BANGOR, Maine — The John Bapst baseball team has taken a liking to new head coach Dave Gonyar, and the results are showing themselves not only in the dugout but also on the field.
Righthanders Max Andrews and Jon Deschaine combined on a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts as the Crusaders improved their record to 4-0 on Thursday night with a 5-1 Class B victory over Mount Desert Island at Mansfield Stadium.
“With the new coach we all feel real confident,” said junior left fielder Andrew Catlin, who had three singles and reached on an error in his four plate appearances from his leadoff spot in the John Bapst order. “From top to bottom we feel like we have a good team and we feel like we can go real far this season. We feel like we have a solid team and we feel confident about what we can do.”
Much of that optimism stems from a deep pitching staff anchored by Andrews, a hard-throwing senior who struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced and allowed just a single run in his five innings of work.
“Max really went after the hitters real well, and early in the game he was right around the strike zone,” said Gonyar, a longtime former head coach at Bucksport who returned to the varsity coaching ranks this spring for the first time since 2002. “When he got a little tired he started aiming it a bit, but then when he got into that one jam he bore down and his velocity came back.”
Andrews (2-0) finished with 10 strikeouts and four walks before giving way to Deschaine, who pitched two hitless innings of relief.
“I was definitely relying on the fastball,” Andrews said. “I wasn’t too comfortable with my slider and my curveball at the start but once I got them working I started using them more.”
Junior righthander Ben Walls pitched effectively for 2-2 MDI, scattering seven hits over five innings while striking out four, walking two and yielding just two unearned runs.
Catlin paced an eight-hit John Bapst attack that was aided by three singles and a double to the opposite field — the double a two-run drive by centerfielder Shawn Curran that highlighted a four-run rally in the bottom of the third that extended the Crusaders’ lead to 5-0.
“I think they were taking what they could get,” said Gonyar of his team’s hitting approach. “We work on being able to hit the entire plate, and every hitter has his favorite zone he likes to attack when he can. But I thought their pitcher did a nice job of making us hit his pitch a lot. He got a lot of easy outs, but we had just enough pitches to drive the other way that really helped us.”
John Bapst took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Curran reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and went to third on a single by Sean O’Donnell before scoring on an infield error.
Josh Storgaard and Catlin each singled to open the Bapst third, and both scored when Curran lined his opposite-field double to left. Curran went to third when MDI tried to throw out Catlin at home, and scored as O’Donnell reached on an infield error.
O’Donnell went to second on a single to right by Andrews, was sacrificed to third base by Dan Davis and scored the Crusaders’ final run on a two-out single to left by Mark Dieuveuil.
MDI scored its lone run after two were out in the top of the fifth. Cam Crawford walked and Jon Phelps singled before back-to-back walks to Caleb MacDonald and Nick Shaw forced home a run.
Jon Phelps finished the game with two singles, while Walls added a double.
“We were all kind of excited in school today,” said Catlin. “We were looking forward to tonight because the games we played before were against good teams but MDI’s always been a perennial team up at the top so we felt this would be a good measure of where we are so far this season.”