DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — No one could blame Billy Brock for a slow start on the mound Wednesday, given brisk late-afternoon conditions that reminded the high school baseball fans gathered at Foxcroft Academy about the concept of wind chill.

“My hands got a little cold,” admitted the Ponies’ senior righthander, “but when I got to the dugout I put on my jacket and got warm. It was OK.”

Brock eventually found that feeling in his pitching hand midway through Foxcroft’s Class B North encounter against previously undefeated John Bapst of Bangor, retiring 10 of 11 batters he faced at one point to help coach Nick Miller’s club secure a 5-2 victory.

“Billy’s had a couple of outings where it takes him a lot of pitches to get loose,” said Miller, whose 3-2 Ponies now face back-to-back road games at Old Town on Thursday and at Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor on Friday.

“But you could see his velocity was visually up in the third and fourth innings compared to what it was in the first and second. He really found his groove at that point.”

Brock scattered four hits while striking out nine batters, walking four and hitting one over 6⅓ innings. Reliever Levi Stedman came on with two on and one out in the top of the seventh.

John Bapst’s Alec Gagnon hit a two-out single to center to load the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Stedman got Nate Smith to fly out to left to end the game.

Foxcroft managed just five hits — including two singles by Stedman and a double by Ryan Vienneau — off three John Bapst pitchers but drew nine walks and generated two-run rallies in both the second and fourth innings.

John Bapst took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a squeeze-bunt single by Ben Spear that plated James Butler, who had drawn a leadoff walk and advanced to third on Ben Southwick’s one-out single to center.

Foxcroft took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Jacob Olson drew a leadoff walk and Ethan Curtis was hit by a pitch from John Bapst starter Ethan Newcomb, then Chandler Rockwell singled to center to load the bases before Olson scored on a Jeremy Richard groundout and Curtis came across on a wild pitch.

Nick Lakeman reached on a third-strike wild pitch to lead off the John Bapst third, was sacrificed to second by Gagnon and reached third on a comebacker to Brock by Smith before scoring on a wild pitch to forge a 2-2 tie.

Foxcroft took the lead for good in the fourth, as Richard reached on a one-out error before scoring on Vienneau’s first-pitch double to deep center. Logan Butera then hit an 0-2 pitch for an RBI single to left to make it 4-2, and while the Ponies did not score again in the inning they forced Newcomb from the mound after he reached the 110-pitch limit.

“We try and get our kids with less than two strikes to wait for our pitch as a general philosophy and then battle with two strikes and they did a nice job of executing that today,” said Miller.

“(Newcomb) was doing a pretty good job keeping us off balance so we were a little surprised he got that deep but our guys did a nice job of taking pitches.”

Foxcroft scored its final run in the fifth when Curtis reached on an error, moved to second on a walk to Rockwell and to third on a flyout by Richard before scoring on a balk.

Gagnon and Southwick each singled twice to account for four of John Bapst’s five hits.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...