AUBURN — Tyler Thibault had to leave Ararat’s Maine 12U Cal Ripken state tournament game on Monday early with a migraine. 

After the team lost, Thibault wanted to avoid a similar outcome in Tuesday’s matchup against Andy Valley. 

With the game tied in the fifth inning, Thibault stepped into the batter’s box with two runners on. On the first pitch he saw, Thibault drove a fly ball over the right field fence at Auburn Suburban that gave Ararat a three-run lead that held up in a 5-2 victory over Andy Valley.

Ararat advanced to play Noble later Tuesday. Ararat also won that game, forcing a final game for the state championship Wednesday at 5 p.m.

“I was really mad, I wanted to play and hit and win, but we didn’t,” Thibault said of his early exit on Monday.

For his decisive at-bat on Tuesday, Thibault was zoned in on breaking the tie. 


“Just get a base hit, bring them home and win the game. I thought it was off the fence, but I knew it was gone when I got to first. It felt really good.”

Leading up to Thibault’s three-run shot, the game was a pitching duel between Andy Valley starter Colton Jendrick and Ararat’s Colby MacFawn, who tallied nine strikeouts apiece.

The game was tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Ararat’s Brady Hiltz reached on a fielder’s choice then was moved to second on a single by Daniel Beal. That set up Thibault’s mighty, tie-breaking swing of the bat.

“We wanted to keep reminding them that we needed to stay focused and keep our heads in the game and our hits were going to come,” Ararat head coach Jon Hiltz said. “Tyler had to leave yesterday’s game with migraines and so he came back today and he showed us what he’s capable of today, which was huge.”

Ararat took the first lead of the game, in the bottom of the first inning after sitting Andy Valley down in order. Thibault earned a two-out walk and stole second before being driven home by Will Davis, who reached on an error, to give Ararat a 1-0 lead. 

Andy Valley quickly answered with two runs in the top half of the second. Ryder Kennison led-off with a single and moved to second on a third strike to Bear Otten that went to the backstop. Brennan Walker hit a double that drove home Kennison then scored on a Brayden Cyr-Guzawski grounder to shortstop to give Andy Valley a 2-1 lead. 


While that was the last run that Andy Valley pushed through, head coach Phil Jendrick said he was proud of his team’s performance. 

“I’ve been coaching those kids since they were 9, and I feel bad, we really wanted to go back to regionals, but I mean, I will be 100 percent honest, some of those kids will be in the Sun Journal for years to come,” Jendrick said. “I have no doubt about that. As a coach, it’s a good feeling to know I helped some of them out. We were in it until the last inning, and I am very proud of them.”

Jendrick struck out the side in the bottom of the second before Ararat notched another run in the third. After a lead-off pop out, Beal stepped in and earned a walk and was then pushed to second on a single by Thibault. Will Davis then singled to left field to score Beal and tie the game at 2-2. 

Meanwhile, MacFawn shut down Andy Valley, allowing just two base runners after the second inning. 

“Colby, we’ve been riding his hot hand ever since the start of districts,” Hiltz said. “We’ve really leaned on him and he came up big for us again today. I also give a lot of credit to their pitcher, he battled right to his last pitch.”

Jendrick struck out the side again in the fourth inning before giving up two base runners in the fifth and then being taken out because of his pitch count. Gunner Truman pitched the rest of the way for Andy Valley.

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