BANGOR, Maine — The bats may have still been in early-season mode Saturday, but the John Bapst baseball team got pitching performances right out of a postseason run to sweep Presque Isle 6-4, 6-2 in a Class B doubleheader Saturday at the Winkin Baseball Complex.
Sophomore righthander Chris Hammond pitched a five-hitter in the second game, while junior righty Jason McBurnie threw five innings of shutout relief in the opener as coach Shane Graham’s Crusaders improved their record to 3-0.
Pivotal to their success was their control during the breezy afternoon, as Hammond walked just one batter and McBurnie walked none while hitting a batter.
“When I’m in the field I hate it when guys are walking guys and throwing balls and taking forever, so I work fast and throw strikes,” said Hammond, a transfer from Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, N.H., where he pitched on the junior varsity as a freshman. “That’s how I’ve always played the game.”
Hammond did not allow an earned run in his first John Bapst start, and he was as sharp at the end of the game as he was at the outset — his only 1-2-3 inning came in the seventh.
“The fastball was working good, and I kept them off-balance with the curveball a little bit,” said Hammond, who struck out seven batters. “They couldn’t catch up to it a lot of times, so I used that a lot, and then the curveball when I had to and the changeup to get a couple of strikeouts.”
John Bapst used a five-run, second-inning rally to snap a 1-1 tie in the second game. Presque Isle starter Matt Chasse walked Shane Hass and Adam Leadbetter and hit Matt Duplisea with a pitch to load the bases with no one out. One out later, Casey Hull worked the count from 0-2 to 3-2 before grounding an RBI single to left to score Hass with the go-ahead run.
Chasse retired the next batter before Chase Huckestein lined a three-run, opposite-field triple to right-center — the first extra-base hit by either team in the doubleheader.
“[Chasse] was throwing a lot of strikes, so I knew it was going to come in, and with the bases loaded I knew I had to put it in the gap somewhere,” said Huckestein. “I just went with the pitch and it ended up going over the right fielder.”
Huckestein scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch to extend the Bapst lead to 6-1.
John Bapst managed just four hits off Chasse and reliever Wilder York, while Isaac Lajoie and Zac Campbell each singled twice for Presque Isle.
The Crusaders had just three hits in the opener but scored five unearned runs in the first two innings to take the lead before McBurnie came on to shut down Presque Isle’s offense.
Presque Isle (0-2) took a 2-0 lead off John Bapst starter Matt Storgaard in the top of the first. Chasse drew a one-out walk and Campbell was hit by a pitch before Brennen Shaw singled home Chasse and Steve Ford’s fielder’s choice grounder plated Campbell.
John Bapst answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, a rally that included two errors, two walks and an RBI single by Hass.
Presque Isle tied the game in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Chasse and a two-out RBI single by Shaw.
John Bapst made it 5-4 in the bottom of the inning with another unearned run, as Hull reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a flyout and scored on a wild pitch.
McBurnie came on after the leadoff batter reached in the third and went on to escape a two-on, one-out jam with back-to-back strikeouts. That was his only jam, as McBurnie retired 14 of the last 16 batters he faced.
Hull sparked the John Bapst offense without benefit of a hit, as he reached base three times, stole three bases and scored three runs from the leadoff spot in the Crusaders’ batting order.
Shaw had three singles for Presque Isle, while Lajoie singled twice.