June 25, 2018
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Worcester, Cota lead Bangor baseball past Mt. Blue

Gabor Degre/BDN | BDN
Gabor Degre/BDN | BDN
Bangor's Nic Cota slides in safely with a two-run triple while Mt. Blue third baseman Blake Hart waits for the throw in the third inning Friday at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor. Bangor defeated Mt. Blue 3-1.
By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

BANGOR — Curtis Worcester’s pitching style these days can be summed up easily — all he does is throw strikes.

It’s a little more complicated than that, to be sure, but the Bangor High School lefthander has mastered the strike zone in his first two starts this spring, walking no one during a win over Brewer last week and following that up Friday with a complete-game three-hitter as the Rams defeated Mt. Blue of Farmington 3-1 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game at Mansfield Stadium.

Bangor, which began the game locked in a battle with Lewiston for first place in the Eastern Maine Class A Heal point ratings, bounced back from a 5-4 loss to Messalonskee of Oakland on Wednesday to improve its record to 13-2 with just a road game left at Edward Little of Auburn on Monday to conclude its regular season.

Third-ranked Mt. Blue, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, is 10-4.

“We needed this,’ said Bangor shortstop Nic Cota. “As a team we didn’t play our best game in the last game, but today Curtis pitched a heck of a game. He threw strikes, and defensively we made pretty good plays. But Curtis really carried us.”

Worcester struck out nine, walked no one and hit a batter while throwing 89 pitches, 69 for strikes.

“Curtis was the definition of ‘on’ today,” said Bangor catcher Dylan Morris. “He was hitting his spots, he kept his pitch count low, he attacked every hitter. I’m really proud of him, he worked his butt off today.”

Worcester was extended to a three-ball count on only two hitters — the same as he did during his complete-game victory over Brewer in his first start of the spring eight days earlier.

“Coming into today off that Brewer game I just had so much confidence,” said Worcester, “and I knew the guys behind me would make plays.

“My fastball had a ton of movement, not speed-wise but it was breaking up and out to the righthanded batters today, which was good, and my changeup was solid again today.”

Bangor committed just one error defensively, and while the Rams didn’t make the most of an 11-hit attack, a two-run triple by Cota in the bottom of the third inning gave Bangor the lead for good and Morris added his own triple in the fifth and scored an insurance run on a single by Josiah Hartley.

“We’ve been struggling to get the big hits as of late,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey. whose lineup against Mt. Blue had six batters in different spots than they were in a week ago. “We’ve been playing pretty well, we’ve been hitting the ball, but not timely. Even today we had 11 hits, but only two really timely hits. We’re just trying to jumble it up a bit to see if we can get things going like they were earlier in the season.”

Mt. Blue scored an unearned run in the top of the third to take a 1-0 lead. Clint Lowe hit a two-out double to center that was lost in the sun and scored from there on a throwing error as Dylan Vining was reaching first base on a third-strike wild pitch.

Cota, making his third start at shortstop this spring for Bangor, gave the Rams the lead in the bottom of the inning, hitting an opposite-field blast over the head of Mt. Blue left fielder Chad Luker for a two-out triple that drove home Morris and Hartley.

“On the play they hit the triple, we were trying to make an off-speed pitch to the outside, so we figured he’d pull it or take it up the middle,” said Mt. Blue coach Dan Stefanilo, whose outfield played shallow throughout the game.” I didn’t think he’d go to left with it, but it was a great piece of hitting.”

Morris also went to the opposite field with his leadoff triple to deep right in the fifth and scored Hartley, who pulled his single to left.

“I was just looking to hit the ball hard. I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t letting the ball get deep enough from that pitcher, but this pitch was outside and I let it get a little deeper and then shot it the other way,” Morris said.

Morris, Cota and Adam King each had two hits and Anthony Capuano added a double to pace Bangor’s 11-hit attack against Mt. Blue righthander Bradley Jackson, who was pressed into pitching duty as the Cougars were playing their fourth game in five days.

“Bradley did more than I could have expected out of him,” said Mt. Blue coach Dan Stefanilo. “As the fourth guy in our rotation he did everything he could to give us a chance to win.”

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