High school baseball

Champions' meal: Dominant Searsport again class of Class D

Chow time: Vikings make quick work of another foe to win fourth state crown in five years — and trip to Applebee's
By Mark Haskell | Jun 17, 2019
Photo by: Mark Haskell Searsport's Josh Wright.

Standish — It has been a tradition in Searsport baseball coach John Frye’s now seven-year tenure with the Vikings that champions, of the regional or state champion variety, eat at Applebee's.

At the conclusion of the team’s state Class D title game against Central Aroostook of Mars Hill on Saturday afternoon, June 15 at St. Joseph’s College, one thing was crystal clear:

Searsport, party of 20, your table is ready.

The Panthers put the pressure on the Vikings early when they put four runners on base in the first two innings, but Viking senior ace Charlie Spiegel settled in and retired the final 12 batters.

Couple that with another terrific performance by the Searsport offense — littered with timely hitting and heads-up baserunning — the Vikings dispatched of the Panthers in short order to the tune of an 11-0, five-inning high school diamond victory to clinch their fourth state Class D championship in five years.

Watch video and see more below.

After a 4-2 loss to Jonesport-Beals on May 27, the Vikings won their final six games of the spring to nail down another coveted — but now in what has become a seemingly annual tradition — state crown.

Searsport (15-4), which earned a bye in the Class D South quarterfinal round, won this year’s championship in dominating fashion, winning all three of its games via mercy rule.

The No. 1 Vikings defeated No. 4 Greenville 10-0 in six innings in the semifinals and secured an 11-1, five-inning win over No. 2 Richmond in the regional final ahead of Saturday’s state title game.

No. 1 Central Aroostook, which finished 13-5, beat No. 8 Machias 5-4, No. 4 Jonesport-Beals 11-10 and No. 3 Hodgdon 9-8 to win Class D North.

In the past five years, the Vikings have won the state title in a bevy of ways. In 2015, they needed extra innings to get past Stearns of Millinocket. In 2016, they put up crooked numbers in the middle and late innings to swing past Penobscot Valley of Howland, while in 2017, Mitchell Philbrook cranked a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the title.

This year’s team needed only three games — and a combined 16 innings — to win the title.

“We started out a little flat and a little anxious,” said Searsport coach John Frye of the state final. “We had some nerves. And then we settled in. Once we got to the second inning and we started getting guys on, we got back to playing Searsport baseball. And when we do that and Charlie starts throwing the way he’s capable of, we’re as good as there is.”

Team members for the Vikings, led by coaches John Frye, Mel Grant, Otis Kneeland, Brock Frye 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.

Leading the newly-crowned state champions at the plate on Saturday were Moody (single), Spiegel (2 singles, run, stolen base), Snow (single, run, stolen base, RBI), Dakin (run), Wright (2 singles, 3 runs, RBI), Wiley (single, run), Harriman (run), Kneeland (run), Reynolds (single, 3 RBIs), Brassbridge (run) and Perkins (run).

For Central Aroostook (13-5), Ben Thomas (double), Brayden Bradbury (single, stolen base), Stetson Nicholas (single, stolen base) and Malachi Fitzherbert (single) paced the offense.

Spiegel, as he was for 15 of the team’s 16 playoff innings this season, was sensational on the bump as he yielded four hits — all in the first two innings — and no walks, while he fanned six batters, including the final three of the game in the top of the fifth frame.

Brayden Bradbury, Brandon Woody and Ethan Pryor pitched for the Panthers as the trio allowed eight hits, nine walks and and two hit batters, with four strikeouts.

Both teams went scoreless in the first before the Vikings plated a pair in the second, six in the third and three in the fourth, while Spiegel continued to baffle Panther hitters.

“His freshman year he didn’t pitch once," said John Frye. "We held him out because we had Troy Reynolds and Kyle Moore and he was just our DH. And he’s a great hitter. Sophomore year we mixed him in, junior year ended rough with the game against Richmond [in the regional final], but he’s developed every year more than just a fastball. This year we’ve worked real hard in the gym and change-ups and curveballs and in his last three playoff games, he’s thrown as many of them as he has in three years.”

Pitching was a crucial component in Saturday’s state final. Not only on the Searsport side, as Spiegel tossed another gem, but with Central Aroostook.

Panther ace Ben Thomas was unavailable as his pitch count was too high following the team’s win over No. 3 Hodgdon in the regional final.

Central Aroostook got two runners on in the first after Thomas roped a two-out double and Bradbury a single — the latter of whom stole second base — to put two ducks on the pond. But Spiegel induced a pop-up to Snow at shortstop to end the inning.

In the second, Nicholas and Fitzherbert reached on back-to-back hits. But, they were the final two Panther batters to reach base.

