BANGOR, Maine — The John Bapst Crusaders scored just one run in their first nine innings of the high school baseball season — a stretch of relative futility covering a season-opening shutout loss at Foxcroft Academy and their first two innings of Thursday night’s game against Old Town.
But their 10th chance to swing the bats produced an offensive explosion, as coach Dave Gonyar’s club erupted for 11 runs in the bottom of the third inning en route to a 12-1 Penobscot Valley Conference Class B baseball victory over the Coyotes at Mansfield Stadium.
The game ended after 4 1/2 innings under the 10-run rule.
“When we played Foxcroft they were already kind of into the swing of the season and that was our first game, and we were definitely cold at the plate that day,” said John Bapst left fielder Andrew Catlin. “This was a good game to get our confidence up, which was something we really needed going forward.”
The teams were locked in a 1-1 stalemate through 2 1/2 innings before John Bapst sent 16 batters to the plate in its half of the third and combined nine hits, four walks and two Old Town errors to break the game open.
Evan Pelkey had two hits and three RBIs during the uprising, including a two-run double to deep left field just after an RBI single by Shawn Curran for a 4-1 lead.
“I’m still trying to get my bat on the ball right now and just trying to get back in the swing of things,” said Pelkey, the John Bapst shortstop and No. 3 hitter. “I just saw a good pitch down the middle. I had let one go earlier, I don’t know why, but that one just came up there and I hit it. It felt good and I thought it was going to be caught but I got lucky there.”
And the Crusaders were just getting started.
Two walks later, Cody Lyons hit a two-run single to right, and after another walk Nick Jordan grounded a two-run single to right to make it 8-1.
Catlin delivered another run with an infield hit before Curran and Pelkey added their second RBI hits of the inning and Nolan Webber drove home the final run of the blitz with a two-out infield single.
From there it was let to Curran to finish off a five-inning complete game on the mound for John Bapst.
The left-hander allowed just one earned run on two hits while striking out three batters, walking four and hitting a batter.
“I was mixing well,” said Curran. “I found my curveball after a while and kept mixing it in and it felt pretty good.”
Catlin, the John Bapst leadoff hitter, had three singles, three runs scored, one RBI and one of his team’s six stolen bases.
Two of his hits were of the infield variety.
“Coach likes the leadoff hitters to be aggressive on the first strikes we see,” said Catlin. “He likes us to put the ball in play, and I think if I can get the ball in play and beat the throw to first hopefully I can steal some bases from there and get home.”
Curran and Pelkey each contributed two hits to John Bapst’s 12-hit attack as the top three spots in the Crusaders’ lineup went a combined 8-for-10 at the plate with seven runs scored and six RBIs.
John Bapst (1-1) took a 1-0 lead off Old Town starter Garrett Libby in the bottom of the first. Catlin opened the inning with a single to center, advanced to second on a groundout and stole third base before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Tom Burns.
Old Town (1-3) tied the game in the top of the second as Libby drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second by Adam Boucher and reached third base on a groundout before scoring on Tyler Young’s two-out single to left.
Cam Archer had Old Town’s other hit, a first-inning single.