The Ellsworth and Bucksport baseball teams had combined to pitch seven shutouts while remaining undefeated through their first nine games this spring.

It’s a statistic that made Ellsworth’s 1-0 victory over the visiting Golden Bucks on Tuesday seem all the more predictable — not in which team won, but that it might take just a single run to secure the victory.

Ellsworth senior Hunter Curtis, seeing his first pitching duty of the spring, scattered seven hits during a complete-game, 102-pitch performance that included nine strikeouts and no walks.

“There were no runs scored so I guess I can’t say I pitched badly,” Curtis said, “but there’s definitely a lot to improve on. There were no walks but there were definitely some bad-location pitches here and there, but it is what it is and I’ll take it.”

Bucksport righthander Ty Giberson was even more efficient in defeat, as he required just 77 pitches to complete six innings and yielded only two hits and one unearned run while striking out six and walking two.

“Ty did a great job of leading us out there,” Bucksport coach Josh Jackson said. “He had everything working. The curveball was going, the fastball was biting and he hit his spots.”

Pivotal play: Dan Howie took an unconventional route to scoring the game’s lone run after leading off the Ellsworth third with an opposite-field single to right-center.

Howie got caught between first and second base as teammate Miles Palmer attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but finally took off for second and beat the throw for an unplanned stolen base.

“Miles went to bunt and I was going but I pulled back so I was kind of in the middle,” he said. “Then I thought, I wasn’t getting back to first, so I might as well try to make something out of it.”

Palmer then sacrificed Howie to third base with one out, and when Giberson then tried to pick the baserunner off, Bucksport third baseman Bradon Eldon couldn’t successfully reach across the retreating Howie to catch the throw and Howie scored on the throwing error.

“I heard their coach say, ‘Take a couple more steps,’ so I go to pick him off at third base and it was a bad throw and he missed it,” Giberson said. “The batter was in front of him and he reached across and couldn’t get to it.”

Big takeaway: Both teams showed why they are considered top contenders in their respective divisions, with Ellsworth now 5-0 and the No. 1 team in Class B North while Bucksport fell to 5-1 but is ranked second in Class C North.

What’s next: Weather permitting, Ellsworth will host Class A Brewer on Wednesday and then visit Hermon on Thursday. Bucksport plays at Searsport on Friday.

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...