BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor High School baseball team has set a pretty high pitching standard this spring — not allowing more than two runs in any game until a 10-8 victory over Lawrence of Fairfield on Monday.
Junior righthander Greg Duff raised that bar even higher at the Winkin Complex on Tuesday afternoon, pitching a no-hitter as the unbeaten Rams defeated Hampden Academy 3-0.
“I think I threw a one-hitter in middle school, but nothing like this,” said Duff, now 5-0 this season for coach Jeff Fahey’s club.
Duff walked the first batter he faced in the game, then retired 20 consecutive hitters before loading the bases on two walks and an infield error with two out in the bottom of the seventh. Duff then got Andrew Closson to hit a fielder’s choice grounder to second base to end the threat and preserve the victory.
“I just tried to stay calm,” said Duff. “I think in the fifth inning I looked up and saw I hadn’t given up a hit. I tried not to focus on it, I just tried to focus on helping us win the game and getting to 11-0.”
Duff struck out three batters, walked three and induced 12 ground-ball outs while throwing just 75 pitches during the 1-hour, 32-minute contest.
“I’ve been working with my pitching coach [Chris Morris] because I’ve struggling with my control a little bit lately,” Duff said, “He just kept telling me to throw strikes and my fielders will make the plays.”
Bangor’s defense didn’t face a lot of tests, but shortstop Carl Farnham ranged up the middle to track down a ground ball headed for center field by Hampden’s Cam Libbey and a line drive by Cooper Antone on back-to-back plays to end the sixth inning.
Then right fielder Parker Sanderson turned in the play of the game, a sliding catch of a sinking line drive off the bat of Hampden pitcher Matt Palmer for the second out in the bottom of the seventh.
The ball initially looked like it was headed toward the right-center field gap, but the opposite-field hit by Palmer soon began slicing toward Sanderson.
“The wind was blowing and the ball was sinking quick so I knew I had to get to it fast,” Sanderson said. “I got a good jump on it and tried to catch it fingers up just in case. I tried to keep my body in front of it and that’s why I went into a slide.
“Before that I had looked at the scoreboard and thought, ‘Wow, he’s got a no-hitter going.’ I didn’t realize it until then.”
Hampden (6-4) also got a solid pitching effort from Palmer, a junior righthander who scattered six hits in a complete-game performance. He struck out two batters, walked two and did not allow an earned run.
Bangor took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of this contest, which was moved from Bordick Park in Hampden to the artificial turf at Husson because of wet field conditions.
Christian Corneil reached on a fielder’s choice grounder that produced the second out of the inning, then stole second base before scoring on back-to-back singles by Cody Savage and Brendan Moore.
Farnham reached on a fielder’s choice grounder that produced the second out of the Bangor fifth, stole second, went to third on an infield error and scored on a wild pitch to give the Rams a 2-0 lead.
Farnham hit a one-out single to right in the seventh, advanced to second on an outfield error and scored the game’s final run on a double down the left-field line by Wyatt Frost.
“Offensively we had enough,” said Fahey. “Early in the game we hit the ball hard but we had some loud outs, and fortunately we were able to scrape together three runs. That’s all Greg needed.”