|Hampden Academy||Bangor High School|
BANGOR, Maine — Will Manning had three hits and drove home three runs to back the six-hit pitching of Matt Martin and Tristan Gardner as Hampden Academy defeated Bangor 8-2 in a Class A baseball game at Mansfield Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The win was the third straight for Hampden over the Rams dating back to last spring’s 11-inning victory in the Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinals.
The Broncos, who entered the contest ranked second in Eastern A this spring, are now 9-2 while third-seeded Bangor falls to 8-4 after absorbing its second straight loss.
Manning, whose offensive opportunities during Hampden’s first 10 games had come largely through pinch-hitting appearances, stepped in as the designated hitter against Bangor with immediate results. His day was highlighted by a two-run double that highlighted a three-run second-inning rally by the Broncos and an RBI single during a four-run seventh-inning uprising that put the game away.
Nick Rodgerson, Matt Palmer and No. 9 hitter Sam Ward each added two singles to Hampden’s 12-hit attack, while Logan Steward contributed a two-run double.
Martin, Manning and Ward, the 7-8-9 batters in the Hampden lineup, went a combined 6 for 12 at the plate with three runs scored and four RBIs.
Martin pitched the first six innings to improve his record this spring to 5-0. The hard-throwing junior right-hander, who last week verbally committed to join the University of Maine baseball program after graduating from high school in 2014, struck out 11 batters — seven during the first three innings — while walking three and allowing one earned run on six hits.
Gardner, a sophomore, came on to work a 1-2-3 seventh.
The Broncos reached Bangor starter Greg Duff (4-1) for three unearned runs after there were two out and nobody ont in the top of the third. Michael Ward singled and Martin reached on the first of two Bangor errors in the inning before Manning blasted a first-pitch fastball to deep left field for a two-run double that broke a scoreless tie.
A ground single to left by Sam Ward and a walk to Cooper Antone then loaded the bases before Manning scored as Rodgerson reached on a throwing error.
Martin did not allow a hit until Bangor’s Anthony Capuano flared an opposite-field single to left with one out in the bottom of the fourth and reached second base on the play after Hampden’s lone error of the game.
Cleanup hitter Sam Huston followed with a ground single up the middle to drive home Capuano and cut the Rams’ deficit to 3-1.
Hampden got that run back immediately. Rodgerson opened the Hampden fifth with a single to left, went to second on a single to center by Palmer and stole third base before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Matt Closson.
Bangor had four hits and five total baserunners in the bottom of the fifth, but managed just one run as two runners were cut down on the basepaths. Parker Sanderson had a RBI single to drive home freshman Kyle Stevenson, who had singled, stole second base and advanced to third on a single by Carl Farnham.
Hampden broke the game open with four runs on five hits in its half of the seventh. Singles by Rodgerson and Palmer set up Steward, who hit a blast that bounced off the left-field fence on one hop for a two-run double to give the Broncos a 6-2 cushion.
Two outs later Martin and Manning hit back-to-back RBI singles to cap off the scoring.