BREWER, Maine — Pat McEwen didn’t need a lot of run support Friday evening, as the righthander pitched a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts and two walks to lead Brewer to an 8-3 American Legion victory over previously undefeated Steamboat Petroleum of Searsport at Heddericg Field.
But McEwen’s teammates provided plenty of timely offense, as the Falcons scored seven two-out runs in tightening the Zone 1 standings as the regular-season approaches its midpoint.
Steamboat Petroleum of Waldo County is now 7-1, one-half game ahead of 7-2 Trenton and just a game in front of Brewer and Bangor, both 6-2. Hampden is two games back at 5-3.
“Our coach says over and over that when you have two outs to try to put the ball in play,” said Brewer shortstop Steve Klenowski, who had a two-run, two-out double in the first inning and an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. “If you put the ball in play you can make things happen, and that just gives you a much better chance.”
Chase Daniels added a two-run double with two outs in the fifth for Brewer, while teammate Tyler French contributed a two-out, two-run homer to left in the sixth.
“The best part about our kids is that we just battle for three outs,” said Brewer coach Chris Morris. “We talked about it before the game, that we’ve got three outs in an inning, so use them.”
That offense, as well as a solo homer to right with one out in the third by Caleb Smith, enabled McEwen to outduel Steamboat Petroleum ace Nate Adams — a teammate of Morris on the pitching staff at Husson University of Bangor.
McEwen, who will be a senior at Brewer High School this fall, relied mostly on his fastball to subdue the Steamboat Petroleum lineup.
He pitched to the minimum nine batters over the first three innings as Brewer built a 3-0 lead — with a 5-4-3 double play erasing Steamboat Petroleum’s only baserunner.
McEwen issued his only walks back-to-back to Dylan Keller and Jack Davis to open the fourth inning, and both runners scored when French couldn’t handle Adams’ line drive to left field.
That pulled Steamboat Petroleum within 3-2, but McEwen responded by striking out seven of the next eight batters he faced.
Steamboat Petroleum scored its final run in the sixth on back-to-back two-out doubles by Adams and Ethan McHatten to close the gap to 5-3.
McEwen worked 7ª innings before giving way to reliever Ryan Bailey.
“Right now Pat’s really getting into rhythm,” said Morris. “We’ve talked about him being an aggressive pitcher, and he’s taken that to heart and has really come along and is realizing his potential. When his confidence is going, he can be a scary pitcher.”
Adams worked the first five innings for Steamboat Petroleum, allowing three earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Brewer took the lead against the righthander with two unearned runs in the first inning.
Eric White reached on an infield error with two outs, then Daniels grounded a single down the left-field line before Klenowski drove home both runners with a double to the gap in right-center field.