LEWISTON — York first baseman Jack Joyce hit a home run in the first inning, and teammate Lucas Ketchum took notice.

“When Jack was at-bat, coach told him to clear his mind,” Ketchum said.

Ketchum did the same in the bottom of the sixth inning, and he hit a towering two-run home run to push York Little League to a 5-3 win over Lewiston All-Stars in the Maine Little League 11/12 state tournament Tuesday. 

“It felt good,” Ketchum said of the walk-off homer.

Lewiston relief pitcher Joe Dube reacts after striking out three batters with two runners on and no outs in the fifth inning against York on Tuesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

 

York was on the verge of breaking the 3-3 tie an inning earlier, but Lewiston’s Joe Dube shut down a two-on, no-out threat. Dube took the mound, relieving Ethan Pelletier, who pitched two innings of shutout ball, and went on to strike out the next three batters, and exited the field with a roaring battle cry. 

Lewiston then went down in order in the top of the sixth, giving York one more chance in the bottom-half of the frame. York starter John Jacobsohn reached on a single to right field, giving Ketchum a base runner to attempt move along. 

Ketchum did more than just advance the runner. He crushed the fourth pitch he saw into left-center field off the roof of the snack shack at Giroux Field. 

“We tell them the same thing, ‘Stay humble,’” York coach Ed Gullison said. “Baseball is baseball, and as long as you play the game, we’ll keep chipping away. They’re pretty confident, they’ve got some good bats and can play good defense.”

Lewiston, meanwhile, would have loved to win, but the hosts are still alive in the state tournament. Lewiston will now play the winner of Wednesday’s elimination game between Bronco and Cumberland North Yarmouth on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

If Lewiston is victorious, it’ll need to beat York two times in a row to win the state championship and advance to the New England tournament.

“Coming into the bottom of the sixth tied 3-3 and giving a kid a moment, I am good with that,” Lewiston coach Jim Caron said. “What are you gonna do?”

Ethan Blue led the game off for Lewiston with a double by beating the throw to second. Blue then stole third base and then scored on a Jeffrey Randall double to take a 1-0 lead. 

In the bottom half of the inning, Brody Gullison reached base on a single and then scored when Jack Joyce hit a home run to left field. 

Ethan Blue of Lewiston beats the the throw to York second baseman Robbie Hanscom during the first inning in Lewiston on Tuesday.

Nothing came of Lewiston’s second inning. In the bottom of the frame, York scored again when Jacobsohn singled and reached second base on an errant throw, and came home on a single from Ketchum.

Ed Gullison said York’s offense can come from anywhere. 

“When it comes down to it, I think the kids know they have each other’s back,” Gullison said. “They’ve been playing together for a while. They have a good time, and I say they’re a bunch of clowns, but when they get on the field, they get serious.”

Caron said that York is the team to beat and he knew it would come at Lewiston in different ways.

“They’re a sound baseball team, and in order to beat them you have to be at your best,” Caron said.

Ethan Blue doubled to lead-off the third inning, and three batters later, Randall scorched a home run to right field to tie the game up at 3-3. 

Randall started the game for Lewiston and went two innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned. Based on his pitch count, he is eligible to pitch on Thursday. 

York seemed to keep pitches away from Dube, who hit three home runs in Lewiston’s tournament opener. 

“Really, we were just waiting to see how he was setting up,” Gullison said. “He’s a good hitter, so you have to choose your pitches with him and you can see where he is shy and you can target those areas where he’s going to be weak.”

While Dube’s at the plate was down, his pitching was all Caron could ask for. 

“They hung their heads, and they should, they’re passionate, but the kid hits a walk-off dinger and Dube gave it up? That’s a moment for him. It’s a learning curve,” Caron said. “I told him for every strikeout you get, you’ll give up a dinger. We are on the same page, we have a day to adjust, he’ll be OK.”

York threw two pitchers, Jacobsohn and Robbie Hanscom, and Gullison has two more pitchers who he says can be effective heading deeper into the tournament. 

“We made adjustments the whole time,” Gullison said. “We were battling with misplaced pitches. Jacobsohn is a placement pitcher and he puts the ball where he wants it. (Lewiston is) a great hitting team and they hit a really tough pitcher, he’s one of our best. They did well.”


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