Dakin started things in the bottom of the second with a walk and advanced to second after Wright reached on a slow chopper that settled between the pitcher’s mound and third base. After Harriman drew a walk later in the inning to load the bases, Reynolds plated Dakin with a sacrifice fly to put the Vikings up 1-0.

Seconds later, Wright motored in after the Panther catcher — who fielded the ball in an attempt to get Dakin at the plate — threw the ball high to third base in an attempt to get Wright as he chugged in with Searsport’s second run.

In the third, Spiegel singled to left and after he advanced to second base on a steal, Snow plated Spiegel with a single through the left side to make the score 3-0.

Snow stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Then Wright, who fouled off two bunt attempts and was down to his final strike, ripped a single up the middle to plate Snow and put Searsport ahead four runs.

That prompted a Central Aroostook pitching change.

The change did little to deter Searsport’s confidence as Wiley singled and Harriman drew a walk to load the bases for Reynolds.

After Wright came in on a wild pitch, two more runs came in on a ball Reynolds hit to deep left — that the Central Aroostook outfielder misplayed — as the Vikings suddenly saw themselves with a commanding 7-0 advantage.

Moody singled and Runci reached on an error to reload the bases for Spiegel — who was hit with a pitch to force in the team’s eighth run — and prompted a third Panther pitching change.

“They had their number two [pitcher] left,” said John Frye. “And once they brought in three and four, that’s when we started getting all our subs in. Every player got in the game and got to hit, do something or play defense. It’s a great Saturday when everybody gets to play and everybody has fun and we come out state champs.”

In the fourth, Wright scored on a wild pitch off a headfirst slide, Perkins plated Kneeland with an single and later came home on a wild pitch to round out the scoring.

John Frye said the team will miss its five seniors in Spiegel, Dakin, Harriman, Wiley “and of course Runci, who has been valuable for us and he’s a guy that everyone forgets.”

And, a trip to Applebee’s always is sweeter with a state championship trophy in tow.

“It never gets old to be on the top,” said John Frye. “We’re a small community that has great pride in baseball.”

Searsport baseball
Searsport versus Central Aroostook on June 15 in high school baseball at St. Joseph's College in Standish. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Zack Miller)
Searsport's Daegan Moody. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport assistant coach Mel Grant. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's George Dakin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Daegan Moody. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Central Aroostook's Stetson Nicholas and Searsport's Isaiah Runci and Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci, left, and Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Kaden Harriman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel, left, and Central Aroostook's Ethan Pryor. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow, left, and coach R.J. Robertson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow and Central Aroostook's Brandon Wood. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The Searsport dugout looks on during the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Gabe Kneeland. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Gabe Kneeland. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Gabe Kneeland and Aaron Wiley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Aaron Wiley and Gabe Kneeland. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach John Frye. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Searsport's Daegan Moody, Mel Grant and Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's George Dakin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Kaden Harriman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright slides into home plate in front of Central Aroostook's Ethan Pryor. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright slides into home plate in front of Central Aroostook's Ethan Pryor. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright slides into home plate in front of Central Aroostook's Ethan Pryor. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Josh Wright slides into home plate in front of Central Aroostook's Ethan Pryor. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Steven Perkins runs up the first base line, while Kaden Harriman comes in to score. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Kaden Harriman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Steven Perkins and coach R.J. Robertson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Steven Perkins. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Steven Perkins and Central Aroostook's Brandon Wood. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Andrew Donald. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Andrew Donald. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players converge moments after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players and coaches celebrate after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport players and coaches celebrate after winning the state Class D championship. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow (14) and Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Colby Snow (14) and Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach R.J. Robertson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach R.J. Robertson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport fans cheer following the baseball team's state championship win. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport fans cheer following the baseball team's state championship win. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach John Frye and grandson Bentley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The state Class D baseball championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Searsport coaches John Frye, Mel Grant and R.J. Robertson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach picks up Viking Andrew Donald. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach picks up Viking Andrew Donald. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach picks up Viking Andrew Donald. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The state class D championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach John Frye and Colby Snow. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport's Aaron Wiley. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach John Frye and Kaden Harriman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach John Frye and Kaden Harriman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport coach John Frye and Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The Searsport baseball team hoists its newly-won state Class D championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The Searsport baseball team hoists its newly-won state Class D championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The Searsport baseball team hoists its newly-won state Class D championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The Searsport baseball team hoists its newly-won state Class D championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The Searsport baseball team hoists its newly-won state Class D championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport District High School — 2019 state Class D baseball champions. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Searsport District High School — 2019 state Class D baseball champions. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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