BANGOR, Maine — For decades, the Brewer High School baseball program has fielded some strong teams, and has sent athletes on to play Division I, minor league and major league ball. But the Witches had never won a state title.
The opportunistic Witches scored two runs without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit, and senior Josiah Cyr lashed a bases-loaded single over the head of a drawn-in Wells High School right fielder with one out in the bottom of the seventh to give Brewer a 3-2 win and its first state crown at Mansfield Stadium.
“It’s a great feeling. I guess you could say there were a lot of teams that you could say that it would have been great to win it with,” Brewer coach Dana Corey said. “I think it made it all the more special because one, it was the first, and two, we really didn’t expect it at the beginning of the year.”
Brewer returned just one starter — Kobe Rogerson — from last year, and received a great starting pitching performance from a player who didn’t even play in 2017.
That pitcher, Evan Andrews, struck out six and allowed both Wells runs before leaving with one out in the sixth due to cramping in his pitching hand.
“The trainer came out [in the fifth], rubbed it out a little bit, and it started feeling a little better,” Andrews said. “Came out in the [sixth], it happened again. Coach thought it would be best if he took me out.”
Brewer finished 15-5, while Southern Maine champ Wells finished 17-3.
Brewer sophomore Kyle Goodrich kicked off the seventh-inning uprising by singling on a four-hopper that found its way between the shortstop and third baseman. Goodrich took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt before fellow freshman Hunter Russell grounded to short and reached base after Goodrich safely retreated to the third base bag.
Wells walked Brewer standout Rogerson to load the bases, setting the stage for Cyr, who crushed a 1-2 pitch to end it.
“It was awesome. We knew it was just a matter of time before we started hitting the ball,” Cyr said. “When it happened, we took advantage of it and scored.”
Rogerson said his team knew the history involved, and that no Brewer team had won a baseball state title.
“We talked about it early on this week. We always talk about it, because we’ve got banners up in our school … every day at the beginning of the season we’d look at that and see the empty space,” Rogerson said. “We really wanted to put something up there this year, and we did. It was exciting.”
The Witches overcame a strong pitching performance by Wells sophomore lefty Tyler Carpenter, who allowed just four hits, striking out six and walking four. He mixed a sneaky-quick fastball with a sharp-breaking curve and kept the Witches off-balance for most of the game.
“We looked like we’d done the bat drill, spun around on the bat, before we came up,” Corey said. “He just kept us off-balance. He was up and down, in and out with the ball. I don’t think we picked up his curveball very well. I think he was hiding it really well, because we had a lot of people reaching out.”
Wells struck first, scoring in the top of the first when leadoff man Liam Bell slapped a single to left center, stole second and scampered home after Michael Wrigley blistered a line drive that caromed off the foot of Andrews and ended up in left field.
The Warriors added another run in the sixth when Tyler Bridge singled, stole second and rode home on a line single to center by Gary Andrews off reliever Rogerson.
Brewer rallied in the sixth, stringing taking advantage of two Wells errors and scoring the equalizer on a wild pitch.
Corey said all of his players contributed, but singled out the leadership of his one returning starter, Rogerson.
“Everybody had something. But Kobe, I don’t know what you can say. He had an inning that he took care of everything, defensively,” Corey said.
That was the fifth, when Rogerson ranged into the outfield to snag two bloopers after long runs from his shortstop position, and accounted for the other out by charging a slow-roller, bare-handing it and throwing the runner out at first.
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