BUCKSPORT — Ryan Bailey’s primary roles with the Bucksport baseball team are to provide solid infield defense and ignite the Golden Bucks’ offense from the leadoff spot in the batting order.
But when called upon to make yet a third sort of contribution on Tuesday afternoon, Bailey made his first varsity pitching start count as he and Class B Bucksport held off Class C George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill 9-7.
Bucksport, playing its third game in four days, needed the righthander to keep his team close after the team’s primary starting pitchers, Tyler French and Evan Eldridge, had worked in the team’s previous two games.
While Bailey didn’t dominate the Eagles, he denied GSA the big inning during his first appearance as the Golden Bucks’ third starter, scattering four earned runs on eight hits in a complete-game, 120-pitch performance.
“It’s pretty hard when you have two really strong pitchers ahead of you, so the expectations aren’t that high,” said Bailey. “But I wanted to set the expectations high for myself.”
Bailey struck out seven, walked six and hit a batter, but became more comfortable on the mound as the game went along — particularly after Bucksport took a 6-2 lead with five runs in the bottom of the third inning.
“He kind of knew coming in that this was his slot, and that when we needed innings he was going to have to give them to us,” said Bucksport coach Mike Cowing. “That’s what he did today. He didn’t have his best stuff but he battled the whole time. He’s just a competitor.”
Bailey was backed by a 12-hit attack led by shortstop Tyler McAllian, who had four singles.
Eldridge hit an RBI single to give Bucksport a 1-0 first-inning lead, but GSA (3-2-1) took its only lead in the top of the third, combining two walks, a wild pitch, an infield hit by Jesse Dow and an RBI single by Nick Kane to score two runs.
But Bucksport (4-1) sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs on five hits with Mike Cummings sparking the uprising with a two-run single to right.
GSA reached Bailey for two runs in the fourth on an opposite-field double by No. 9 hitter Finn McMahon-Allwine and a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Ben Eley to draw within 6-5.
But a three-run rally by Bucksport in the bottom of the fifth kept the Eagles from drawing any closer, with a Billy DeRedin squeeze bunt and a single to center by French delivering two of the runs.
GSA scored its final two runs in the top of the sixth with Dow reaching on an error and coming around to score on a wild pitch, and Cameron Lawson singling and later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Josh Gale.
Kane finished with two singles for GSA.