June 23, 2018
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Stanevicz shines for Rams


     BANGOR — One of the signs of a good hitting team is its ability to produce with two strikes.

  The top-seeded Bangor High School Rams erupted for seven runs in the third inning, with five of their six hits coming with two strikes, en route to an 8-1 victory over eighth-seeded Messalonskee of Oakland in an Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal at Mansfield Stadium Wednesday.

  The 17-0 Rams will now host the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal between No. 5 Lewiston (10-6) and No. 4 Brewer (12-4) in a Saturday semifinal.

  Messalonskee wound up 8-9.

  “They’ve always been a good [hitting] team with two strikes,” said Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier. “They will still put the ball in play or get hits. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’re a great team.”

  “We’ve actually done a lot of two-strike hitting lately. All of us are pretty much two-strike hitters because [having two strikes] makes us wait back on the ball a lot more,” said Bangor senior designated hitter Devin Lyshon, who had a pair of run-scoring singles, including one in the third.

  With Bangor trailing 1-0, Dylan Morris started the decisive rally by hooking a sinking line- drive single into left on a 2-2 pitch from Messalonskee senior righthander Nate Veilleux.

  “He threw me a curve inside. It was a pitcher’s pitch and I was trying to spoil it. I slapped it into left field,” said Morris.

  Jack Stacey sacrificed him to second and Lonnie Hackett flaired a soft single into right off another 2-2 pitch.

  Hackett stole second, Cody McInnis walked to load the bases and Joe Stanevicz ripped a 1-2 pitch past Veilleux’s glove into center field for a two-run single.

  “I was looking for something in my wheelhouse and he threw me a fastball. I hit it right up the middle,” said Stanevicz.

  Lyshon lined an outside fastball into right for an RBI single on a 3-2 pitch.

  Nate Lewis walked and Kyle Savage turned on a fastball and drilled it down the left-field line for a two-run double.

  Adam King capped the rally by driving a 2-2 fastball into left center for a two-run, opposite-field single.

  “[Assistant coach Dave Morris] has been working with me on letting the ball come in deep because I had been pulling my shoulder,” explained King. “I let that [fastball] come in deep and I put it into the left-field gap.”

  King’s hit avenged a tough defensive start for him as the third baseman committed three errors in the first two innings.

  “I had to keep my head up. I didn’t want to bring the team down,” said King. “I saw the guys on second and third and knew I had to get a big base hit to keep the inning rolling.”

  Veilleux, who struck out four through the first two innings, said, “I lost my curve ball for three or four guys [in the third]. I couldn’t throw one for a strike and they capitalized.

  “They were sitting on my fastball,” added Veilleux. “They don’t mess around. They’re going to be tough to beat. You have to come with good off-speed stuff to beat those guys.”

  Bangor made it 8-1 in the fourth as Stacey singled and eventually scored on a Lyshon single.

  Junior lefty Stanevicz pitched six innings of six-hit one-run ball for the win as he improved to 8-0. The run off him was unearned.

  He struck out six and walked two while throwing 90 pitches, 62 for strikes.

  “My fastball was really working. My curve was a little shaky but when I got on top of it, it worked,” said Stanevicz. “And after the first inning, our defense was awesome.”

  “He’s a great pitcher. He’s beaten us three times,” said Veilleux. “He’s not overpowering but he throws hard enough and he locates the ball well.”

  Sam Dexter’s sacrifice fly staked Messalonskee to a 1-0 lead in the first but Stanevicz pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a pair of strikeouts later in the inning.

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