As Colton Trisch pitched into the sixth inning of Bangor High School’s season-opening baseball game against Edward Little at Mansfield Stadium on Wednesday, he wasn’t bothered by the distractions that occupied the minds of those watching the senior lefthander at work.
There was a swirling wind out of the northwest that chilled the otherwise sunny afternoon, though that sunshine spent much of the afternoon playing hide-and-seek among the clouds, with the combination enough to aggravate the infielders and outfielders on any ball hit into the sky.
Then there was the scoreboard, which showed that Trisch not only had not yet given up a run to the visiting Red Eddies, he had yet to yield a single hit while working with senior catcher Ryan Howard.
Still two innings remained, as did the reality that with 81 pitches through five innings he was fast approaching the 105-pitch single-game limit now the norm in Maine high school baseball.
None of those concerned Trisch much, and soon they became moot points when Edward Little’s Aiden Gonzalez popped a single behind the shortstop.
A walk to the next batter ended Trisch’s day on the mound but he had done his job, leaving the rest to reliever Wyatt Stevens and an immaculate Bangor defense.
Was Trisch disappointed with losing the no-hitter? Perhaps, but he was more invested in the bottom line — the Rams’ 7-2 victory over what should be one of their primary challengers for this spring’s Class A North championship.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I care about the W more than the no-no, especially with the cold weather. Once you get later in the game it’s kind of hard to locate a few, but Wyatt did a great job closing for me so you can’t ask for anything more.”
Trisch’s victory was an important first step for Bangor, which came one bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning in last June’s Class A state final against South Portland away from capturing its sixth state championship in the last eight years, after the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Nearly all the key players from that team are back, save for 2021 pitching ace Bradley McLaughlin, now at Husson University.
Trisch, having already received a partial baseball scholarship from Division I George Washington University, was the No. 2 starter behind McLaughlin last spring, his first varsity season on the mound.
This year, the hard-throwing Trisch is the ace as the Rams seek to repeat as regional champions and add yet another state crown.
“Last year Colton struggled in some areas but he’s worked really hard and I’m not sure there’s been a guy who has worked as hard as he has,” Bangor coach Dave Morris said. “He’s very focused and his preparation has been really great. He’s got all the tools, there’s no question about that. It’s just letting it go and being gritty.”
Trisch’s grittiness was evident throughout Wednesday’s game. He allowed just one runner past first base before there were two outs in any of his first five innings, blending his strikeout capability with a willingness to let his defense do the work.
“Especially against a good team like EL, I can’t just throw fastballs down the middle and not expect them to hit them,” Trisch said. “I definitely mixed in some off-speed pitches so they wouldn’t sit on my fastball.”
The willingness to trust his defense also was amply rewarded. After EL put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the third, Red Eddies’ No. 3 hitter Campbell Cassidy hit a sinking line drive through the wind to straight-away center field, only to have Bangor’s Ben Caron — a former starting second baseman making his first countable start in the outfield — go to his knees to make the catch.
Two innings later, first baseman Luke Missbrenner robbed Edward Little twice. First he dove toward the first-base line to snare a first-pitch line drive and deny the Red Eddies’ Gavin Levesque an extra-base hit. Then with two outs and a runner on first, Missbrenner smothered a tricky short-hop grounder by Pat Anthoine near the base to end the inning.
Max Clark added two challenging fly-ball putouts in right field, while shortstop Keegan Cyr and second baseman Yates Emerson were a flawless infield combination up the middle as the defense made the plays necessary to preserve the Rams’ 6-0 advantage through three innings.
“It was just too big of a deficit at that point with how Colton was throwing and the way their defense was playing. They just don’t make mistakes,” Edward Little coach Dave Jordan said.
“I thought he made his pitches when he needed to, and in high school baseball that’s a big part of the equation. He was able to bear down in counts where he had to make a good pitch and he did.”
Trisch’s contributions to Bangor’s first victory — the Rams are scheduled to host Lewiston at 11 a.m. Friday — weren’t limited to pitching.
The leadoff batter and a left fielder in games when he’s not pitching, Trisch flared opposite-field singles to left in each of his first two at-bats, then pulled a first-pitch, two-run double to the right-center field gap to highlight a three-run third-inning uprising.
Trisch finished 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored, while senior left fielder Matt Holmes added a triple and double to Bangor’s eight-hit offense.
“It’s his senior year and we’re asking a lot of him but he had a heck of a game,” Morris said. “Hitting, pitching and defense, we’re asking him to do all three things and he’s doing those well.”