BANGOR, Maine — The so-called “productive out” — the ground ball to the right side of the infield that advances a runner or a sacrifice fly that delivers a run — typically is Plan B for a successful offensive baseball team.
But for Bangor High School it was Plan A on Friday afternoon, as coach Jeff Fahey’s club plated six runs in such instances en route to a 9-6 victory over Lewiston in a rain-soaked battle of top-five Eastern Maine Class A teams at Mansfield Stadium.
Anthony Capuano drove home three runs and Sam Huston, Parker Sanderson and Kyle Stevenson had two hits apiece as Bangor improved its record to 8-2 with its fifth straight victory.
Lewiston fell to 7-3.
“We’ve really talked about making productive outs, and we were doing that during the preseason but then it completely went away and we really had trouble getting anything across the plate,” said Fahey.
“But in the last 10 days we’ve not only had some productive outs but we’ve really swung the bats better.”
Capuano drove home runs with a single and two ground balls, while Huston tripled and singled, Sanderson doubled and singled and Stevenson added two singles from the No. 9 spot in the Bangor batting order.
“We’re getting pretty scary on the offensive side of the ball,” said Capuano, the University of Maine-bound first baseman who entered the contest with a .467 batting average and now has a team-leading 13 RBIs.
“If we keep pitching and playing defense the way we are, it’ll be a pretty good outcome.”
The Rams proved more efficient in plating their available baserunners, stranding just four compared to nine for Lewiston.
“They had some well timed and placed hits in certain situations,” said Lewiston coach Dave Jordan. “We’re working on getting to that point, that’s what good teams do. We’re a good team, but we’re still working on getting more consistent in getting runners in from scoring position.”
Junior righthander Justin Courtney improved his pitching record to 3-0, allowing five runs — two earned — over 4⅓ innings for Bangor before getting relief help from Andrew Hillier, who earned his third save of the spring with 2⅔ innings of one-run relief.
Lewiston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, capitalizing on two Bangor errors to go with an RBI single by Eric Soucy and a run-scoring double by Brian Wigant.
Bangor responded immediately, scoring twice in the bottom of the first off Lewiston lefthander Eddie Emerson (2-2), and the Rams scored in each of their first five at-bats to build a 9-5 lead.
“We got down early 3-0, and I told them not to try to get it back all at once but to chip away, chip away,” said Fahey. “We kept the pressure on and that probably kept them from doing a few things, but Lewiston swings the bat well and they’re going to win some games. We’ll probably see them in the playoffs.”
Carl Farnham reached on an error to start the Bangor first and Sanderson doubled before both runners scored on back-to-back RBI groundouts by Capuano and Brendan Moore.
Bangor tied the game in the second when Huston hit a leadoff triple down the right-field line and scored on Hunter Boyce’s sacrifice fly.
The Rams took a 5-3 lead in the third. Farnham reached on a third-strike wild pitch and went to third on a single to center by Sanderson. Capuano then hit a ground ball to second base to drive home Farnham, with Sanderson also scoring on the play after a Lewiston throwing error.
Boyce led off the Bangor fourth with a double to deep left and Stevenson followed with an infield hit to the shortstop hole. After a sacrifice bunt by Farnham, Boyce scored on a groundout by Sanderson before Capuano pulled a run-scoring two-out single to right to extend the Rams’ lead to 7-3.
Lewiston rallied within 7-5 in the top of the fifth as Wigant hit a two-run double to drive home Soucy and Emerson, but again the Rams got those two runs back in the bottom of the inning.
Huston hit a one-out single to center, went to second on a wild pitch by Lewiston reliever Michael Wong and scored when Bryan Rouleau grounded a single up the middle. Stevenson followed with a two-out infield hit to third base, and then teamed with Rouleau on a double steal with Rouleau scoring from third.
Hillier struck out the first two batters he faced in the top of the fifth to strand Wigant at second base, then pitched a scoreless sixth aided by a diving catch in the right-center field gap by right fielder Tyler LaPlante.
Lewiston managed a run in the seventh on singles by Soucy and Wigant and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Jeremy Kearns, and while another pinch-hit by Nate Freve brought the tying run to the plate, Hillier retired Gage Cote on a fly to left field to end the game.
Wigant had two doubles, a single and three RBIs to pace Lewiston’s 10-hit attack, while Soucy had three singles and scored three runs and Wong singled twice.