BANGOR, Maine — Perfection is rarely achieved on opening day, but the Bangor High School baseball team did enough things well enough Wednesday to begin its 2013 season with a 12-2, six-inning victory over Erskine Academy of South China at Mansfield Stadium.
“It’s a great first game,” said Bangor senior center fielder Tyler LaPlante, who contributed a triple, single, intentional walk and two RBIs to the Rams’ 12-hit attack.
Bangor, which went 15-1 last spring before being ousted in the Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinals, overcame three early errors with steady offense that produced runs in five of its six at-bats to support the combined six-hit pitching of righthanders Greg Duff and Andrew Hillier.
“I thought we came prepared,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey. “I think we had a few jitters defensively, but I was really happy with some quality offensive at-bats, not only when we got big hits but when we moved runners along, something we didn’t do well last year. We did those things today.”
Parker Sanderson and Carl Farnham each added two singles for Bangor, while Sanderson, Anthony Capuano and Brendan Moore joined LaPlante with two RBIs apiece.
Erskine, which graduated 11 seniors off its 2012 team that reached the Eastern A semifinals, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a walk, an infield error and a two-run double by cleanup hitter Josh Bailey.
But Farnham and Sanderson opened the Bangor first with back-to-back singles, and LaPlante followed an RBI groundout by Moore with a blast to deep right-center — the Rams’ lone extra-base hit — to drive home Sanderson, with LaPlante adding the go-ahead run on the play after an errant Erskine relay throw.
“It was my pitch,” LaPlante said. “I’m an aggressive swinger so I just took the pitch and drove it and ran the bases. It was a little outside and I was a little late on it so I just drove it and the wind helped a bit.”
Bangor also put its first two batters on base in each of its next three at-bats and capitalized with two-run uprisings in both the second and third innings to stretch its lead to 7-2. Sam Stanhope singled and scored a run in the second, while Hunter Boyce had an RBI single and Stanhope an RBI groundout in the third.
The Rams then broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, a rally that included consecutive RBI singles by Sanderson, Capuano and Moore from the 2-3-4 slots in the Bangor batting order.
Bangor then ended the game an inning later as freshmen Trevor DeLaite and Kyle Stevenson each singled before Farnham singled to right to drive home DeLaite and give the Rams the victory via the 10-run rule.
Duff pitched the first five innings for Bangor, allowing one earned run on five hits — four coming during a scoreless top of the fourth when Bangor turned a 6-4-3 double play and another Erskine baserunner was struck by a batted ball in fair territory for the final out.
Duff also had four strikeouts and two walks during a 78-pitch performance before Hillier worked a scoreless sixth with the aid of Bangor’s second double play of the game.
“I don’t think Greg had his best stuff, but he could have been out of that (first-inning) trouble with no runs and very few hits if we had fielded the ball better for him,” Fahey said. “Usually he lives right at the knees but he got the ball up a bit today.
“And Andrew came in and did a nice job in the sixth.”