June 25, 2018
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Camden Hills wins 5th straight


BELFAST, Maine — Zach Dufour wasn’t in a particular hurry to get off the baseball field Thursday afternoon — he just pitched that way.

The senior righthander threw a complete-game two-hitter as Camden Hills of Rockport earned a 3-1 victory over Belfast in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference play.

Dufour needed just 68 pitches to finish his day’s work, including 52 strikes. He didn’t face a three-ball count against any batter until two were out in the bottom of the seventh, when he issued his only walk of the contest to Belfast’s Cote Ward.

“I was just trying to hit the corners,” said Dufour, who was backed by an errorless defense. “I know these guys are good hitters and they’re really aggressive, so if I hit the corners maybe they’d ground a few. That’s exactly what happened, and we got some good popups, too.”

Dufour struck out five batters while inducing eight ground-ball outs and eight fly-ball outs.

“Zach doesn’t leave much in the middle of the plate, and I think he caught them a little off balance,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart. “He just got in one of those good places where he was working quick and the kids behind him were making plays.”

The win was the fifth straight for 8-3 Camden Hills, which moved past 4-7 Belfast into 10th place in the Eastern Maine Class B Heal points. Just 10 teams qualify for postseason play in that division.

This was a second straight tough loss for Belfast since upending defending EM champion Gardiner on May 14 to move into playoff position, as the Lions were coming off a 3-1 extra-inning defeat at 9-2 Lincoln Academy of Newcastle on Monday.

“We’ve played well, but we’ve got to put the ball in play and make teams play defense, and we just haven’t been doing it,” said Belfast coach George Ross, whose team has averaged just 2.6 runs per game over its last nine contests after a 2-0 start.

Ironically it was Dufour who allowed the only earned run of the contest, in the bottom of the third when Winston Simmonds grounded a single to center, stole second and scored on back-to-back groundouts by Eric Peters and Derrick Bernosky.

And on many days that would have been enough offense for Bernosky, a senior lefthander who nearly matched Dufour’s pitching performance.

Bernosky scattered six singles while striking out three and walking two during an 85-pitch complete- game effort.

But he and the Lions were done in four errors and a passed ball that led to three unearned runs for Camden Hills.

Mike Crockett opened the game for the Windjammers by reaching second on an outfield error. Cameron Gartley’s one-out single to right moved Crockett to third before Dufour hit a sacrifice fly to right to give Camden Hills a 1-0 lead.

Mike Olehnik singled with two out in the second and stole both second and third before scoring on a passed ball to make it 2-0.

The Windjammers’ final run came in the fourth when Olehnik reached on a one-out error, went to second on a single by Joel Gabriele, stole third and scored on Crockett’s infield hit to third base.

By that time Dufour was cruising, retiring 14 straight batters during one stretch from Simmonds’ single in the third to Ward’s walk in the seventh.

“He kept us off balance pretty good,” said Belfast shortstop Jack Davis. “His fastball wasn’t that fast, but he’d throw a fastball and then throw a curveball right after that, and that kept us off balance and we’d pop it up. He was good.”

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