Zach Murray of Bangor collides with Gorham pitcher Jacob Sladen on a headfirst dive into home plate to score a run during Saturday's Class A baseball state championship game in Standish. The Rams' Jacob Munroe (18) and home plate umpire Jeff Mertzel look on. Bangor won 10-6. Credit: Pete Warner | BDN

Jacob Munroe was another key underclassman for the Bangor High School baseball team during postseason play and its drive toward an unprecedented sixth consecutive Class A state championship.

The sophomore outfielder, after batting just .195 in 41 regular-season at-bats, went 7-for-12 (.583) with eight runs batted in and five runs scored during four playoff games this spring.

“I’ve been really focusing on stuff I’ve needed to work on, especially at the plate,” Munroe said. “A lot of it has been outside pitches and just getting the ball in play. I’ve had coach throw a lot to me in practice, and it’s started to show.”

That opposite-field emphasis was on full display during Saturday’s 10-6 state championship game victory over Gorham at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

In the finale, Munroe blasted a two-run double to right-center as the Rams scored three runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away.

Munroe also had a check-swing single to right in the top of the first to help Bangor jump out to a 5-0 lead.

“I’ve been trying to fight off that check-swing thing since the start of the season,” he said. “That one ended up working out, a nice almost 6-iron shot over first base and second base to get the run home.”

5 starters gone, 5 to return

Five of Bangor’s 10 starters, including the designated hitter, in Saturday’s state championship game have graduated, a group led by senior catcher Tyler Parke and senior shortstop Zach Ireland and also including second baseman Zach Murray and outfielders Nick Canarr and Charlie Budd.

Also graduated is starting pitcher Karl Sund, who went 4-0 with a team-leading 0.87 earned run average during the regular season.

But don’t feel sorry for the Rams, who next year should return the bulk of their pitching staff led by Zach Cowperthwaite (8-1 this spring), left-hander Carson Prouty and Noah Missbrenner.

Missbrenner and Cowperthwaite, who were juniors this season, return to the No. 3 and 4 spots in the Bangor batting order, with Prouty, Munroe and freshman third baseman-outfielder James Neel all likely to assume even more prominent roles.

Don’t be shocked if it’s Bangor and Oxford Hills of South Paris — who met in this year’s Class A North championship game that the Rams won 5-1 on Parke’s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning — playing for regional honors again in 2019.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...