. They’re the most well-prepared team I think we’ve seen all year long.”

EL graduates nine seniors, including six starters.

“I thought that our guys gave it their best shot,” Jordan said. “They worked hard every day. We have a lot of seniors who have dedicated a lot of time to the program. I can’t thank them enough. I thought we had some young guys who stepped up and played some great roles for us.”