BANGOR — The Hermon baseball team has had an upbeat season to date, but its first meeting of the spring against John Bapst of Bangor represented a low point when the Hawks squandered a four-run, seventh-inning lead and absorbed a one-run loss.
Coach Doug McGinley’s club was determined not to let that happen again in the rematch Tuesday, and Cody Veilleux and Tyler Fourner helped make sure it didn’t.
Veilleux pitched a three-hit shutout and Fournier hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run as Hermon defeated the Crusaders 6-0 in a Class B clash at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University.
The win — in a game moved from Hermon to the artificial turf at Husson due to weather issues — improved the Hawks’ record to 7-3, while John Bapst fell to 5-2.
“Basically we lost focus in the first game, we thought we already had it wrapped up,” said Fournier. “But we knew today they were here to play no matter how many runs they were down, and this time we kept our focus.”
Veilleux, who earned a no-decision in the earlier game against John Bapst after being lifted in the sixth inning with a high pitch count, was much more efficient in the rematch while improving his record to 4-0.
The righthander required just 92 pitches during a complete-game effort, mixing a fastball, curve and changeup to strike out eight batters while issuing three walks. He faced more than four batters in an inning just once, in the top of the seventh when John Bapst loaded the bases with two outs on Hermon’s lone error of the contest and two walks before he recorded a game-ending strikeout.
“I had to keep my pitch count down today because the last time I got to 112 or so,” said Veilleux. “Today I was only at 68 going into the last inning and ended up with , so that was a lot better.”
Fournier’s shot to the right-center field gap capped off a five-run rally by the Hawks in the second inning that provided Veilleux all the offensive support he needed.
Veilleux reached on an infield error to start the uprising and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw before scoring the game’s first run on a groundout by Kevin Frederick.
Greg Hamlin then walked and was forced out at second on a grounder by Zach Pond. Dylan Smith also walked before Pond scored as Reid McGinley went to the opposite field for a single to left.
Fournier then pulled a first-pitch fastball from John Bapst starter Max Andrews between center fielder Shawn Curran and right fielder Evan Pelkey, leaving the outfielders to chase down the ball as it sped toward the fence while Fournier raced around the basepaths for his first home run since his youth league days.
“I just saw the pitch and I liked it and happened to hit a gap,” said Fournier, Hermon’s center fielder. “I struck it well but it was a matter of luck, too.
“”I was thinking three, but we rely on our third-base coach [Doug McGinley] a lot, he’s my eyes and he was waving me in so I just went.”
Hermon added its final run in the sixth inning as Frederick singled up the middle, stole second base and went to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a groundout by pinch hitter Jarod Cox.