BANGOR — Last summer, the Brewer Senior League all-stars were on the verge of winning the District 3 championship, but came up short.
Thanks to its resilience, Brewer is again in position to earn a spot in next month’s Senior League World Series.
Righthander Kyle Alexander pitched a four-hit shutout Monday night to set the tone for a 5-0 victory over Bangor in the championship round of the District 3 tournament at cool Mansfield Stadium.
Brewer (4-1), which advanced to the title round earlier Monday with a 12-0, five-inning win over Holbrook, faces host Bangor (3-1) Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the 2010 championship game.
“We definitely want revenge for last year,” said Alexander, who pitched in the championship game. “Last year’s definitely not the way we wanted to go out.”
It was a strong bounce-back for manager Roger White’s Brewer squad, which had let a three-run lead slip away in Sunday’s contest against Bangor (a 7-4 setback).
“We talked to them and told them, we’re going to have to beat Bangor twice,” White said. “The first two would have been nice, but the last two works just as well.”
Alexander moved his fastball around effectively and located his curveball off the outside corner of the plate, keeping Bangor batters off-balance. He struck out eight and hit one batter, throwing the maximum 95 pitches allowed before retiring the final hitter.
“He’s a bulldog and he wanted the ball and he got it,” White said of Alexander, who made his first start of the tournament.
The curveball was the key pitch.
“Throughout the year, pitching for high school, I’ve kind of left my curveball out over the plate and it’s gotten hit occasionally,” Alexander said. “If I get it on the outer half, it doesn’t usually get hit.”
Jeremy Bissell sparked the Brewer offense. He knocked in three runs with an RBI single in the second inning, a double in the fourth and a back-breaking, two-run triple to highlight a three-run sixth inning.
Spencer Valley also contributed a run-scoring triple in the sixth for Brewer, which came up with the kind of clutch hits Bangor was unable to produce against Alexander.
“We were just pumped,” Bissell said. “We were going to try our best today and now we’re going to get them (Tuesday). We were ready for this.”
Greg Duff pitched well in defeat for Bangor. He surrendered six hits in 5 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs, only two of which were earned.
Bangor committed three errors, all of which helped Brewer put runs on the board. Duff struck out seven and walked two, throwing 96 pitches before giving way to Jordan Treadwell with two out in the sixth.
Brewer scored the only runs it would ultimately need in the second inning. Zach Violette worked Duff for a leadoff walk, stole second and scored when Bissell lined a hard, opposite-field single to right field.
“He was just throwing me outside, so I decided to go oppo (opposite field),” Bissell said.
Bissell was awarded third on an interference call while rounding second base and raced home on Ian Forrest’s short sacrifice fly behind the first-base bag.
Brewer added some insurance in the sixth. After Jeff Weeks raked a leadoff single through the left side, Matt Morrow reached on a fielding error on a likely double-play grounder.
Violette moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Bissell’s line-drive, opposite-field triple that hit the right-field line and bounded down into the corner.
One out later, Spencer Valley laced a triple to right-center to make it 5-0.
“Our offense, any time anybody was in scoring position, they did their job,” Alexander said. “We knew Duff was going to pound us outside, so we just hit the pitch where it was at.”
Ron St. Pierre’s Bangor ballclub was not able to string together any hits against Alexander. Bangor had a runner reach second base in four of the first five innings, but wound up going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Bryan Rouleau had a double among four hits for Bangor, whose only runner to make it to third base wound up being picked off.
In the early game, Brewer took a 6-0 lead in the first inning, then rode the combined two-hitter of Valley and Violette as Brewer eliminated Holbrook of Holden in five innings.
Morrow doubled, singled and drove in three runs for Brewer. Ben Pushard had two singles with two RBIs and Jeff Weeks hit a single and an RBI triple. Dan Davis singled twice and drove in a run, Bissell hit an RBI double and Violette added two singles.
John Collins and Josh Williams singled for 3-2 Holbrook.
Brewer 610 23 — 12 12 1
Holbrook 000 00 — 0 2 0
Violette, Valley (2) and Forrest; Theriault, Williams (5) and Collins
Bangor 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
Brewer 020 003 x — 0 2 0
Duff and Boyce; Alexander and Forrest