FRYEBURG — Lake Region scored four unearned runs in the sixth and seventh innings to upset host Fryeburg Academy 7-3 in the Elite Eight of the Class B South regional baseball playoffs on June 10. The win gave the boys from Naples, Maine bragging rights for the season after the two teams had split contests earlier in the spring.
The No. 10 ranked Raiders opened the tournament on the road and scored a 2-0 upset victory over No. 7 Poland on June 7. Rival Lake Region, the No. 15 seed, went to No. 2 Erskine Academy (15-4) the same day and pulled off a 1-0 win setting the stage for the two Oxford County schools to meet for a third time with a spot in the regional semifinals on the line.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine Principal’s Association has gone with an open tournament this school year, meaning every school qualifies for the playoffs if it wants to participate.
Lake Region (4-13) and Fryeburg (6-11) had already met twice this season playing a home-and-home series in Naples, Maine on May 11 with the Lakers winning 8-4, and on May 16 in Fryeburg with the host Raiders prevailing 4-2.
“The game ended over there with us having the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate,” said Coach Greg Allain.
Members of this year’s team include senior Noah Grant; juniors Camden Johnson, Bryan Chavez Martinez, Colton McCarthy, Caleb Micklon, Thomas Ontengco and Bryce Richardson, sophomores Sean Davis Ethan Lord, Gunnar Saunders and Austin Warren; and freshman Michael Malia.
The Lakers jumped on the scoreboard with two runs in the top of the first inning with Jacob Smith driving in one of them.
Fryeburg drew level in its half of the third inning with Malia doubling to open the inning and scoring on a wild pitch. Martinez, who reached on an error, also scored on a Laker fielding miscue.
The middle innings belonged to the pitchers. Junior Jacob Chadbourne struck out a season-high 13 Raiders while tossing a complete-game three-hitter while walking just one.
Lord, a sophomore, was equally impressive on the mound for Fryeburg. The quick-working pitcher, scattered eight hits, walked three and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings of work.
In the top of the sixth, Lake Region senior Matthew Aker went to the gap for a double to open the inning. He promptly stole third. With one out, Evan Duprey drew a walk and swiped second. Michael Chase followed with what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right-centerfield, but the FA outfielders did not make a play on it, allowing Aker to score. Noah Peterson ground out to second but Durpey scored to make it 4-2.
Fryeburg cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning. Lord led off with a double, his second of the afternoon. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Grant’s ground out to second.
In the seventh, Brock Gibbons reached on an infield error to open the inning. Smith reached on a perfect bunt and with one out both baserunners advanced on a wild pitch. Aker got hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Noah Durpey brought home all of the ducks on the pond with a double into the right-center gap.
Martinez came on in relief to get the final two outs, but the Raiders trailed 7-3.
Chadbourne closed out the game by striking out the side, getting the first two batters looking, and the final out on a swing.
Freeport, the No. 3 seed, went on to host and beat Lake Region 5-0 in the Class B South Regional semifinals on June 11.
In the South Regional finals on June 14, Freeport (16-4) continued its winning ways by upsetting No. 1 Greely (18-2) 2-1 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham, Maine.
Greely had dominated Freeport during the regular season, winning 11-0 and 10-0, but similar to 2021, the Falcons upset the Rangers in the regional final.
Freeport and Ellsworth (18-2), the No. 1 seed in the north, met for the state title at USM on Saturday with Ellsworth winning 3-2.