PARIS — Bangor’s Matt Holmes was in a zone during Bangor’s Class A North quarterfinal against Oxford Hills on Wednesday.

The senior pitcher went the distance in the Rams’ 8-1 victory over the Vikings at Gouin Athletic Complex. He struck out 12 batters and allowed only three hits and one walk.

“I knew my stuff was on. I was confident and I knew I had guys behind me to help me out,” Holmes said. “I just threw strikes and it happened, baby. I struck people out and the team made some plays. It was a great job all-around.”

The No. 7 Bangor (9-8), the two-time defending Class A North champion, will face either No. 3 Skowhegan or No. 6 Mt. Ararat in the semifinals.

Second-seeded Oxford Hills (12-5) lost in the quarterfinals as a top-two seed for the third straight season. Last year, the Vikings fell to Edward Little, another seventh seed, and in 2021 the eighth-seeded Red Eddies ousted the No. 1 Vikings in the A North quarters.

Oxford Hills coach Shane Slicer said he wishes this season had a different conclusion for seniors Eli Soehren, Patrick Hersey, Kolby Brown, Kaden Delano and Connor Fitts.


“The seniors have had a good run, and they worked hard,” Slicer said. “They deserved better, but Bangor is a tough team and their pitching was outstanding today. You can run into that in the playoffs, and we struck out looking too many times. We needed to compete a little harder, but other than that, there is not much to heal the wound, I guess.”

Wednesday’s game started as a pitching duel between Holmes and Soehren. Neither team had a base runner reach scoring position until the fourth inning, when Bangor catcher Jack Schuck walked and then moved to second on a wild pitch. He went to third later in the inning, but Yates Emerson popped out in foul territory to end the scoring threat.

Soehren, who singled in the first for the game’s first hit, walked in the bottom of the fourth and stole second and third, but he was stranded there as Holmes struck out Cam Pulkkinen to end the inning.

Bangor coach David Morris said Holmes had two strong pitches going for him throughout the game.

“He established his fastball, and he didn’t walk many,” Morris said. “Once he got his curveball going, I thought he had two pitches. I thought he had a good command of the game and our defense is playing really well.”

Bangor’s bats came alive early in the top of the fifth. Holmes’ single with the bases loaded brought home the game’s first run. During Wyatt Stevens’ at-bat, Ethan Sproul sprinted home on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead. Stevens then drove in two more runs with a single to left field for a 4-0 advantage.


“We knew coming in they were strong at the beginning of the game, and as the game goes on, they tend to slow down a bit and not have as much energy,” Stevens said of Oxford Hills. “We knew if we can battle them hard the first few innings, and once we got our break, we knew we had to capitalize on it.”

Soehren reloaded the bases with a hit by a pitch and a walk and walked left fielder Teddy Stephenson to bring home Stevens for a 5-0 lead.

Soehren was then relieved by Nick Binette. Ethan Sproul, the first batter Binette faced, hit his second single of the inning to score a run to cap the six-run fifth inning.

“We had some troubles in the fifth, lost a little control,” Slicer said. “We helped them with an error or two, but we still had three at-bats. We have to give credit to Holmes: He settled in and struck out the side the next half inning. We couldn’t get a whole lot going against him. He pitched a great game.”

Holmes sat down Hunter Tardiff, Connor Fitts, and Carson Stevens in the fifth.

Stevens, after reaching on a single in the top of the sixth, scored from third when Emerson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, stretching the Rams’ lead to 7-0.


Oxfords Hills finally got its bats going in the bottom of the sixth. Carter Holbrook and Brady Truman started the inning with back-to-back singles. With one out, Soehren hit the ball hard to left field , but it was caught by a diving Stephenson. Holbrook tagged up and scored the Vikings’ lone run. Brown then flew out to end the inning.

“We were a little unlucky in that Eli hits a nice ball to left and (Stephenson) makes a good play, a diving play that could have changed some things,” Slicer said. “Kolby hits a line drive to left, right after (Soehren). We started to hit the ball a little bit better and got a run. But it could have been a lot more.”

Holmes reached third on an error in the outfield in his at-bat in the top of the seventh, and Stevens drove him in with a double for the Rams’ eighth run.

Holmes finished the game by retiring Oxford Hills in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.

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