Eagles dig in to bring home Class C North title

sports; GSA; regional; finals; celebration; 061616; Eagles; George Stevens Academy; baseball; game; high school; school; sport; team The George Stevens Academy Eagles celebrate their win with the Class C North championship plaque. Photo by Monique Labbe

The George Stevens Academy Eagles celebrate their win with the Class C North championship plaque. Photo by Monique Labbe

BANGOR—A walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning clinched the Northern Class title for the George Stevens Academy Eagles.

“It was one of the uglier wins we’ve had,” said Head Coach Dan Kane after the game.

Beckett Slayton ripped the game-winning single through the infield to score Tyler Snow from third base for a 9-8 win over the Houlton Shiretowners on Tuesday, June 14, at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

Slayton, who pitched through the first four and a half innings, retired the first three batters he faced in the first inning before the Eagles offense tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning to take an early 3-0 lead.

sports; GSA; regional; finals; team; photo; 061616; Eagles; George Stevens Academy; baseball; game; high school; school; sport The Class C Northern Maine regional championship George Stevens Academy baseball team. Photo by Monique Labbe

The Class C Northern Maine regional championship George Stevens Academy baseball team. Photo by Monique Labbe

The Eagles drove in another two runs in the next two innings, getting out to a 5-0 lead going into the fourth inning before a two-run double in the fourth and an error on a throw to first allowed the Shiretowners to make it a two-run game at 5-3. But the Eagles offense responded again in the bottom of the inning, driving in two runs to take a 7-3 lead heading into the fifth. That lead was cut to one after the top of the fifth, as Houlton came back to score three more runs off errors.

sports; GSA; regional; finals; Dakota; catch; 061616; Eagles; George Stevens Academy; baseball; game; high school; school; sport; team Dakota Chipman makes a catch on a pop fly at the plate. Photo by Monique Labbe

Dakota Chipman makes a catch on a pop fly at the plate. Photo by Monique Labbe

George Stevens was unable to respond in the fifth and, with bases loaded in the top of the sixth, a poor throw to home plate allowed Houlton to score two runs and take an 8-7 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles tied the game up with a bunt by Tyler Snow that scored Stefan Simmons before Slayton’s walk off single.

“We had that nice little lead to start off, the boys were playing with confidence, but then those errors really hurt us for a while,” Kane said.

The title is the first regional title the Eagles have won since 2009, though the team has made an appearance in the regional title game “about 17 times” since Kane has been head coach.

sports; GSA; regional; finals; Beckett; running; 061616; Eagles; George Stevens Academy; baseball; game; high school; school; sport; team Beckett Slayton rounds second base and slides safely at third. Photo by Monique Labbe

Beckett Slayton rounds second base and slides safely at third. Photo by Monique Labbe

“I have to give Houlton a lot of credit,” said Kane. “A lot of teams will just fold after going down by three or four runs, but they stayed in it. They’re a bunch of competitors.”

The early success in the game was due to the players just being confident in what they were doing, according to Kane.

“We were just playing our game. Beckett [Slayton] was throwing strikes, we were getting hits when we needed them, but then things started going downhill with those errors. That’s the disappointing thing about this game, those five errors. Those were pretty costly,” he said.

The Eagles will play Sacopee Valley for the Class C State Championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at St. Joseph’s College.

“There are 21 outs in a game, you have to just take them one at a time,” Kane said.

George Stevens Academy finished the regular season with a 15-1 record on top of the Class C North standings, defeating the Dexter Tigers 8-1 in the quarterfinals and Mattanawcook Academy 3-0 in the semifinals to make it to the regional title game.

sports; GSA; boys; Nick; Norton; 061116; Eagles; George Stevens Academy; baseball; game; high school; school; sport; team Nick Norton dives for third base in the sixth inning of the semifinal. Photo by Franklin Brown

Nick Norton dives for third base in the sixth inning of the semifinal. Photo by Franklin Brown

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