BANGOR, Maine — It was a well-pitched marathon with Maine District 3 champion Bangor primed for victory in front of a huge crowd at Mansfield Stadium.
But fate just wasn’t kind to the boys from the Queen City Wednesday afternoon.
Greenville, S.C., center fielder Thomas Spencer blasted a 2-2, two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the U.S. Southeast representatives a 4-2 win and deal Bangor a crushing defeat in what had been one of the best-played games of the tournament.
“They’re a very good team, they played well, it was a great game,” said Greenville manager Ken Yeager, whose club earned its first win of Pool A play to improve to 1-2.
“Great game on both sides. I think the fans enjoyed it too,” he added.
Bangor dropped to 1-2 and was eliminated from advancing to the semifinal round.
Fremont, Calif., and Makati City, Philippines, will represent Pool A in Friday’s semis.
South Carolina took a 2-0 lead after two innings, thanks to sacrifice flies by Brooks Yeager in the first and Austin Luttrell in the second, but Bangor starter Jesse Wood settled down nicely after that.
Wood, who has been strong in the closer role for manager Ron St. Pierre this summer, allowed no runs the rest of the way while scattering four hits in seven-plus innings.
“I think it was the performance of the year for him. Great performance,” said St. Pierre.
Bangor was held hitless by Greenville starter Cornell Anderson through the first three frames before Tyler Desjardins led off the top of the fourth with a base hit and he eventually came around on Jacques Larochelle’s RBI groundout.
The tourney hosts tied it in the sixth, but could’ve taken the lead.
Nick Cota led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch and third on another, but he was cut down on a bang-bang play at the plate trying to take the extra base.
Josiah Hartley picked his teammate up, however, driving in Joe Stanevicz, who had been hit with a pitch, with a single.
Stanevicz, who pitched a shutout in a Sunday win over Canada, replaced Wood in the eighth after he reached the pitch count, and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out scenario in that inning.
Wood walked Andrew Carper to start the inning, and was removed due to the pitch count after throwing a wild pitch. St. Pierre elected to walk Alan Suchy intentionally, setting up a force at any base but the plate, but after Yeager’s groundout to second put Carper on third and Suchy on second, Spencer was awarded a free pass. However, Stanevicz bore down and got a strikeout and groundout to keep his team alive.
“One mistake in that situation could’ve cost us the game, but they showed a lot of guts,” said St. Pierre. “That’s a pressure cooker right there.”
After working a perfect ninth, Stanevicz walked Yeager with two outs before Spencer sent an inside fastball over the left-field fence.
“I’m just glad we could pull out a team win,” said Spencer. “I was hoping for a good double to get the winning run in.”
Stanevicz’s location was fairly solid on the pitch, but Spencer got the right part of the bat on the ball.
“Joe’s a great pitcher, he rarely gives up hits let alone home runs, he just came in, that kid got that lucky hit, it’s tough to lose that way,” said Wood.
Bangor missed an opportunity in its half of the 10th, as Luke Hetterman was stranded after a leadoff single.
”We had our chances, the breaks didn’t go our way when we had our chances,” said St. Pierre. “What can you say, it’s baseball.”
But a South Carolina team, which lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to the Philippines Tuesday, might get a little bit of an uplift for the remainder of its tourney run.
“Hopefully this will spark the fire, hopefully this will get us going,” said Spencer.
Bangor’s pitching held Greenville without a hit from the fifth up until Spencer’s homer.