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High school baseball

Searsport nails down fourth regional crown in five years

No. 1 Vikings beat No. 2 Richmond, again play for state Class D championship on June 15
By Mark Haskell | Jun 13, 2019
Photo by: Mark Haskell Searsport's Daegan Moody slides safely into third base against Richmond on June 11 in high school baseball at St. Joseph's College in Standish. The Vikings beat the Bobcats 11-1 in the Class D South championship encounter.

Standish — The top-ranked Searsport baseball team had this game — namely, the Class D South championship — circled on its calendar for a year.

And with good reason.

After three straight state Class D titles from 2015-17, last year’s season ended, in the Vikings' eyes, prematurely, and saw Richmond go on to win the state title.

Watch video and see more below.

So, the Vikings had returning to the regional title game for the fifth straight year a benchmark for the season. Not just to win that coveted game, but hopefully to get another shot at the Bobcats.

And that is just how it played out, as the No. 2 Bobcats also played their way into this year’s regional final.

“All we’ve been talking about is revenge from last year,” said Searsport coach John Frye. “And you could see right from the first pitch to the last [today] we were fired up and ready to go [and] more focused. We’ve been talking all year, ‘Let’s get back to this game against Richmond.’ "

And while the Bobcats pounced on the Vikings quickly and rode that momentum to a regional crown last season, Searsport returned the favor Tuesday — and then some — as the higher seed needed only five innings to walk off with a lopsided, 11-1, mercy-rule victory at the team's seemingly home away from home, St. Joseph College.

“I think we all had the same objective, and that was just to beat the crap out of Richmond,” said Searsport senior hurler Charlie Spiegel. “We were out for revenge and out for blood. We piled them on pretty early, kept our foot on the gas and just kept on from there.”

“We wanted our revenge and we came out and did that,” Daegan Moody said.

With the win, Searsport (14-4) advances to the state Class D championship game, where it will face North champion Central Aroostook of Mars Hill (13-4) on Saturday, June 15 at 1 p.m. back at St. Joseph’s College.

Richmond, which beat No. 3 Buckfield 14-2 in the semifinals, finished 11-6. The Bobcats and Vikings did not play one another during the regular season.

Leading the Vikings at the plate on Tuesday were Moody (single, 2 runs, stolen base, 2 RBIs), Isaiah Runci (2 singles, 2 runs, stolen base, 2 RBIs), Spiegel (2 singles, 3 runs, 2 RBIs, stolen base), Colby Snow (double, 2 RBIs), George Dakin (2 singles, 2 RBIs), Dylan O’Brien (run), Aaron Wiley (single, run), Gabe Kneeland (run) and Isaias Therio (run).

For the Bobcats, Andrew Vachon (single), Daniel Stewart (single), Mitch Couturier (single, stolen base), Chance Taylor (single, run), Adam Beaulieu (single, RBI) and Ben Gardner (single) paced the offense.

Spiegel went the distance on the hill and allowed six hits and two walks, with five strikeouts on 95 pitches for the newly-crowned regional champions.

Andrew Vachon and Justin Vachon pitched for Richmond, as the two allowed a combined nine hits and five walks, with seven strikeouts.

“The kids really performed well,” said Frye. "We had a little lag in the middle of the season [losing 3-of-4 games from May 17-27], but we turned it around and we’re used to being in this spot [in the regional final].”

Searsport pounced on Richmond in the first inning to the tune of a three-run frame, while it added a run in the third, four in the fourth and finished the game with a three-run fifth. Richmond’s lone tally came in the fourth.

The Vikings took advantage of erratic Bobcat pitching in the first as Andrew Vachon issued walks to Moody and Runci, while Spiegel was hit by a pitch to load up the bases with no outs.

Moody came in on a ground out by Snow, while Runci scampered home on a wild pitch. After an RBI-single through the right side by Dakin, Searsport saw itself quickly ahead 3-0 off the benefit of only one hit.

Richmond seemed to be on the comeback trail in the second when Couturier drew a walk and Taylor reached on a single, but Spiegel  struck out the side to end the threat.

In the third, Spiegel came through with a one-out single, moved to second on a fielder’s choice and scored on another Dakin single to put the Vikings up four runs.

“George has been a solid hitter all year for us,” said Frye. “We had him in the five-hole and he’s had a lot of huge hits. He and Colby [Snow] have had a lot of big hits because they’ve been pitching around Charlie a lot and they’ve come through for us huge this year.”

Searsport’s lone error of the game did come at a cost in the fourth when a drop in center field on a ball hit by Taylor extended the inning for Richmond with two outs. Beaulieu plated Taylor with a single to put the Bobcats on the board.

But the Vikings quickly put the game out of reach in the bottom of the frame with a two-out rally.

Cody Reynolds reached on an error and after Moody drew a walk, Reynolds was pinch run for by Therio.

Runci plated Therio with a single to left, Spiegel followed with a two-run single to center and Snow roped a run-scoring double to deep left field to put the Vikings up 8-1.

Then, in the fifth, O’Brien, a pinch hitter, drew a walk, while Wiley singled and Harriman drew a walk before being pinch run for by Gabe Kneeland. Moody then ripped a two-run single, while an infield single by Runci brought in the championship-clinching tally.

Spiegel said everyone on the team stepped up, particularly the seniors — himself, Runci, Dakin, Wiley and Harriman — and set the example followed by the younger players.

“We have a young team, so they just needed to see us bring a lot of energy,” Spiegel said. "George came up big [with two RBI-singles], everyone was putting the ball in play and getting the job done.”

Now, the Vikings need to turn the page and prepare for the Panthers. And Frye said

“We’ve just got to do what we’ve been doing,” Frye said. “We’ve got to come out focused [and] ready to go. Hitting, fielding and hopefully on Spiegel’s arm [on the mound]. We got him out of the game in time so he can come out and pitch on Saturday. We’ll just play our game and see where it takes us.”

Prior to Tuesday’s win, Searsport, which received a bye in the quarterfinals, defeated No. 4 Greenville 10-0 in six innings in the semifinals.

Team members for Searsport, coached by John Frye, Brock Frye, Mel Grant, Otis Kneeland and R.J. Robertson, include Isaias Therio, Gabe Kneeland, Josh Wright, Cody Reynolds, Isaiah Runci, Steven Perkins, George Dakin, Spencer Philbrook, Colby Snow, Aaron Wiley, Daegan Moody, Chase Brassbridge, Dylan O’Brien, Andrew Donald, Kaden Harriman and Charlie Spiegel.

Searsport versus Richmond baseball
Searsport and Richmond on June 11 in high school baseball at St. Joseph's College in Standish. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Zack Miller)
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