BANGOR, Maine — Any successful baseball team often has to experience heartbreak to achieve championship success.
The Old Town Coyotes have had their share of postseason misfortune the past two postseasons, but with a chance to win the program’s first state championship Saturday, coach Brad Goody’s club didn’t disappoint.
The Coyotes blitzed South region champion Freeport with a 13-hit attack and an efficient pitching effort from Ethan Stoddard en route to a 12-2 Class B state championship victory at Mansfield Stadium.
Austin Sheehan’s two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning ended the game under the 10-run mercy rule and set off a wild celebration that could have been heard back in the Canoe City.
Old Town wrapped up the season 19-1 while Freeport — the No. 7 seed in the South that upset three top seeds to reach the state final — finished 14-7.
Things didn’t start off too swimmingly for Old Town, as the Falcons strung together a pair of first-inning runs on Colby Wagner’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Josh Burke.
That didn’t sit well with Stoddard.
“I get kind of mad when we get down in the first inning,” said Stoddard, who scattered five hits and didn’t allow a runner to reach third base the remainder of the game.
The Coyotes responded in the bottom of the first as Ryan Hoogterp, Drew Coulombe, Stoddard and Cole Daniel strung together four straight base hits, with Coulombe and Sheehan each driving in runs with base hits, Daniel stealing home on a double steal and Jacob Ketch lifting a sacrifice fly to left.
The aggressive Coyotes scored four more times in the second and twice in the third.
Before the Falcons could settle in, they were down 10-2.
“We’re tough one through nine,” Goody said. “When we’re hitting, we’re all very good.”
Goody’s offense scored more than three runs for the first time in the postseason, which was more than enough for Stoddard and a defense that committed just one error.
“These guys believe in each other; they prepare very well,” Goody said. “We just stayed to ourselves, we stayed loose and we had a lot of fun.”
The Coyotes had at least one baserunner in every inning.
“They weren’t trying to do too much,” Freeport coach Bill Ridge said. “They were spraying singles all over the place, just hard-hit singles.”
Old Town’s lone extra-base hit of the day, a drive to the right-center field gap by Sheehan, ended the contest.
“We just let them swing and go for it, and it seemed to work,” Goody said. “Our last game, that was our approach and we didn’t really change it today.”
Old Town also took advantage of four Falcons errors and three walks and scored twice on double steals.
“When they got a pitch to hit, they took advantage of it,” Ridge said. “They didn’t let us get away with anything.”
Hoogterp and Daniel each scored three runs for the Coyotes while Stoddard had two hits, two RBIs and three runs. Ketch also drove in a pair of runs.