The Waldo County Little League 9- and 10-year-old Little League All-Stars never gave up. Even after losing its first game of the District 2 double-elimination tournament 12-7 to Rockland, the gritty group fought its way through the loser’s bracket to claim the championship with a tough, exciting 8-7 win over Camden-Rockport on July 23.

Waldo County finished the tourney 5-1, while runner-up C-R ended 3-2, only losing two final games to Waldo County.

In the loser’s bracket, Waldo County earned hard-fought victories over Knox Suburban, Lincoln County and Rockland to earn a berth in the Championship against then-undefeated Camden-Rockport.

At the Rockport Recreation Park Field on July 19, Waldo used late-inning heroics to snatch victory from C-R and forced a winner-take-all final game July 23 in Waldo.

In that game, C-R looked to eliminate Waldo County for the second
time in the week. C-R scored quickly in the top of the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead on a double by Ian Cushion and Kyle Olehnik’s RBI-single.

Waldo bounced back with a run in the bottom of the frame. Nick Rodgerson was hit by a pitch and Logan Poirier and Chris Montgomery walked to load the bases. Following a strikeout, Cody Basso walked to force in Waldo’s first run.

C-R regained the lead in the third inning, pulling ahead 2-1. But C-R’s
starter, Evan Drinkwater, was unable to hold the lead as Waldo again roared back to score three runs with two out in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-2 advantage. Adam Higgins, Basso and Porter all singled and scored in the inning.

C-R stormed back in the fourth inning, scoring five times on the strength of four walks, a hit batsman and a clutch, bases-loaded triple by Olehnik.

Holding a 7-4 edge, it appeared C-R would pull away and the upstart team from Waldo was finally going to be sent home.

Scratching and clawing its way back, Waldo mustered two runs in the fourth, cutting its deficit to 7-6. Montgomery delivered the big blow of the inning, smacking a two-run single.

Neither team scored in the fifth inning and C-R was blanked in the sixth, setting the stage for Waldo’s comeback attempt.

Facing Camden-Rockport reliever Andrew Flanagan, Montgomery walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a sacrifice by Higgins. With C-R just two outs from winning the championship, Meehan, Bobby Porter and Sam Lebel all walked for Waldo, forcing in a run and knotting the score 7-7.

With one out and the bases loaded with Waldo runners, Garth Clements stepped to the plate with a chance to send Waldo to the state tournament. A pitch eluded the catcher, and Meehan raced home with the eighth, and deciding, Waldo County run.

Pacing C-R’s offense were Olehnik (2 hits, walk, 4 RBI), Cushion (hit, 2 runs) and Flanagan (2 runs).

Waldo’s offense was powered by Montgomery (hit, 2 walks, 2 RBI) and Basso (hit, RBI, run).

Lebel picked up the win in relief for Waldo County, while Flanagan took the loss for C-R.

Waldo advances to the State Championship Tournament in Bangor. The team will play its first game Friday, July 30.