BANGOR, Maine — The Junior League All-Stars of Bangor staved off elimination for the second straight day at Mansfield Stadium in the District 3 baseball tourney Wednesday thanks to a strong performance by the top of their lineup en route to a 6-1 elimination round victory over Brewer.
“The top of the order finally came through. We finally got some hits back to back,” said head coach Jim Owens.
In the nightcap, Bronco LL of Hampden advanced to Sunday’s championship round with a 16-8 victory over Old Town.
Bangor and Old Town will battle in a Saturday elimination game, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s title round against Bronco. A win over Bronco would force an if-necessary game the next day.
In the first game, Jesse Colford and Nick Cowperthwaite, the second and third hitters in the Bangor lineup, both scored two runs as Colford singled and walked while Cowperthwaite singled twice.
Bangor got started right away in the first inning, with Colford reaching base on a walk. He stole second and went to third on a Cowperthwaite single. After Cowperthwaite stole second, both runners advanced on a passed ball, giving Bangor a 1-0 lead. Cowperthwaite also scored on a passed ball.
“The catcher’s position is such an important position out there. You can’t place enough emphasis on the position. You’ve got to be an absolute wall and stop the ball, said Brewer head coach Jon St. Thomas. “Bangor is such a good base-running team that if you give them opportunities like that they are going to take advantage of it.”
The fifth inning saw Bangor expand its lead with three consecutive singles. Riley Hamel led off and John Clement came on as a pinch runner. Colford and Cowperthwaite singled to load the bases. Cameron Burpee then drove in Clement with a sacrifice fly.
Derek Fournier then slammed the ball over the center fielder’s head for a two-run double that scored Colford and Cowperthwaite to give Bangor a 5-0 lead.
Brewer starting pitcher Alex Brooks was taken out in favor of Roben Harris after Bangor’s fifth run. When asked if he may have kept Brooks in for one batter too long, St. Thomas said he was proud of the overall performance.
“You always second guess yourself. I thought Alex pitched a good game. In hindsight I would have gotten him out a little bit earlier but he pitched a good game overall,” St. Thomas said.
Brooks pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits while striking out four and walking five.
Brewer’s first chance to score came in the sixth when Cam Green reached second on a throwing error. Pinch runner Tyler Hersey was held up at third on a Matt Crockett single to put runners on the corners. The inning ended with Crockett being forced out on a fielder’s choice.
Crockett paced the Brewer offense with two singles.
The offense came through for Brewer in the bottom of the seventh inning when Jared Austin, Cam Wood and Jack Corey hit consecutive singles to load the bases to start a comeback attempt. Brooks hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Austin, but Jonathon Mushlin grounded out into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
“I give all the credit in the world to the Bangor pitcher. He did a good job pounding the strike zone early in the count. I thought we were a little to selective early in the count. We could have been a little more aggressive,” St. Thomas said.
Colford pitched a complete game for the win, going seven innings and giving up one run on seven hits while striking out five and walking one.
Owens said his team has been relaxed so far and doesn’t see the pressure getting to them any time soon.
“The kids are pretty loosey goosey,” he said. “They are all buddies, they all know each other. They play hockey and different sports together. It’s a pretty good group.”
In the nightcap, Casey Sudbeck recorded four singles and three RBI to spark Bronco’s 20-hit attack. Jackson Gilmore chipped in with an RBI double and three singles while Ben Huston added three singles and an RBI. Matt Leach contributed a double and two singles.
Jacob Ketch doubled, singled and drove in three runs for Old Town.