BANGOR — Cody Farrell has spent most of his baseball life playing on natural grass.
But forgive him if he’s gaining a rapid affection for artificial turf.
The Brewer shortstop put on a fielding clinic Monday night on the Field Turf at Husson University, starting three double plays and handling six total chances flawlessly to help the second-seeded Falcons take charge of the American Legion Zone 1 tournament with an 8-3 victory over No. 4 Motor City of Bangor in a winners bracket game of the double-elimination event.
“You get a good, solid bounce off the turf every time,” said Farrell, a 2010 Bucksport High School graduate who played baseball this spring at Thomas College of Waterville. “You just have to field it cleanly, and that’s what I try to do.”
Brewer (18-5) advances to Tuesday 7 p.m. championship round against the winner of the 4 p.m. elimination game between No. 1 Bangor (18-5) and Motor City (15-9). The Falcons need just one more win to clinch the Zone 1 title.
Bangor eliminated No. 3 Hampden 10-0 in Monday’s first game.
Farrell teamed with second baseman Brandon Gendreau to turn inning-ending double plays in both the second and third, then started a 6-3 double play in the sixth after Motor City had gotten its leadoff batter aboard.
That defensive support helped Pat McEwen earn the pitching victory, as the righthander struck out 10 batters and walked three while scattering 10 hits before giving way to Evan Eldridge with one out in the ninth.
“(Farrell) made a couple of great plays and had a couple of RBIs he had a great game,” said McEwen, now 5-0 on the summer.” That’s what we do, we pitch, we play defense and that’s how we win games.”
Motor City jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring on doubles by Casey Estes and Chris Hammond in the top of the first and again on a single by Estes, a stolen base and an RBI single by Hammond in the top of the third.
But Farrell and Gendreau turned their second double play in as many innings to help Brewer escape further damage after Motor City loaded the bases with one out, then the Falcons countered with four runs in the bottom of the third.
Motor City starter Max Andrews, who struck out four batters in the first inning — Eldridge reached base on a third-strike wild pitch — and six batters over the first two innings, fell victim to control problems in the third.
Eric White hit a one-out single to right, and Eldridge reached on a misplayed grounder to shortstop. After Kyle McLain fouled out, Nick Moore walked and White scored on a wild pitch before Farrell hit a two-run single to give Brewer a 3-2 lead.
Farrell then scored from second base when Motor City catcher Cody Cross couldn’t locate Andrews’ third wild pitch of the inning.
The Falcons made it 5-2 in the seventh when Eldridge singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Moore, and Eldridge added a three-run double in the eighth.
Eldridge paced Brewer’s eight-hit attack with three singles, while Farrell singled twice.
Estes and Benoit each had three hits for Motor City.
In Monday’s first game, Bangor scored five runs on one hit in the bottom of the first, then rode the two-hit pitching of Curtis Worcester to victory.
Worcester yielded only a fourth-inning single by Evan Kingsbury and an infield hit by Josiah Brazier in the fifth during a complete-game, 105-pitch performance that helped the Comrades rebound from Sunday’s 12-2 first-round loss to Motor City.
“(Sunday) night was bad, just ugly,” said Worcester. “The veterans on the team talked quite a bit last night and we said we had to carry this team and be leaders today and I felt like we did that.”
Dylan Morris doubled twice, singled and drove in two runs to lead Bangor’s 12-hit offense. Cody McInnis singled twice, scored twice and reached base four times, Christian Corneil singled twice and scored three runs and Bryan Rouleau added two singles — including a ground single to left to drive home Corneil in the bottom of the eighth and cap off a four-run rally that ended the game under the 10-run rule.
The Comrades took control of the contest in the bottom of the first with patience at the plate against Hampden righthander Connor Perry, who walked five batters and hit two others to go with an RBI single by McInnis that capped off the five-run uprising.
(Monday’s First Game)
Hampden 000 000 00—-0—2—1
Bangor 500 001 04—10-12—0
Perry, Bernosky (1), Amoroso (8) and Frederick; Worcester and Morris; 2B-Morris 2; Repeat hitters: Morris 3, McInnis, Corneil, Rouleau
(Monday’s Second Game)
Motor City 101 000 001—3—10-1
Brewer 004 000 13x—-8—8—1
Andrews, Melmed (8) and Cross; McEwen, Eldridge (9) and Moore; 2B-Estes, Hammond; Repeat hitters: Estes 3, Benoit 3, Hammond; Eldridge 3, Farrell