AUGUSTA, Maine - Not even a 16-hour break in the action could cool off the collective bats of the Bessey Motors baseball team.
The South Paris-based squad, which got off to a quick start against Hampden on Monday before heavy rain forced the game to be suspended in the second inning, came back swinging Tuesday morning and combined 17 hits and 12 walks to defeat the Riverdogs 14-5 in an elimination game of the 2008 state American Legion tournament at McGuire Field.
Bessey Motors (19-7-1) had scored 35 runs in its first three tournament games, including a 14-13 survival of Kennebunk on Monday afternoon.
Less than an hour later the Zone 3 runner-up took the field against Hampden and scored two runs on five hits over the first two innings to take a 2-0 lead before play was halted for the day.
But rather than see its momentum washed away, Bessey Motors merely picked up where it had left off when play resumed.
“Watching the game before us [Monday] when they played Kennebunk, they swung themselves into a win,” said Hampden coach Jason Folsom of Bessey Motors. “You’ ve got to give the props to them. These guys are a dangerous team because they just come out and hit the ball. Even when they get two strikes on them they shorten up and drive the ball the other way.”
Bessey Motors, which includes players from Oxford Hills of South Paris, Lake Region of Naples and Fryeburg Academy, never let Hampden get close, extending its lead to 7-0 with a five-run fourth against Hampden starter Shawn Smith that featured a two-run single by Brandon Chase and RBI singles by Dan Millett, Evan Humphrey and winning pitcher Travis Fillebrown.
Hampden, which finished 16-12 overall and 1-2 in the state tournament, was not without baserunners early, as the Zone 1 champs weren’ t retired in order until the seventh. But Fillebrown did retire the first batter he faced in five of the first six innings, and a double-play line drive by Nolan Turner after Jordan Richards singled to lead off the Hampden fifth helped subdue the Riverdogs’ best early chance.
“A lot of our line-drive hits didn’ t fall today,” said Folsom. “We’ ve been hitting the ball hard, but we couldn’ t come through and get the clutch hits to make the game a little closer.”
Bessey Motors added a run in the top of the sixth to make it 8-0 before Hampden broke through for its first two runs in the bottom of the inning. Caleb Kirk drew a one-out walk, and a ground single to left by Derek Amoroso and a line single off Fillebrown by Richards loaded the bases. Turner then walked to force home Kirk before Cody Hadley replaced Fillebrown and induced a fielder’ s choice grounder by Cody Johndro that plated Amoroso and an inning-ending groundout by Smith.
While Hadley then retired the next six batters he faced in order, Bessey Motors added a single run in the seventh, then padded its lead with five runs in the top of the ninth.
Hampden scored its final three runs in the bottom of the inning, with Johndro and Tardiff each doubling and Turner adding a single to highlight the rally.
Johndro pace Hampden’ s 10-hit offense with two doubles and a single, while Richards and Patrick Stephens each singled twice.
“We lose three kids off this team for next year, so this is a great taste,” said Folsom. “This is the first time they’ ve ever won a zone championship, and this is the first time down here in the state tournament.
“A lot of good teams come down here and go 0-2 or 1-2. We were one of those teams this year, but next year hopefully we can get back to the state tournament and rebound and have a little more experience and not get nervous in those clutch situations.”
Bessey Motors (19-7-1) 110 501 105 — 14 17 0
Hampden (16-12) 000 002 003 — 5 10 2
Fillebrown, Hadley (6) and Millett Smith, B. Perry (5), Leal (9) and Amoroso, Stephens (5)