The Bangor High School baseball team managed just three hits off Old Town sophomore Gabe Gifford on Tuesday afternoon.
But the Rams got a complete-game pitching effort of their own from senior Brad McLaughlin, along with solid defense led by junior shortstop Keegan Cyr, to outlast the previously undefeated Coyotes 3-2 at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
The win was the third straight for Class A Bangor, now 4-1, while Class B Old Town is 4-1 after opening the season with four straight victories within its division.
McLaughlin improved to 3-0 with his second complete game of the spring. The left-hander threw 102 pitches while scattering eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
“Coming into this I knew this was going to be a battle back and forth,” McLaughlin said. “All since Little League I’ve played Old Town and they’ve always been a good team. I just kept my composure and tried not to walk guys and let my defense play.”
Cyr anchored Bangor’s defense by making a diving catch of a second-inning line drive by Old Town designated hitter Connor McCannell and starting a game-ending double play in the top of the seventh.
“They hit [McLaughlin] decent today with eight hits, but he puts the ball on the ground so double plays like that are possible to get out of jams,” Cyr said. “He has a great pace to the game, too, he’s very smart out there. I think he’s one of the best pitchers in the state.”
Gifford also pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts and six walks for coach Justin Crisafulli’s club.
“The curve was working really well today, but when I let a runner on base my stretch movement on the mound wasn’t working so well,” Gifford said. “But once they got on third base I was able to get back to my windup and that went better.”
Old Town reached McLaughlin for an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Gifford pulled a leadoff single to right field, advanced to second base as Matt Seymour reached on an infield error and scored on Tanner Evans’ sharp single to right.
Bangor countered in the bottom of the inning. Colton Trisch beat out a slow chopper down the third-base line for an infield hit and Cyr walked.
A fielder’s choice grounder by Matt Holmes left runners on first and third, Holmes stole second and McLaughlin walked to load the bases. Trisch scored the tying run on a grounder by Max Clark.
The Rams took a 2-1 lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Holmes flared an opposite-field single to left, stole second and scored on McLaughlin’s single to left.
Gifford struck out the side but issued three walks and a wild pitch an inning later. Luke Missbrenner scored from third on the wild pitch to extend the Bangor lead to 3-1 before the Old Town left-hander struck out the next two batters to escape further harm.
Old Town used three consecutive hits to rally within 3-2 in the top of the fifth.
Gifford hit a leadoff double to the gap in right-center field and went to third on Seymour’s opposite-field pop single down the right-field line.
Evans earned his second RBI of the game with a high chopper that took a bad hop over Cyr’s head and went into center field for a single that drove home Gifford.
The top three batters in Old Town’s order — Gifford, Seymour and Evans — each had two hits in their first three at-bats.
Gifford added his third hit, a slow-rolling infield single to the shortstop hole, with one out in the top of the seventh, but Seymour grounded to Cyr, who teamed with freshman second baseman Yates Emerson and Missbrenner at first base for the game-ending double play.