BANGOR, Maine — Quality pitching has been a constant for the Hampden Academy baseball team this spring, and it was more of the same Wednesday evening as Matt Martin and Tristan Gardner combined on a four-hit shutout to lead the Broncos past Brewer 7-0 in a Class A encounter at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University.
Hampden, ranked second in Eastern Maine Class A, is now 12-2 after its second win of the spring over Brewer. The Witches, who entered the contest in 10th place — one spot out of the playoff picture — are 4-9 with three games remaining.
Martin, a hard-throwing junior right-hander, worked the first six innings on the mound for coach McLean Poulin’s club, yielding three hits while striking out nine batters and walking four during a 104-pitch performance.
Martin (6-0) was at times dominant and at times determined, pitching his way out of bases-loaded jams in both the second and sixth innings and teaming with Gardner to strand 10 Brewer baserunners.
“Matt pitched great, the way he’s been pitching all year,” said Poulin. “At times he was overpowering, and at other times he got in a little trouble but battled his way out of it.”
Gardner, a sophomore right-hander, pitched a scoreless seventh inning and now has allowed just one run in 17 relief innings this spring.
“When the starters get up around a hundred pitches, I’m very comfortable bringing Tristan in because of the way he’s pitched this year,” said Poulin.
Nick Rodgerson doubled, singled and drove home two runs to spark Hampden’s 11-hit attack while Martin and Cooper Antone each singled twice, with Antone also scoring twice, driving in a run and stealing two bases.
“We only had three hits Monday against Skowhegan [a 3-1 Hampden win], so we spent the last couple of days in the cage really working on hitting and it paid off today,” said Poulin.
Patrick Later added a double for the Broncos, while Logan Steward reached base three times and stole two bases.
Spencer Valley, Chase Allen, Tony Bissell and Logan Rogerson each singled for Brewer.
Hampden reached Brewer starter Jeff Weeks for two runs in each of the first two innings, with three of the four runs unearned.
Antone and Rodgerson drew walks to lead off the bottom of the first, and Antone scored one out later after a throwing error on a fielder’s choice grounder by Steward. Martin followed with an RBI single to drive home Steward and make it 2-0.
Michael Ward opened the Hampden second with a single to right, was sacrificed to second by Later and scored on a two-out single to center by Antone. Antone stole second, went to third base on a single to right by Rodgerson and scored on an errant throw as Rodgerson stole second base.
Hampden padded its lead with three runs in the sixth off Brewer reliever Matt Morrow. The Broncos loaded the bases with no one out as Michael Ward walked, Later doubled to left-center and Sam Ward was hit by a pitch. Antone singled home a run and Rodgerson drew a bases-loaded walk. Sam Ward then scored the final run when Steward reached on a fielder’s choice pop to left-center that no one could catch but still resulted in an out when Antone was forced out at third base.