Class D baseball title game a missed opportunity for schools, fans

Searsport’s Ben Powell slides home with the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning as he’s cheered on by teammate Mitchell Philbrick, who scored on the play, as well. Bangor Christian catcher Jackson York snags the high, late throw during the Class D state baseball championship at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Saturday.
Justin Pelletier | Sun Journal

When Searsport District High School and Bangor Christian School won their respective regional baseball titles on June 13, it presented what seemed like a golden opportunity for both schools.

Bangor Christian won the Class D North championship and Searsport, in spite of its midcoast location, was the “D” South winner.

This year’s state championship game was scheduled to be played at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, the site of Searsport’s regional championship victory.

But with only one baseball state-title game slated to be played at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, there was a golden opportunity for Searsport, Bangor Christian and the Maine Principals’ Association to talk about playing the season finale there instead.

From a logistical standpoint, playing in Bangor would have been a no brainer.

Bangor Christian is located in Bangor and most of its students come from Greater Bangor. Searsport, meanwhile, is only 30 miles from Bangor, about a 45-minute drive from the Queen City.

Playing at Mansfield would have made it much easier for more fans from both schools to conveniently attend Saturday’s championship game.

Instead, both teams traveled more than two hours — in excess of 110 miles each — to play at the previously established venue in southern Maine.

Searsport prevailed 6-5 in nine innings.

All it likely would have taken was a couple of phone calls to make a Bangor meeting happen.

However, officials from Searsport High or Bangor Christian did not contact the MPA to inquire about the possibility of relocating the game for the convenience of all involved.

It could be argued that by playing in Bangor, Searsport might have relinquished some sort of “home-field advantage” after having played the South title game at Larry Mahaney Diamond.

But Mansfield Stadium is a first-class facility that would have provided a well-manicured field for the players, in addition to superior seating capacity and better sight lines for fans.

An MPA official said that had Searsport, the “home” school, asked the MPA and Bangor Christian about the possibility of moving the game to Bangor, such a request probably would have been granted under the circumstances.

It is a discussion that should have occurred last Wednesday, but nobody appears to have proposed the idea.

Ultimately, Searsport or any team in such a rare situation should have the final say — provided it has the support of the MPA — given its familiarity and apparent comfort with the Mahaney Diamond.

It just seems a shame that all that time and money were spent to send teams, parents and fans all the way to Standish when the game could have been played in a much more convenient location.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 1:57 p.m. on June 21 to reflect that Searsport played only its South regional championship game at Standish prior to the state title contest.

Pete Warner

About Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor Daily News Sports staff since 1984. Pete lives in Bangor with his wife of 35 years, Annia. They have two adult sons, Will and Paul. Pete is fluent in Spanish and enjoys visiting his in-laws and friends in Costa Rica. His hobbies including hunting, fishing and listening to jazz.