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Bangor reaches the semis and makes history at the Senior League World Series

Derek Fournier connects at a game against Canada early  this week at the  Senior League World Series
Derek Fournier connects at a game against Canada early this week at the Senior League World Series
Anthony DelMonaco

BANGOR--- History was made at Mansfield stadium on Thursday evening.

Bangor East/West L.L. defeated Central East Maui L..,Wailuki, Hawaii 3-1 behind five innings of shutout relief pitching from Brian Peirce.

With the win, Bangor became the first host team to finish undefeated in pool play and also the first host team to finish at the top of their pool since the Senior League World Series came to Bangor in 2002.

Bangor won the 2014 class A state championship, they won the 2014 American Legion state championship, and now will be playing in the semifinals of the Senior League World Series.

"It feels amazing, it has been a great year for Bangor baseball," Bangor shortstop Kyle Stevenson said. "Hope there is going to be a big crowd here. It is unreal to be part of."

Stevenson got everything started, when he hit a sharp single to left field to lead off the top of the first inning. He advanced to third base on a Trevor DeLaite single. He came around to score on a Derek Fournier ground out.

"My job is to get on base, that is what I try to do. The guys behind me drive the ball and get me in. That was huge,"Stevenson said. "I was seeing the ball pretty well. It gives us some momentum right off the bat."

Nick Cowperthwaite got the start on the mound for Bangor. He was removed after two innings, not for poor performance.

Manager Barrett Dionne showed confidence in his team and Peirce that they could get into the semifinals, By removing Cowperthwaite at 30 pitches, makes him available to pitch in that semi-final game on Friday.

"My plan before the game was to stick with Nick (Cowperthwaite) and hopefully get the "W". As the game was going along I could see how the game was going,"Dionne said. "I put a lot of faith in Brian (Peirce) to come in and get the job done. I wanted to give our team a chance to win tomorrow and I think we have a good chance with Nick on the mound tomorrow."

With the tiebreakers, even with a loss, Bangor was in good shape to reach the semifinals with a low scoring game.This Bangor team does not want to back into anywhere.

"Everybody knew what the situation was,"Dionne said. "I think we were all on the same page and we wanted to get in the right way."

Stevenson started the fifth inning with a double, Ben Crichton drew a walk, DeLaite followed with a single to load the bases. Fornier bounced one back to the Wailuku pitcher Akoni Hamilton-Golis, that started a pitcher-catcher-first base double play.

That stopped the momentum, but not for long. Ryan Brookings drilled the first pitch he saw from Hamilton-Golis to left field, that scored Crichton and DeLaite to give Bangor the 3-1 lead.

"My job was to go up there and get the runs in,"Brookings said. "He gave me that pitch right off and I put it down the line, it felt good.It feels great.".

Peirce worked around four base runners in the final three innings. Bangor played exceptional defense throughout the game. They turned two double plays, while Fornier threw out two base runners attempting to steal.

"We made the plays when we needed to. A couple double plays in this game were huge confidence boosters,"Dionne said. "Every time they got something going, we came up with a big play or a double play to stop it."

Reaching the semifinals of a World Series is plenty of motivation. These Bangor kids had a little more inspiration arrive late in the game on Thursday.

Assistant Coach Ron St.Pierre was hit by a back swing of a player during batting practice prior to the game.

St. Pierre spent most of the game at the hospital. When he arrived back at Mansfield stadium late in the game, there was relief from the Bangor bench.

"Accidents happen, but anytime one of your own goes down like that it is a shock to the system,"Dionne said. "I could tell a couple of the guys were shocked by it, but they came through."

Stevenson added, "We said before the game that we were going to do it for him, that is what we did."

DeLaite recorded four hits for Bangor. Stevenson chipped in with four hits, Jake Ireland added two hits from the number eight spot in the batting order.

The 2014 Bangor team will join the 2010 Bangor squad as the only host teams to reach the semifinals since the series has been at Mansfield stadium.

Bangor will take on West University L.L., Houston, Texas at 11:30 a.m. The winner will advance to the world championship game that will be played on Saturday afternoon.

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