BANGOR — St. Dominic Academy junior first baseman Ethan Pelletier didn’t panic on the final out of the Saints’ 4-1 victory in the Class D state championship game Tuesday at Mansfield Stadium.

Bangor Christian’s Micah Robert hit a routine grounder to short, but St. Dom’s shortstop Tim Ouellette‘s throw was too high. Pelletier reached and was able to snag the ball with his glove and prevent it from going over his head. Robert was already safe at first, but Pelletier fired the ball to third base, where Ryan Bussierre tagged out Jay Libby, who was attempting to go from first to third on the play.

St. Dominic Academy’s Ryan Bussierre forces out Bangor Christian’s Jay Libby at third base for the final out, giving St. Dom’s it second straight Class D state championship with a 4-1 victory Tuesday at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“I caught it, but I was off the base — I tried to tag (Robert), but he was behind me,” Pelletier said. “All of sudden, I heard (pitcher) Ashton (Hammond) yelling at me to throw to third. I didn’t know where (Libby) was going, but luckily I made a good throw right off the bat and got him out. The game was over.”

That play, which gave St. Dom’s its second straight Class D state championship, was a microcosm of the Saints’ performance in the field Tuesday.

The Saints weren’t perfect; they made three errors, including two in the seventh inning — Ouellette’s throw and a miscue by second baseman Curtis Wheeler that allowed Libby to reach safely — but they didn’t panic and their mistakes didn’t cost them.

“We played solid (defense), and we have all year,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “That has been the strength of ours.”


Bangor Christian coach Tim Collins was impressed with the Saints’ defense.

“They made every play,” Collins said. “They made every single play. We heard they were a great defensive team, and they definitely showed it.”

St. Dom’s fielding prowess was on display in the fourth and fifth innings. With one Bangor Christian base runner on, Saints freshman Riley Daigle ended the bottom of the fourth with a diving catch in left field.

St. Dominic Academy celebrates winning Tuesday’s Class D baseball state championship against Bangor Christian at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Daigle said that he wasn’t concerned about the potential repercussions of misjudging the ball.

“I was hoping to catch it; that’s what I do in practice,” Daigle said. “I just practice diving. So, I was pretty confident in that.”

Senior center fielder Miles Frenette started the fifth inning by racing down a ball in left center. He had been standing in right center before Libby’s hit went to the other side.


After the game, Frenette said he couldn’t even estimate how far he had to run to track down the ball.

“I am not even sure,” Frenette said. “I just remember catching the ball and throwing it back in.”

Throughout the season, the Saints have worked with assistant coach Grant Sperry on making plays in the outfield.

“I have to give credit to Coach Grant, though,” Frenette said. “We work all the time with balls over our heads. Almost every practice, we work on the same drill to work on it. We were prepared for that moment. Riley was prepared for raking in that ball and I was prepared to go back (to get that out). Again, I have to give credit to Coach Grant, and Coach Blackman, as well.”

Hammond, who pitched a complete game for St. Dom’s on Tuesday, also made a nifty defensive play when he caught a line drive that was hit right back to him for the second out of the fifth inning.

Hammond said he’s more at ease as a pitcher when the fielders are making plays behind him.


“It made me more confident and more comfortable on the mound,” Hammond said. “It’s great to have a great group of guys behind you and always ready to make a play for you. I think that’s my favorite thing about this team: everybody picks each other up.”

Blackman said the difference between St. Dom’s and Bangor Christian was that the Saints were more comfortable making plays in the field and not relying solely on their pitcher to get outs.

“They weren’t used to the Libby kid getting hit,” Blackman said. “When you strike out 98 guys in 39 2/3 innings, you are not getting a lot of balls in play. I think that caught them off guard. With this team (St. Dom’s), he’s not going to mow them down.”

Bangor Christian had trouble at times Tuesday with the Saints’ bunt attempts. There was a miscommunication between Libby and Robert when Pelletier bunted to bring home the Saints’ first run. Libby and Robert ran to the first base line to attempt to catch Pelletier’s bunt, which left home plate unoccupied and allowing Ridge Dionne to easily score from third.

Collins said the Patriots tried to adjust their defense throughout the game, and on offense they were trying to be more aggressive on the base paths because of how well St. Dom’s was playing in the field.

“The in-game adjustments, a lot of it was cat and mouse, knowing Coach (Blackman) was going to suicide squeeze, so we had to pitch-out to stop it, we had to throw a curve ball to stop it once,” Collins said. “They had us on our heels trying to adjust to that. In game, it was trying to get more than one runner on base. In the last inning, when we tried to make something happen, they threw us out. They played great.”

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