BANGOR, Maine — Offense has not been an issue this season for the Bangor HIgh School baseball team.
On Saturday afternoon, the Rams managed only one hit against Cony High School of Augusta — and still won.
Top-seeded Bangor tallied an unearned run in the second inning and pitcher Trevor DeLaite and the Rams defense made it stand up in a 1-0 Eastern Maine Class A semifinal victory over No. 4 Cony at Mansfield Stadium.
“Today, in my wildest dreams, I didn’t think we’d be one-hit by a pitcher from Eastern Maine,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey, whose ballclub (16-2) plays No. 2 Messalonskee of Oakland (13-5) in Tuesday’s 5 p.m. regional championship game at Morton Field in Augusta.
DeLaite (5-0) baffled Cony batters with a lively fastball, a soft curveball and an occasional changeup. The sophomore left-hander afforded the visitors only two hits, striking out 13 along the way.
DeLaite, who walked four, pitched around trouble in four different innings.
“I was hoping we would (score more runs), but that’s fine. I knew one was enough,” DeLaite said.
“I have good defense behind me. I know I can trust them,” he added.
Mitchell Bonenfant (2-3) was impressive, utilizing a fastball, a slider and a changeup to carry a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. He did not record a strikeout or a walk, but hit one batter.
“I think this is the first game I used the changeup consistently and I guess this time it seemed to work,” said the senior righty, who threw 63 pitches, 41 for strikes.
“We just never got that big hit,” he said of Cony’s offensive struggles.
DeLaite logged Bangor’s only hit, lacing a two-out double to left-center in the sixth, only to be left stranded.
“The kid did a great job keeping us off-balance,” Fahey said.
Bangor manufactured its run in the second inning. Justin Courtney reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, then Sam Huston was hit by a pitch.
Brendan Moore advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt up the first-base line.
“He’s actually an incredible bunter for a guy who hits deep gap shots, but I’m glad he got it down,” said Bangor senior co-captain Hunter Boyce.
Boyce followed, hitting a chopper to third. Courtney took off for home and the third baseman chose to throw to first for the out.
“Justin got a great jump, but I think he would have been out if they had thrown to the plate,” Fahey admitted.
Bonenfant went on to retire the next 12 batters until DeLaite stroked the double.
“He had us out on our front foot a little bit and he definitely had his stuff today and pitched well, so we had to scrub out that one run,” Boyce said.
Cony had runners in scoring position in four different innings, but DeLaite worked around the trouble.
In the fifth, Charlie Hallak fisted a one-out single to right-center, but was erased on Foster’s fielder’s choice. Taylor Carrier reached on a fielding error, but Boyce picked off a pinch runner at second base after a first-pitch strike to Reid Shostak.
“Hunter throwing the guy out at second was huge,” Fahey said.
“I saw him looking over at his coach and I saw him looking at the ground a little bit, so I kind of delayed the throw and (shortstop) Kyle (Stevenson) was there for an exceptional tag,” Boyce said.
In the first, Carrier hit a high double to right-center with two out, but was left stranded.
In the second, Mitchell Caron worked a leadoff walk and moved up on Tyler Tardiff’s sacrifice bunt, but DeLaite struck Payton Kennison and Justin Rodrigue.
One-out walks to Charlie Hallak and Thomas Foster gave Cony some life in the third, but DeLaite fanned Carrier, then worked around a fielding error by inducing a comebacker to the mound to end the threat.
“It’s playoff baseball. It comes down to one at-bat, one pitch,” said Cony coach Don Plourde. “We just couldn’t come up with that big hit when we needed it.”