March 29, 2020
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Pitching will be key for Crusaders

BANGOR, Maine — The John Bapst baseball team used the sunshine of April vacation to jump out to a 3-0 start this season.

But the Crusaders will have to wait a full week to build on that momentum.

After earning a 6-4, 6-2 doubleheader sweep over Presque Isle at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University on Saturday, coach Shane Graham’s club is now idle until playing its first road game at Old Town next Saturday.

It’s a tough role, but we’ve just got to work to stay fresh,” said Graham. “We’ll probably do a lot of intra-squad stuff and see more live pitching to get the bats going a little bit, but like I tell the guys as long as we get a little better each day out, that’s the big thing.”

John Bapst has managed just 15 hits in its three victories, but the Crusaders’ pitching staff has overcome that modest offensive output.

“Our pitching is really what our team is going to be based on a lot this year, good pitching and good defense,” said Graham.

Nick Christie, Matt Storgaard, Jason McBurnie and Chris Hammond have combined to allow an average of three runs per game while working with catcher Bill Wetherbee.

McBurnie, a junior, is 2-0 as a reliever, allowing three hits and no earned runs in eight innings during victories over Central of Corinth and Presque Isle.

Hammond, a sophomore transfer from Bishop Guerin High School in Nashua, N.H., pitched a complete-game five-hitter against Presque Isle with seven strikeouts, one walk and no earned runs allowed.

“I think when I came here everybody was talking about how [pitching] was a big weakness, and I thought ‘I guess that’s good for me, I’ll get a lot of innings,’” said Hammond. “But pitching and defense have been our strengths, they’re the reasons we’re 3-0.”

John Bapst does have considerable offensive potential, particularly in the leadoff spot in the order where senior center fielder-shortstop Casey Hull has been a constant threat throughout his career.

He scored five of John Bapst’s 12 runs during its doubleheader sweep of Presque Isle and had two hits against Central, including an RBI single during a two-run, game-winning rally in the sixth inning.

Outfielder Chase Huckestein has been another key offensive weapon with hits in each of the Crusaders’ first three games, including a three-run triple that broke open the second game of the Presque Isle doubleheader.

“We’re still a young team, we had a lot of turnover from last year,” said Graham. “We’ve just got to work on gaining more experience in the field and getting better every game.”

Bangor trio earns academic honors

Three members of the Bangor High School swim team have been named Academic All-Americans by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches’ Association.

The Rams’ Doug Farrell, James Moreside and Eliza Woodcock all were honored for achieving the following criteria: being a high school senior; earning a team letter; and must have a grade-point average of 3.75 or better through their first seven semesters of high school.

Morse commits to Pfeiffer

James Morse of Arundel, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard who led Thornton Academy of Saco to its first Class A state championship in boys basketball this winter, will continue his athletic career next fall on scholarship at Pfeiffer University, an NCAA Division II school in Misenheimer, N.C.

Morse, a first-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice and semifinalist for the state’s Mr. Basketball award, averaged 17.3 points per game for Thornton while shooting 52 percent from the field, 86 percent from the free throw line and 43 percent from beyond the 3-point arc for the Golden Trojans.

Kents Hill honors McKernan

Kents Hill School dedicated its new artificial turf baseball field in memory of Peter McKernan, class of 1989, during a pregame ceremony Saturday.

McKernan, the son of former Maine Gov. John R. McKernan Jr. and stepson of U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, died while a student at Dartmouth College in 1991 after suddenly collapsing during a practice from an unknown heart ailment.

McKernan, who attended Kents Hill as a postgraduate in 1988-89, was an avid athlete, competing in baseball, soccer, skiing, golf and tennis. He was a member of the Augusta American Legion baseball team for three years.

The former grass baseball field at Kents Hill was named the Peter McKernan Baseball Field in 1992, and the new Peter McKernan Baseball Field will be part of the Harold Alfond Athletics Fields, which were opened at Kents Hill last fall.

The Alfond complex contains two rectangular fields for sports like soccer, field hockey and lacrosse as well as a baseball diamond and a softball diamond.

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