While Hunter Curtis and the Trenton Acadians didn’t advance to the semifinals of the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, they didn’t come away empty-handed, either.
Curtis tossed a complete-game five-hitter and also delivered a pair of run-scoring singles as the Maine State and Northeast Regional champion Acadians beat Western Regional titlist League City, Texas 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Keeter Stadium.
However, League City and Northwestern Regional winner Cheyenne, Wyoming, advanced to the semifinals by going 2-1 in the four-team Stars Division while Trenton and defending World Series champ Troy, Alabama, each wound up 1-2.
The top two teams from the Stars and from the Stripes Divisions advance to the semifinals.
Trenton lost to Troy 13-3 in its opener and dropped a 2-1 decision to Cheyenne on Friday on a walk-off double by Julian Romero with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Cheyenne and League City each beat Troy 3-2 earlier in the tournament and League City beat Cheyenne 4-0 in their opener.
League City finished atop the Stars Division thanks to its win over Cheyenne. Cheyenne wound up second. League City will face the Stripes Division runner up in the semifinals on Monday and Cheyenne will take on the Stripes Division champion.
The Stripes Division had its final pool play games later on Sunday.
On Sunday, Curtis struck out four and didn’t walk anybody over his seven-inning stint. He scattered a double and four singles and threw 92 pitches, 64 for strikes.
“Hunter is a great pitcher,” said Trenton head coach Brad Smith. “He wanted the ball. It was his last Legion game.”
“My cutter was my best pitch today,” said Curtis. “I just challenged the [hitters]. If they hit the ball, they hit the ball.”
Curtis had tossed a three-hit complete game to beat Nashua, New Hampshire, 6-1, and clinch the Northeast Regional title.
The game was tied 1-1 in the fifth when the Acadians scored a pair of runs to take the lead for good.
Dawson Curtis, Hunter’s younger brother, was hit by a pitch and Colin Sullivan doubled to left center.
An outfield error was made on Sullivan’s double, allowing Dawson Curtis to score.
Hunter Curtis delivered Sullivan with what proved to be the winning run by singling through the left side of the infield with two outs.
The Texans got one back in the sixth on singles by Chase Bourgeois and Brice Smith, a wild pitch and Ayden Roecker-Allen’s sacrifice fly.
But Trenton answered with an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Brett Bragdon drew a one-out walk, his brother Wyatt Bragdon singled through the right side of the infield and Hunter Curtis singled down the left field line.
“My first at-bat wasn’t my best,” said Hunter Curtis, who took a called third strike his first time up. “So I wanted to turn it around. The guys got on base for me and I was able to capitalize.”
“Hunter really brought it today. That’s just who he is,” said Smith.
Texas had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Smith’s single and Tyler Robinson’s run-scoring double.
Hunter Curtis scored the tying run in the fourth when he walked, reached second on a wild pitch and eventually scored on an outfield error.
Hunter Curtis was the only repeat hitter for Trenton with his two singles. Sullivan had a double.
Bourgeois and Smith each had two singles for Texas and Robinson had his double.
Trenton, composed of players from Ellsworth and Bar Harbor’s Mount Desert Island High Schools and Blue Hill’s George Stevens Academy, won the program’s first ever state title since its inception in 1979 and was just the third program in the state to win a Northeast Regional and play in the American Legion World Series.
“The first game [against Troy] didn’t go as well as planned but we came back and competed and that’s all you could ask,” said Hunter Curtis, the North Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year at Husson University in Bangor this past spring.
On Friday, Trenton’s Peter Keblinsky had thrown 6 ⅔ innings of three-hit, one-run baseball but had to leave the game after striking out the first two hitters in the seventh because he had exceeded the 105-pitch count as mandated by American Legion rules.
Miles Palmer came on in relief and hit Colter McAnelly with a 2-2 pitch before Romero produced his game-winning double on a 1-2 pitch.
Keblinsky and Cheyenne’s Bradley Feezer hooked up in a masterful pitcher’s duel.
Feezer allowed just two hits and one run over seven innings while striking out seven and walking just one. He threw 107 pitches of which 70 were strikes.
Keblinsky struck out five and walked two while throwing 108 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Pitchers are allowed to throw over 105 pitches if they are under 105 pitches when they face their last hitter.
Cheyenne took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Kaden Anderson reached on an infield single, moved to second on Landon McAnelly’s groundout and then advanced to third on a wild pitch before Nolan Horton singled him home.
The Acadians scored their only run in the third after loading the bases with nobody out.
Joey Wellman-Clouse walked to open the inning and Brett Bragdon reached first on a catcher’s interference call.
Wyatt Bragdon singled down the right field line to load the bases and Hunter Curtis drove in Clouse with a sacrifice fly.
Palmer then lined into a double play to end the rally.
Romero had a single to go with his double and was the only repeat hitter in the game.
Wyatt Bragdon’s single and a base hit by Keblinsky were the only hits for the Acadians.