Keith Pomeroy belted an opposite-field bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the fifth inning to break open a close game and lead the Hampden-based R.H. Foster Riverdogs to a 6-2 victory over the Trenton Acadians in a winners bracket game at the American Legion state tournament at Husson University’s Winkin Sports Complex in Bangor on Monday.
The Riverdogs are now 3-0 and will take on 2-1 Bessey Motors of South Paris in the 5:30 p.m. game Tuesday. The Riverdogs guaranteed themselves a spot in Wednesday’s championship round.
Trenton will take on Bangor-based Quirk Motor City in an elimination game Tuesday at 3 p.m. Both are 2-1.
Righthander Jackson Thayer, who will be a senior at Hampden Academy in the fall, was touched up for 11 hits and two runs over 6 ⅓ innings but was able to pitch out of several jams to notch the win. Gavin Partridge induced a game-ending line drive double play to pick up the save.
The Riverdogs were holding a 2-1 lead going into the fifth and Sam Economy started the rally by drawing a lead-off walk.
Derek Gendreau failed on a pair of sacrifice bunt attempts and then lined a soft single to center.
Nick Lorenzo hit a grounder just to the right of the second baseman, but, in his haste to try to turn the double play, the second baseman bobbled it an error, leaving the bases loaded.
Pomeroy, who will be a senior at Hermon High School in the fall, followed by drilling a 1-2 pitch over the right fielder’s head to clear the bases.
“I had two strikes on me, so I was just trying to put the ball in play. I was looking for something to drive so I could get the run in from third. [Acadians pitcher Austin Snow] threw me a belt-high, outside fastball and I just went with it,” Pomeroy said.
“That was definitely big,” Thayer said. “That gave me a confidence boost. He stayed back in that count and hit a pitch he liked.”
Pomeroy then scored on Partridge’s sacrifice fly.
The Riverdogs used a pair of two-out hits to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
After Acadians shortstop Brad Smith made a gem to rob Economy of a hit to start the inning, Gendreau reached on an infield single and continued to second on Smith’s throwing error.
Snow induced Nick Lorenzo to ground to second for the second out but Pomeroy poked a line-drive single to center to score Gendreau.
Pomeroy moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Partridge punched an opposite-field single to right center.
The Acadians got one back in the fifth when Owen Vinall lofted a lead-off single into left center, advanced to second on Sam Horne’s sacrifice and to third on a passed ball before scoring on Memphis Parker’s run-scoring grounder to shortstop.
The Acadians had baserunners in every inning, but Thayer bore down and made clutch pitches when he had to.
Thayer, who featured a fastball and a curve, struck out three and didn’t walk anybody.
“This is the first time in a while I didn’t walk anybody,” Thayer said. “I thought I threw pretty well, but it wasn’t one of the best games I’ve thrown.”
He said when he had runners on base, “I just kept a positive mindset. I kept powering through. That’s how I like to do it.”
The Acadians went just 3-for-15 with men on base against Thayer.
They lined into a double play in the first as well as in the seventh.
Thayer credited his team’s “great” defense with helping him out.
Singles by Horne, Parker and Smith (RBI) produced a seventh-inning run for the Acadians, but Partridge induced the game-ending liner to shortstop.
“One pitch, two outs. That’s pretty good. I’ll give it to [Partridge],” Thayer said.
“That defined the game for us right there,” Acadians coach Josh Jackson said. “We hit the ball right at people throughout the game. We just couldn’t get the big hit. But the guys never stopped competing right up until the end.
“Our defense had been sharp throughout the tournament, but it wasn’t as sharp tonight and it came back to bite us a little bit. But I’ve got all the faith in the world in this team. They’ll come back and compete tomorrow. We’ll be alright,” Jackson said.
Pomeroy drove in four runs with his triple and single. Gendreau had a pair of base hits, and Partridge knocked in two runs.
Horne and Matt Burnett had a pair of singles each for the Acadians as did Snow and Tanner Ashley.