BREWER — A showdown for first place in the American Legion Zone 1 baseball standings quickly turned into a blowout as Bangor jumped out to a 17-1 lead against Brewer during their matchup at Heddericg Field on Tuesday night.
But with no 10-run rule during the Legion regular season, Brewer had time to mount a comeback — and nearly rallied all the way back before Bangor held on for an 18-15 victory.
The win gives first-place Bangor a 12-1 record with just three games remaining before next week’s Zone 1 tournament. The Comrades now lead second-place Brewer (10-2) by 1½ games in the standings and also hold a tiebreaker over the Falcons after sweeping the two-game season series.
“Our guys have done a great job all season long, they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do,” said Bangor coach Dave Morris. “Our young guys are good players, too, and I told them that right now there are probably six or seven other teams in the zone who would love to have 12 wins, and that we’re right in the driver’s seat now.”
The way the Comrades’ starters played during the first four innings, few could doubt that assessment.
Devin Lyshon’s two-run single to left highlighted a four-run rally in the top of the first, and Joe Stanevicz hit a two-run single, stole second and third and scored on an RBI single by Lyshon to extend the lead to 7-0 in the top of the second.
Jordan Richards tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Pat McEwen to get Brewer on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning, but Bangor continued its offensive assault with four runs in the third — Stanevicz adding another two-run single to go with an RBI double by Josiah Hartley — and six runs in the fourth, with an RBI triple by Cody McInnis the biggest blow of that uprising.
But when both teams went to their benches, Brewer quickly became revitalized.
Kyle McLain, the Falcons’ starting first baseman, hit a three-run triple in the bottom of the fifth to close the gap to 17-4.
After Bangor scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth, Brewer sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs in the bottom of the inning.
Back-to-back two-run singles by Chase Daniels and Billy DeRedin helped get the rally started, and Jeremy Bissell capped it off with a bases-loaded triple off Stanevicz, just starting his second relief stint of the evening.
Bangor’s starters soon returned to the game en masse, and Stanevicz retired Brewer in order in the seventh to preserve one of the more bizarre victories of the season.
“The first four innings we didn’t play baseball,” said Brewer coach Chris Morris, who is Dave Morris’ nephew. “We were just on the field, throwing the ball around. The simplest thing to do in baseball is throw and catch, and we didn’t do a good job of that, but I’m awful proud of the guys I put in there. It was a tough situation for them to go in, but they didn’t put their heads down. They just kept battling.”
Stanevicz and Lyshon paced Bangor’s 16-hit attack with three singles each, with Stanevicz driving home four runs and Lyshon three. McInnis, Hartley and Dylan Morris added two hits each for the Comrades.
Worcester scattered four hits while allowing just one run over his three innings of work on the mound for Bangor.
“I thought innings one through four we won it and played really hard,” said Dave Morris, “Then we got some young guys in there and [Brewer] did, too, and our young guys struggled a bit and their young guys scored the runs.
“But our young kids got some playing time and some experience, and they also got some lessons out there that you really can’t coach.”
Daniels had three singles for Brewer, while McLain doubled twice with four RBIs and Bissell also had four RBIs with his triple and a sacrifice fly.