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  • Bangor Daily News

    Messalonskee outlasts Bangor for Class A North baseball crown

    By Sports Contributor,

    2024-06-12
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3ZVsRi_0toL3Ugl00

    Michael and Sam Achorn seem to enjoy competing against each other as much as they enjoy battling against other teams around the state — and the brothers enjoyed the best of both endeavors Tuesday.

    Michael, a junior catcher, rifled two doubles that ignited a pair of two-run rallies while Sean, a freshman pitcher, backed up that offense with a hair-raising three-inning relief stint as second-ranked Messalonskee of Oakland outlasted No. 4 Bangor 4-3 to capture the Class A North baseball championship at Augusta’s Morton Field.

    “It’s amazing to watch [Sean] play, but we have a sibling rivalry,” Michael Achorn said. “We like to watch each other succeed and we like to watch each other fail, but it was good to watch him succeed today.”

    Messalonskee (16-3) advanced to Saturday’s 1 p.m. state final at Morton Field against South champion Scarborough, a 5-0 winner over Falmouth in its regional title game.

    “Our goal is to win states,” Michael Achorn said. “That’s been our goal since the start of the season.”

    Bangor, which remarkably was making its ninth regional final appearance in the last 10 years of competition — the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the COVID 19 pandemic — finished with an 11-7-1 record.

    Bangor coach Dave Morris was proud of his team’s perseverance — Bangor fell behind 4-0 early but rallied with one run in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth before leaving the tying run at third base in the top of the seventh and finishing its season.

    Morris thought his team was hurt by a couple of calls.

    One was a close play at second base in the fourth inning when Messalonskee scored its final two runs, while the second came when Bangor base runner Ethan Sproul was called out after an appeal by Messalonskee for leaving second base too soon after a fly ball by Teddy Stephenson was caught in center field in the top of the sixth.

    That left Bangor with nobody on and two outs after Sproul had hit a leadoff double, and while the Rams went on to score twice later that inning to close to within 4-3, the rally could have been greater had the call not against Bangor.

    “I thought Messalonskee played a great game, and we played a great game,” Morris said. “There’s no question we had chances. We had the bases loaded and came up empty a couple of times, but you’ve got to play seven and I just think you’ve got to let kids determine the game.”

    Messalonskee struck first with a pair of unearned runs off Bangor right-hander Kyle Johnson in the bottom of the second.

    Michael Achorn blasted a leadoff double off the fence in left-center field, then advanced to third base when Bangor third baseman Jack Earl couldn’t come up with a sharp grounder by Parker Reynolds.

    Johnson then struck out Giguere before Lewis plated Achorn from third base with a sacrifice fly to deep right field and Reynolds scored on Sean Achorn’s two-out ground single to right to make it 2-0.

    “I was looking for something to hit and I hit it,” Michael Achorn said of his 350-foot-blast. “I’ve been hitting well the last few games, I can’t lie. I saw a fastball and I hit it, and that’s what I’ve been doing all season.”

    Messalonskee doubled its lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, another uprising that began with Michael Achorn’s second long double.

    Achorn beat the throw to third on a sacrifice by Reynolds, then Reynolds stole second on a close play.

    “I thought we threw the kid out,” Morris said. “I just think in these games unless something’s so obvious you’ve got to let the kids determine the game and I don’t think that happened. Take nothing away from Messalonskee. They hit the ball when they needed to, and they scored the runs.

    “But on that fourth run I thought we had the kid at second.”

    Michael Achorn scored on a pop single to shallow right-center by Giguere, and after Lewis was hit by a pitch, Reynolds scored on Sean Achorn’s sacrifice fly to center to give Messalonskee its 4-0 lead.

    Bangor scored its first run in the top of the fifth, parlaying a Gavin Glanville-True single and three walks to chase Giguere from the mound — including one with the bases loaded to Sockabasin that pushed home Earl — to narrow the Rams’ deficit to 4-1.

    Sean Achorn, the Messalonskee closer through his first high school season, relieved starter Garrett Giguere after Bangor’s first two batters reached base in the fifth.

    The righthander threw 30 pitches before the inning was over, but Bangor managed just the one run as Achorn walked two batters while striking out three.

    “It was just nervousness,” Sean said. “I’ve never had my heart beat so much, but I was just trying to get out of it and think next pitch and get out of it.

    “But I never doubted myself.”

    The Rams’ two-out rally in the top of the sixth restarted after the appeal play as Jack Earl singled to right and Gavin Glanville-True walked before Yates Emerson and Jack Schuck hit back-to-back RBI singles to make it a one-run game.

    Story by Ernie Clark

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