BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor High School baseball team wasn’t in the best of collective moods Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours removed from a rare loss.
And any frustration — at least from an offensive perspective — was exploited by Lawrence left-hander Cody Martin as he dueled Bangor righty Andrew Hillier to a 2-2 stalemate through 5½ innings at Mansfield Stadium.
But finally the defending Class A state champions came up with the big hits they had lacked, a long two-out double in the bottom of the sixth by Johnny Cote and a chopping two-run single through the shortstop hole by Trevor DeLaite that produced the winning runs as Bangor edged the visiting Bulldogs 4-2.
“When you’re struggling, it can get pretty contagious up and down the lineup,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey after his team rebounded from a 5-4, eight-inning loss at Edward Little of Auburn on Thursday to improve its record to 4-1. “[Thursday] we couldn’t get a big hit and had several opportunities to break it open, and today it was the same thing. I kept thinking, ‘When are we going to get a big hit?’
“But we scratched and hung in there and held them at bay, and then Cote came up with a big hit and Trevor found a hole,” he said.
Martin struck out the first two batters he faced in the Bangor sixth before Cote — the No. 8 hitter in the Rams’ lineup — turned on the first pitch he saw for the hardest-hit ball of the game, a drive over the head of Lawrence center fielder J.T. Nutting.
Cote took third base on a wild pitch, and Jacob Ireland then walked on the last of Martin’s 108 pitches for the day.
Ireland stole second, and Lawrence reliever Derek Bowen then issued an intentional walk to Jordan Derrah before DeLaite grounded a 2-1 pitch into left field to deliver both baserunners.
Hillier then capped off his complete-game victory by striking out two of the three batters he faced in the top of the seventh.
Hillier (2-0) required just 93 pitches — 67 for strikes — while striking out eight batters, walking two and yielding just four hits, all coming consecutively as Lawrence (2-3) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second.
Senior catcher Spencer Folsom hit a one-out single down the left-field line and Devon Webb followed with another single to left before Konnor Adams and Evan Grard delivered RBI singles, Adams’ to right-center and Grard’s an infield hit to shortstop.
But Hiller stranded Grard and Adams on second and third to curtail the Lawrence rally and went on to retire 17 of the last 18 batters he faced.
“Andrew wasn’t bad the inning they scored two runs, they just stuck the bats out and placed the ball where we weren’t,” said Fahey. “The rest of the game he did a good job. He got a lot of 0-2 counts, a lot of first strikes and he kept the ball down.”
Bangor tied the game in the bottom of the third on back-to-back RBI groundouts to shortstop by Hillier and Sam Huston after loading the bases with no one out on a single to center by Jordan Derrah, a walk to DeLaite and an error on Ben Crichton’s sacrifice bunt.