BANGOR, Maine — Nearly 13 hours after facing its first pitch of the day, the Lee Academy baseball team walked off Mansfield Stadium on Saturday evening feeling justifiably satisfied.
Two victories over two different opponents at two different locations will do that for a team.
After defeating Penobscot Valley of Howland 14-1 in a makeup game that started at 9 a.m. on their home field, the Pandas trekked 65 miles south to face Deer Isle-Stonington in a 7:30 p.m. start and outlasted the Mariners 7-4.
“The first game we were able to make a quick one, and then most of the team just rested together, played some pool and had some fun,” said Lee’s Dustin Sawtelle, who pitched a complete-game seven-hitter as the Pandas avenged an 8-7, eight-inning loss at Deer Isle-Stonington on May 2. “Then we came down here ready to play.
“It was a long day, but very fun. I couldn’t ask for a better day, I guess.”
Sawtelle struck out six, walked three and hit two batters while yielding just one earned run.
“At the beginning of the game my fastball wasn’t moving real good so I went to the curveball,” said Sawtelle, one of just three seniors on the Lee roster. “But by the end of the game I don’t know if I was getting looser or what but my fastball was moving better and it just felt right.”
The righthander also got solid defensive backing after Lee committed two errors that led to three Deer Isle-Stonington runs in the top of the second that staked the Mariners to a 3-0 lead.
“We made the plays, that’s the big thing,” said Lee assistant coach Tyler Thompson, who was subbing for head coach Randy Harris for the day. “We had two big plays in the last inning and we had two good catches in the outfield earlier in the game when they had runners on base. I think that was the difference, the ball bounced our way when we needed it to.”
Class C Lee (6-5) tied the game with a two-out rally in the third inning, with two walks and a hit batsman by Deer Isle-Stonington starter Connor Morey loading the bases before Devin Peters plated Sawtelle with an infield single to shortstop, Sam Mallett drew a bases-loaded walk and Rusty Raymond scored on an infield error.
Class D Deer Isle-Stonington, which also was playing its second game of the day after an earlier 5-3 loss to Bangor Christian, took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth when Hayden Ciomei hit a leadoff single to center, reached third on two wild pitches and scored on a groundout by Nick Trundy.
But Lee countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good. Singles by Peters and Mallett started the rally, with Peters later scoring on a wild pitch and Mallett scoring from third on an infield error to give the Pandas a 5-4 advantage.
Lee added two insurance runs an inning later, capitalizing on two walks, a wild pitch on a third strike that allowed Raymond to reach base, another wild pitch and a single by Peters.
Sawtelle then retired the side in order in the seventh, getting good defensive plays from third baseman Jeff Tomah and Mallett at first base to help put the game away.
“Dustin just threw strikes, that’s the big thing,” said Thompson. “He got ahead of the batters, and the guys made the plays behind him and that was the big difference. In the games we’ve lost the errors have snowballed but we did a good job today.”
Peters finished with three of Lee’s six singles, while Tomah, Mallett and Billy Nicholas also had hits as the Pandas capitalized on 10 walks issued by Deer Isle-Stonington pitchers. Sawtelle, the No. 3 hitter in the Lee order, walked four times.
Ciomei doubled and singled for the 4-4 Mariners.