BANGOR, Maine — Curtis Worcester has been known mostly for his pitching performances over his career with the Bangor Legion baseball team, but he showed off his hitting prowess against crosstown rival Brewer Monday night at Mansfield Stadium.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh and the score tied 5-5, Worcester came up and drilled a single to right center to score Tyler LaPlante and give the Comrades a 6-5 victory.
“I just wanted to hit the ball hard,” said Worcester. “The pitch was there for me and I knew what had to be done.”
“He’s pitched really well for us over his career, but that hit was huge,” added Bangor coach Dave Morris. “That might have been the best hit ball of the night.”
The Bangor bats were stymied through the first four innings by Brewer starter Dennis O’Neil, but the Comrades were able to wear down the right-hander and break through for five runs over the last three innings to claim victory.
Bangor came out sluggish in the first two innings as the Comrades committed three errors early that led to Brewer runs.
Brewer got the first run on a Nick Moore sacrifice fly after Bangor misplayed a Tony Bissell sacrifice bunt to third. Bissell came around later in the inning on an overthrow to first, giving Brewer an early 2-0 lead.
After Schyuler Van der Eb reached on another Bangor throwing error, Tyler French knocked an RBI single to score Van der Eb and make it 3-0.
“As a team, we really didn’t show up the first few innings,” Morris said, noting starter Brendan Moore pitched well but lacked the early support.
Nic Cota got the Comrades on the board in the second with an RBI single.
Brewer chased Moore in the fourth and grabbed another run off reliever Greg Duff on an RBI double from French to push the lead to 4-1.
Duff, typically a starter for Bangor, buckled down and kept things close the rest of the way to leave hope for Bangor.
“Greg is usually a starter for us, but he came in and adjusted well,” said catcher Dylan Morris. “I’m really happy with the way he handled things and really kept us in it tonight.”
After Matt Morrow made it 5-2 Brewer with a sacrifice fly, Bangor began to take advantage of a fatigued O’Neil.
“O’Neil came out strong and caught us off guard,” said Worcester, “It took a lot of heart and work to get back.”
Bangor started its rally in the fifth with an RBI groundout from Laplante to make it 5-3. The Comrades got help in the sixth when Hunter Boyce reached on an RBI fielder’s choice and also picked up another run on the play from a Brewer error to close the gap to 5-4.
A few pitches later, Boyce came around with the tying run on a passed ball the game at 5-5.
Then came the seventh, which got started with Laplante reaching first safely with a diving effort to the bag, barely beating a throw from short.
“I thought Tyler’s slide into first base was the difference maker,” said Morris. “If he doesn’t get in there, we are still playing right now.”
After LaPlante moved up on a sacrifice by Carl Farnham, Christian Corneil singled and Dylan Morris was intentionally walked to set the stage for Worcester’s game-winner.
Coach Morris was especially pleased with the manner in which his team found a way to produce runs late.
“If anything we just found a way to get on base and made him change some things,” he said
“We were fortunate to get some hard hit balls and put them in some tough situations late.”
Bangor was led by Cota and Worcester who each singled twice, while Brewer was paced by French’s three hits and two singles apiece from Van Der Eb and Tyler McLain.
Bangor moves to 12-1 and is tied for first in Zone 1 with Motor City, while Brewer slips to 6-7.
In Dylan Morris’ eyes, the comeback shows the hard work that his team puts in daily.
“We’re trying to get better every day,” said Morris. “We try and work at the little things and become tougher mentally.”
“It shows how much hard work we put in and that we can trust anybody in here,” added Worcester.