BANGOR, Maine — Joe Stanevicz’s lingering memory of the Senior League World Series was one pitch — a fastball Adam Quan belted for a three-run homer to send Whalley, British Columbia, past Bangor in the first game of last year’s event.
Painful at the time, it became just another source of personal motivation for the lefthander Sunday, as Stanevicz fired a four-hit shutout and doubled home the game’s only run as Bangor edged another Canadian team, Cornwall, Ontario, 1-0 in the first game of the 2009 SLWS at Mansfield Stadium.
“I had a good feeling about this game, and getting them back after giving up a home run to them last year,” said Stanevicz, who will be a junior at Bangor High School this fall. “I just wanted to get back here and pitch again, I had a little chip on my shoulder.”
Stanevicz yielded only a double and three singles during a 96-pitch performance against Cornwall. The lefthander struck out four, walked four and hit a batter while stranding 10 Canadian baserunners, six in scoring position.
“I don’t really get rattled at all, so when guys got on base I just had to keep pitching the way I did the rest of the game,” he said.
The win was Bangor’s third in six SLWS games against Canadian opposition, but the first since Jordan Clarke no-hit Regina, Saskatchewan, 3-0 in 2006.
“We haven’t beaten Canada in three years, so it’s huge for us to get the first win under our belts,” said Bangor shortstop Nicholas Cota.
Manager Ron St. Pierre’s host Maine District 3 champions, 1-0 in pool play, returns to action at 5 p.m. today against Asia Pacific champion Makati City, Philippines.
Team Canada, 0-1, next plays U.S. West champion Fremont, Calif., at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The Cornwall Black Sox mounted their best scoring threat in the top of the first. James Amelotte hit a leadoff double to center just beyond the reach of Bangor outfielder Tyler Desjardins. Stanevicz struck out Nolan St. Denis, but Dylan Prendergast singled Amelotte to third.
Jay Flannigan then hit a chopper to shortstop, but Cota came up firing and cut down Amelotte at the plate, with catcher Adam King applying the tag.
“I looked at third base and the guy was gunning home so I tried to make the throw and Adam made the great catch and tag,” said Cota.
Bangor then scratched out its only run — thanks to its only hit — in the bottom of the inning.
Flannigan retired the first two batters he faced before walking Jack Stacey on a 3-2 pitch.
Up came Stanevicz, who drove a 1-0 pitch into the left-center field gap. Stacey came around to score, but Stanevicz was cut down at third on a strong relay throw by Cornwall shortstop Dylan Casselman.
“I took a peek as I was running down the line and the leftfielder [James Shaw] looked awfully close to catching it,” said Stanevicz. “I was debating whether it was going to drop, but I just decided to run as hard as I could. He had to make one perfect throw to get me out at third, and he made that perfect throw. But the run scored, and that felt real good.”
Flannigan yielded nothing the rest of the way, striking out five and walking six before giving way to reliever Josh Filon after reaching his 95-pitch limit with one out in the sixth.
Stanevicz, meanwhile, never retired Cornwall in order, but pitched his strongest when the Canadians threatened.
Amelotte opened the Cornwall fifth by reaching on an error and got to third with one out thanks to a wild pitch and a sacrifice by St. Denis.
But with Bangor’s infield drawn in, Stanevicz induced Prendergast to ground out to Stacey at second base, then got Flannigan to ground out to first baseman Josiah Hartley to end the inning.
An inning later, Aaron Seguin drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second by Ryan Daigle. But again Stanevicz stiffened, getting Casselman to foul out and pinch-hitter Leo MacLean to ground out to Stacey to strand Seguin.
Cornwall put runners on first and third with two out in the seventh on a walk to St. Denis and a single by Prendergast, but Stanevicz got Flannigan to hit one more groundout to Stacey to end the game.
“My breaking ball was really breaking,” said Stanevicz, “so I could keep them off balance and let the defense play behind me.
“It was real tough, and nerve-wracking, but we got through it.”
Canada 000 000 0 — 0 4 0
Maine Dist. 3 100 000 x — 1 1 2
Flannigan, Filon (6) and St. Denis; Stanevicz and King