The Bucksport High School baseball team celebrates after defeating Mattanawcook Academy 16-1 in the Class C North regional championship at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine, on June 14, 2023. Credit: Ryan McLaughlin / BDN

ORONO, Maine — Any pitcher will tell you that if you’re staked to a lead before you even toe the rubber, the comfort zone grows. 

And for Bucksport High School junior Gavyn Holyoke, the level of calmness and focus was at the highest of highs Wednesday night. 

Given a 3-0 lead before he even went to the mound, Holyoke was in command early and often, scattering one run on five hits while striking out eight and walking only one as his third-ranked and defending Class C state champion Golden Bucks earned the right to defend their title with a 16-1 thumping of top-ranked Mattanawcook Academy in the North regional final at UMaine’s Mahaney Diamond. 

“When you’re on the mound and you’re up three-zip, you don’t really feel pressured,” said Holyoke, whose lively fastball kept the Lynx guessing all night and earned coach Josh Jackson’s Bucks (13-6) a date with South champ Monmouth Academy at the University of Southern Maine Saturday. 

Mattanawcook finishes the season 15-4.

Monmouth defeated Sacopee Valley of Hiram 1-0 in the South regional final earlier Wednesday. 

The patient Golden Bucks were able to take advantage of four Mattanawcook walks in the top of the first to plate the only runs Holyoke would need, with Ryan Winchester driving in one on a sharp single to right. 

Bucksport would stretch things out with a four-run second, keyed by Brandon Elden’s run-scoring triple to right-center and a bloop RBI single to right from Jason Terrill. 

The way Holyoke was pitching, that 7-0 advantage essentially ended the competitive phase of the game early. 

“It’s nice to take the edge off with a couple runs in the first and then you can just relax and let it go,” Jackson said. 

Mattanawcook never mounted any serious threats against Holyoke, who didn’t allow any extra-base hits until Owen Harper’s fifth-inning double. 

“I was living off the fastball,” he said. “If they’re sitting fastball and hitting it I’ll switch it up but I’ll throw the fastball all game long if they can’t touch it.”

“All season, he’s lived off that fastball but he’s got two or three other pitches that he can throw for strikes,” Jackson said. 

After Bucksport plated two more runs in the top of the fifth, the Lynx were able to get one back in the bottom half on a run-scoring single by Issac Hainer, but by that point it was too late. The Bucks tacked on seven in the top of the seventh to reach the final margin. 

Terrill was the game’s lone repeat hitter with two singles and a run scored for Bucksport. Maguire, Holyoke, Elden and Winchester each scored two runs. 

BDN sports freelancer Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.