BANGOR — The Hampden Junior League all-star team put an emphasis on its hitting in preparation for the District 3 baseball tournament.
That priority stood out Saturday as the team backed pitcher Tristan Gardner with a 19-hit attack as he turned in a solid two-hit pitching performance, striking out six and allowing one run in 4 2/3 innings, en route to a 23-1 victory over Brewer at Mansfield Stadium.
“I know with the team I was on, toward the end of the regular season they started to hit the ball, and we’ve had a lot of practice — a lot of time to take some swings — and it paid off today,” said Hampden coach Tim Scott, a former UMaine baseball standout who coaches one of the two regular-season Hampden Junior League teams.
Hampden recorded 10 of its 19 hits in an 11-run second inning to support Gardner who settled down after walking two of the first three batters he faced.
“I was overthinking everything in the first inning and I was a little caught up with some stuff,” Gardner said. “But then I started to relax and I came in with a different mindset, and just focused on our catcher’s glove.”
Gardner was clutch when Hampden needed it, as he got a strikeout to get out of the first inning, then struck out a Brewer batter to end each inning except the fifth. He was then replaced by Jordan Dysart after he got the first two outs, the second on a strikeout, because he had reached Junior League’s 95 pitch-count limit.
Dysart induced a ground ball right back to the pitcher’s mound to secure the victory.
After going down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Hampden’s 11-run second inning was highlighted by Cameron Scott and Cameron Prescott. Each hit two singles and scored two runs, with Scott notching three RBIs and Prescott picking up two. The first eight players who stepped up to the plate for Hampden scored.
“The whole team hit incredible today. That’s what we’ve worked on during all of our practices, and I think each one of us had a great at-bat at least once today,” Gardner said.
Hampden didn’t score in the top of the third, but scored eight runs on five hits in the fourth, and four runs on three hits in the fifth. After giving up two hits and one run in the bottom of the third, Gardner and the Hampden defense — which didn’t commit an error — cruised through the fourth and the fifth.
Prescott finished the game with four singles, five RBIs and four runs scored, and Scott notched a double and two singles, and had four RBIs and three runs scored.
Matt Pushard and Daniel Vilasoso each had singles in the bottom of the third for Brewer’s two hits, with Vilasoso recording an RBI on his single.
Hampden plays Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and faces the winner of Bangor vs. Holbrook. Brewer faces Orono-Veazie on Monday, also at 7:30 p.m.
In the earlier game on Saturday, Lincoln defeated Sebasticook 13-2.
<span class=”Sports_agate_baseball”>Hampden 0(11)0 84 — 23 19 0</span>
<span class=”Sports_agate_baseball”>Brewer 001 00 — 1 2 3</span>
<span class=”Sports_agate”>Gardner, Dysart (5) and Clifford; Riva, Pushard (4), Spox (4) Patterson (5), Currier (5) and Friel</span>