BANGOR — Kaleb Gifford began Old Town’s Little League matchup against Bangor East firing throws to first base from shortstop, but finished firing pitches and painting corners on the mound, helping his team complete a 7-4 second-round District 3 all-star baseball win at Taylor Field Thursday.
“I felt pretty good after the first inning I pitched, and settled in from there,” Gifford said.
Gifford replaced Old Town starter Ethan Stoddard in the third inning, and went on to retire 12 out of the 14 batters he faced, striking out seven and walking none while giving up only one hit.
“Kaleb was just a beast out there today,” Old Town coach Troy Sheehan said. “He went in there and threw strikes and shut the door.”
Old Town, now 2-0, is scheduled to play Brewer on July 8 at 5:30 p.m., and 0-1 Bangor East will face the Tuesday winner of Orono-Veazie-Glenburn vs. Holbrook in an elimination game next Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Gifford received help from his offense too, as Old Town scored four unanswered runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-4, after trailing 4-3.
Bangor East starter Carson Atherley held Old Town to only six hits and one walk through four innings, but the 85-pitch count rule in Little League forced coach David Szewczyk to replace him with shortstop Thomas Szewczyk in the fifth.
Szewczyk walked Stoddard to lead off the fifth, and Cole Daniel singled in the next at-bat, advancing Stoddard to third. Austin Sheehan then hit a hard ground ball that nicked off Szewczyk’s glove and bounced to second baseman Kes Lavoie who threw out Sheehan at first, but Stoddard scored to tie it at four. Daniel then scored on a passed ball to give Old Town a 5-4 lead.
Nick Magoon and Dana Ouellete then drew walks, Magoon advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball. Ouellete came in right behind Magoon on a throwing error.
Gifford then came out and retired Bangor East 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth to secure the victory.
“I told our kids heading into the fifth that we needed to swing the bats and be aggressive on the basepaths, and it worked out in our favor,” Troy Sheehan said.
Bangor East struck first when Cameron Burpee led off the game with a double, advanced to third on a single by Atherley, and scored on a Szewczyk ground ball to first and a throwing error.
Old Town answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead off RBI singles by Nick Boutin and Magoon. Bangor East answered Old Town with three more runs in the top of the second, but couldn’t get much off of Gifford after that as he used a powerful fastball that stayed consistent on both the inside and outside corners.
Gifford hit two singles and scored a run, and Boutin, Daniel, Magoon, and Baxter Smith each singled and scored a run for Old Town.
For Bangor East, Burpee doubled, singled and scored a run, Lavoie singled and scored a run, and Jack McCloskey and Isaiah Miller each scored once.
Bangor 130 000 — 4 4 2
Old Town 210 04x — 7 7 2
Atherley, Szewczyk( 5) and Burpee; Stoddard, Gifford (3) and Daniel