BANGOR, Maine — Mount Desert Island shortstop John Phelps stole home base in the bottom of the sixth inning to provide an insurance run as the the eighth-ranked Trojans knocked off the top-seeded John Bapst Crusaders 2-0 in an Eastern Maine Class B baseball quarterfinal Thursday at Husson University’s Winkin Complex.
“We have to manufacture runs, [Phelps] is a three-sport athlete and likes taking chances. He gave the look and our third base coach said go for it,” said MDI head coach Mike Swanson. “It was pretty much his call and he went for it. We have confidence in the kids for doing things on their own because we have to manufacture runs and that was one of them.”
“He got a great jump. He had the walking lead and just got a great jump. He just got in there before we could get the tag on him,” said John Bapst head coach David Gonyar.
Phelps also scored MDI’s other run in the first inning. He was hit by a pitch, advanced to second when Tim Wedge drew a walk and then to third on a passed ball. Phelps then scored on Dylan Collin’s fielder’s choice grounder.
MDI, now 11-7, advanced to a Saturday semifinal against the winner of No. 4 Waterville vs. No. 5 Camden Hills. The Crusaders finished with a 14-3 record.
John Bapst threatened in the fourth when John Baker hit a long fly ball that dropped inside the right-field baseline and bounced to the far corner of the outfield. Baker ran through Gonyar’s stop signal and was thrown out at home.
“I was trying to watch the throw come in and as he was rounding third and the guy was making the catch it felt like to me he was going to be out so I put the brakes on,” Gonyar said. “He didn’t see it right away but he felt he was caught in between so he decided to keep going. It was just another tough break.”
MDI pitcher Steven Hanscome pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing only five hits over seven innings with only two hits allowed in the final four innings.
“[Steven] was throwing strikes. In the playoffs if you’re pitching well and making plays you’re going to win, even though we haven’t been hitting well,” Swanson said.
Hanscome and Tom Paola provided the only two hits for MDI, both singles.
John Bapst pitcher Nolan Webber also pitched a strong game, allowing two runs on two hits in seven innings with a hit batsman in the first inning and three walks in the sixth inning.
The Crusaders left three on base in the fifth inning and one on in the sixth, unable to get any runners home.
“It was a great year and certainly the No. 1 seed and the league championships nobody can take away from you but when you start the playoffs it’s all about that one game. We really played a really nice game, MDI did those few things a little bit better,” Gonyar said.
“They played a superb game, their pitching kept us from getting on a roll and their defense made all the plays they had to make, they didn’t give us anything. We just couldn’t get that one in to get us going,” he added.
Swanson said MDI had nothing to lose.
“They beat us earlier 2-1 at home and 7-1 here, they had a good season, he is a great coach and they have a good team but our kids were very focused and determined today, and I’m very proud of them,” Swanson said.