High school baseball

Viking reign ends: Bobcats pounce early, late, hold off Searsport for regional crown

Loss is first for Waldo County squad in postseason since 2014
By Zack Miller | Jun 14, 2018
Photo by: Zack Miller Searsport's Charlie Spiegel, right, makes a pitch to a Richmond batter on June 13 in a high school baseball game at Saint Joseph's College in Standish. The Bobcats beat the Vikings 14-6 in the Class D South championship game.

Standish — All good things must come to an end.

A person, or a team, can only be at the pinnacle for so long, until it is someone else’s turn to shine in the spotlight; however, for the Searsport baseball team, its time at the mountain top was longer than most.

The top-seeded Vikings (12-7) had won the past three state Class D championships, and had the opportunity to advance to their fourth straight title game, but ran into the No. 2 Bobcats of Richmond (17-1), who swung to a 14-6 victory in the Class D South final on Wednesday, June 13 at Larry Mahaney Diamond at Saint Joseph’s College.

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

It was Searsport's first meeting with Richmond this season.

The loss to the Bobcats was the first for the Vikings in the playoffs since Searsport fell 2-0 to Buckfield in the semifinals in 2014.

“I give all the credit to Richmond, they came out more aggressive than I thought with the bats, and hit some gaps early and got us down,” said Searsport coach John Frye. “We made some mistakes that we normally don’t make.”

"[Richmond] had some beautiful hits and there wasn’t anything we could do about it.” said Searsport senior Ben Powell.

“One through nine [Richmond] is very solid, and there is no shame in losing to them,” Frye said. “We’ll be back. We only lose three seniors and we have a good group coming in.”

For the second straight season the final four teams in the Class D baseball playoffs consisted of Searsport, Richmond, Bangor Christian of Bangor and Fort Fairfield. This year though, the final two teams left standing are Richmond and Fort Fairfield — which defeated Bangor Christian 4-3 in the Class D North final on Wednesday — and will play for the state championship on Saturday, June 16 at 3 p.m. at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

Richmond and Fort Fairfield (15-2) did not play one another during the regular season.

Last season, Searsport defeated Richmond for the South crown and Bangor Christian defeated Fort Fairfield for the North title.

In Wednesday's South championship game, the Bobcats, who tallied 14 hits and committed two errors, jumped out early and scored five runs in the first inning, four in the fourth and five in the seventh.

Searsport, which registered seven hits and also committed two errors, scored one run in the first inning, one in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.

Leading the Vikings at the plate were Daegan Moody (single, double, 2 RBIs), Colby Snow (single, 2 runs), Charlie Spiegel (run), Liam MacMillan (run), Owen Soucy (2 singles), Connor Kneeland (2 runs), Steve Perkins (single) and Kaden Harriman (single).

For the Bobcats Matt Rines (single, 2 runs, RBI), Andrew Vachon (single, run), Zach Small (single, triple, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), Daniel Stewart (single, run, 3 RBIs), Nate Kendrick (2 singles, run, RBI), Trystin Shea (2 singles, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), Justin Vachon (single, run) Dakotah Gilpatric (2 singles, triple, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) and Kyle Tilton (single, RBI) had strong at-bats.

Spiegel (8 runs on 7 hits, 6 strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings) and Powell (6 runs on 7 hits, 2 strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings) pitched for Searsport.

Rines and Vachon pitched for Richmond and combined for six runs on seven hits, five walks and six strikeouts.

Richmond’s bats did not take long to get hot. Rines started the game with an infield single and moved to second on a pickoff attempt that got away. Small brought Rines home with a triple to right-center field, then Stewart reached on an error, which allowed Small to score. Stewart stole second, Kendrick walked and Shea hit a two-run double to left-center to cap the first inning barrage of runs.

Searsport got on the board in the first inning when Snow reached on an error and got to second when the ball got away from Richmond, as the Viking moved to third on a balk, and scored on a wild pitch.

The Vikings struck again in the third inning, as Snow hit a lead single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Snow moved to third, and came home to score on back-to-back groundouts to cut the Bobcat lead down to three.

Richmond responded with four runs in the fourth inning, using singles from Stewart, Kendrick and Vachon and a triple by Gilpatric to move the Bobcat lead to 9-2 through the midway point of the contest.

The Vikings, as they have all season and in previous springs in crunch time, responded with a run in the fourth when Moody came through with an RBI-single to left field, and two runs in the fifth thanks to Soucy's two-run double to left-center field. Soucy was tagged out at second after he had a large lead, which ended the Viking scoring threat.

Searsport capitalized on its chances in the sixth inning as well, propelled by Moody's RBI-single to left field, which plated Connor Kneeland. The Vikings had runners on second and third with two outs in the inning, when a strike out, on a call Viking players, coaches and fans bemoaned, ended the inning, but the Vikings were back in the game down 9-6.

“From my angle [the pitch] definitely looked low and outside, but hey, I’m not the umpire, and he’s got a tough job back there.” Frye said about the pitch that was called strike three against his batter. “I’d like to have that pitch back because we have a number four hitter there with guys on second and third, but we win some, we lose some.”

The game slipped away from the Vikings in the seventh, as Richmond plated five more runs off four hits to put the game away and advance to the state title game.

“[The seniors] have meant everything, not just to the program or to me” Frye said. “[Powell, MacMillan and Connor Kneeland] are three great kids, great students and their parents should be very proud. They’ve done a lot for the Searsport programs [at the school]."

Powell, MacMillan and Connor Kneeland only knew how state titles felt, having won three in a row with this year being their first defeat in their playoff careers, which came as seniors.

“It’s definitely nice [having won three straight titles],” Powell said. “Definitely wish I could have gotten this last win with the team, but three in a row is still pretty good.”

Searsport's Kaden Harriman. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Mac Soucy. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Owen Soucy. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Liam MacMillan. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's George Dakin. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Liam MacMillan. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel, right. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel, right. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Connor Kneeland. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Connor Kneeland. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Ben Powell. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Ben Powell. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Ben Powell. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Ben Powell. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Ben Powell, right, and Richmond's Daniel Stewart. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Ben Powell, left, and Richmond's Matt Rines. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Colby Snow. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's George Dakin. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci, back, and Richmond's Zach Small. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci, right, and Richmond's Zach Small. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci, right, and Richmond's Zach Small. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Owen Soucy. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Connor Kneeland. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Isaiah Runci. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Gabe Kneeland. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Connor Kneeland, left, and a Richmond player. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Searsport's Charlie Spiegel. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
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Zack Miller
Sports Reporter
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Zack has been covering the Midcoast sports world for the past three years. He earned a bachelor's degree in Media Studies from the New England School of Communications, where he majored in Sports Journalism. Zack is a major fan of the Boston Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox and of course the Patriots, as well as a die-hard Penn State Football fan. He also enjoys spending time with friends and family. He currently resides in Rockland, with his wife Meagan.

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