June 24, 2018
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Strong pitching propels Bangor, Hampden all-stars to Senior League wins

By Joe Duball, Special to the BDN

BANGOR, Maine — A confident Cody Collins overcame a shaky start to shut down Holbrook and lead Bangor to a 2-1 victory in the nightcap of the District 3 Senior League baseball all-star tourney Sunday night at Mansfield Stadium.

Collins let the first two batters reach by hitting Seth Pearson and allowing a double to Joe Archambault. Shawn Curran made Collins pay with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Collins then regained his confidence and struck out the next two batters to end the inning without further damage.

“It was probably the best I had felt in a long time out there,” said Collins. “I’ve pitched under pressure like this all year, so I was really unfazed by the situation.”

The righthander scattered just five hits and the one run over 6 2/3 innings. Collins did not walk a batter and struck out eight while throwing 95 pitches.

“If he hadn’t hit the first guy, I don’t think they would’ve scored,” said Bangor coach Ron St. Pierre.

Bangor advances in the winners bracket to face Hampden on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., while Holbrook will play an elimination game against Houlton on Monday at 5 p.m.

Hampden shut out Old Town in the first game Sunday 1-0. Old Town will play Sebasticook in an elimination game Monday at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Hampden beat Houlton 10-0 in six innings and Holbrook followed with a 4-2 victory over Sebasticook.

The D3 champ earns a berth in the Senior League World Series Aug. 12-18 in Bangor.

On Sunday night, the Bangor offense made up for Collins’ start by manufacturing two runs in the bottom of the first.

Tim Bullard and Jon Stanhope led off the inning with back-to-back singles and then advanced to second and third on passed balls. Bullard came home on a passed ball to tie the game, and Stanhope scored when Holbrook overthrew second on a steal attempt to put Bangor up 2-1.

That was all the offense Bangor could muster as it got just three hits in the game, but it was enough for Collins.

He was able to stymie the Holbrook bats and eliminate scoring chances with ease when runners did reach.

“I was able to get ahead in the count and hit my spots for most of the night,” said Collins. “In doing that, it opened up a lot of opportunities to use my off-speed.”

He did not feel threatened when the ball was put in play because of sound defense.

“I felt like I could throw any pitch in any count and these guys were going to field it cleanly,” he said.

“We work very hard on defense here,” added St. Pierre. “We don’t get mad at guys who make physical errors and we tell them not to lay back on the ball and just go for it.”

Holbrook was led by Archambault’s double and two singles from Gagne.

Sunday’s first game between Old Town and Hampden also featured strong pitching as Hampden pulled out the victory.

Hampden’s Tristan Gardner and Old Town’s Tyler Byther were locked in a pitchers duel through the first five innings.

Hampden played small ball in the sixth with back-to-back bunt singles from Closson and Cody Varney.

After Matt Palmer was intentionally walked to load the bases, Michael Ward picked up an RBI infield single to put Hampden on the board 1-0.

Cody Lyons came on in the seventh and allowed two hits, but settled down and picked up the save.

Gardner went six innings, giving up two hits and striking out nine en route to the victory. Byther took the tough loss, allowing the one run on five hits and striking out three.

Hampden was led by Matt Palmer’s double and Ward’s single. Old Town got singles from D.J. Monteith, Jacob Earl, Jacob Reese, and Tyler Young.

In Saturday’s games, Hampden and Holbrook were able to put their pitching depth on display in opening victories.

The offense came up big for Hampden in the first game, but the story was starter Matt Martin.

Martin set the tone for his team, allowing just three hits in a complete-game shutout. The right-hander struck out six and did not walk a batter while throwing an efficient 62 pitches.

“I tried to keep them guessing here and there with my curveball and off-speed stuff,” said Martin. “My main goal was to really pound the zone with that first pitch strike and get them to put the ball in play.”

Just one runner got past second base for Houlton as Martin was aided by a flawless defensive effort.

The Hampden offense also made things easy for Martin with a 10-run, 11-hit attack.

Varney got the offense rolling for Hampden in the second picking up an RBI on a misplayed bunt that scored Andrew Elston to make it 1-0.

Hampden stepped it up in the fourth with four runs to break the game open.

The inning was highlighted by a two-run single from Varney, while Lyons’ RBI single and Elston’s RBI fielder’s choice helped bring the Hampden lead to 5-0.

Matt Palmer extended the lead to 8-0 with a three-run double in the fifth, putting Hampden in position to end the game by the mercy rule.

That was achieved in the sixth with RBI singles from Matt Closson and Varney to make it 10-0.

Hampden was led by Varney’s three singles and Palmer’s double and single, while Martin also added two singles.

Houlton got a double from Kole Buzzeo and a single from Dan Howe and Nick Hagan.

The pitching was just as solid in the nightcap as Holbrook starter Nolan Webber held the Sebasticook offense at bay.

Webber gave up an early run on Conner Hutchins RBI fielder’s choice in the third to give Sebasticook the 1-0 lead, but the right-hander buckled down from there.

Webber held the Sebasticook bats at bay long enough to let his team sneak back into the game.

Logan Rogerson came up in the fifth and tied the game at 1-all with a sacrifice fly.

The Holbrook bats broke through in the sixth with three runs to take the lead.

After Archambault reached on passed ball and stole second, Chase Allen picked up an RBI single to put Hampden ahead. Ryan Gagne followed with an RBI triple and then scored on a passed ball to make it 4-1.

Sebasticook would not give in as Jake Winslow’s RBI single in the sixth made it 4-2.

Webber got the first two men to strike out in the seventh but then allowed a single and a walk to reach his 95-pitch limit.

Gagne came on in relief to get the final out and strand the two inherited runners to give Holbrook the win.

Webber scattered the two runs on just four hits in his 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out just one and walked three, but induced many groundball outs and did not allow Sebasticook to overpower him.

“I just felt like I needed to rear back and give as much as I could,” said Webber. “I just went back and forth between the fastball and curve, which goes to show smart pitching plays a huge role.”

Gagne lead the way for Holbrook with the triple, while Allen, Archambault, and Curran all added singles.

Sebasticook was led by Zach Ramsdell’s two singles and a single each from Winslow and Drew Curran.

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