Junior lefthander Gabe Gifford pitched a complete-game three-hitter and helped the Old Town baseball team score two first-inning runs Wednesday afternoon as the Coyotes edged John Bapst of Bangor 2-0 at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University.
Old Town won for the second time in its last three games to improve its record to 2-5 while the loss ended a seven-game winning streak for John Bapst, now 7-2.
Gifford struck out 12 batters and walked just two to outduel John Bapst ace Allen Wheaton, a senior righty who yielded two runs on six hits while striking out 13 batters and walking three in six innings.
Pivotal play: Gifford also was an offensive force from the leadoff spot in the batting order for coach Justin Crisafulli’s Coyotes, with the first of his three hits in the game setting Old Town up to score the game’s only runs in the top of the first.
Gifford stole second base – one of 11 thefts in as many attempts for Old Town – after grounding a single up the middle and reached third on a passed ball before Peyton Vose walked and stole second to put both runners in scoring position with no one out.
Wheaton then recorded the first of his four first-inning strikeouts before OT cleanup batter Brendan Mahaney lined an infield hit to shortstop to plate Gifford with the go-ahead run. Wheaton struck out the next batter, but a third-strike wild pitch to Jackson Lizzotte then enabled Vose to score from third and make it 2-0.
Wheaton went unscored upon the rest of the way before giving way to reliever Nick Chaffee, who struck out two more batters while working a scoreless seventh inning as, the duo combined to strand 10 Old Town baserunners.
Big takeaway: The two starting pitchers – each of whom began his season on the mound with a loss despite pitching a no-hitter – displayed why they are capable of defeating any opponent in Class B North on a given day with their mix of pitches. Gifford successfully mixed his fastball with a backdoor curve that stymied a John Bapst offense that began the day with a .333 team batting average while Wheaton combined his fastball and slider to great effect against the Coyotes.