Bangor High School shortstop Keegan Cyr reaches for a hard hit ball off the bat of a Brewer hitter in third inning action at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Credit: Terry Farren / BDN

Max Clark had hit a comebacker to the mound and struck out in his first two at-bats as the Bangor High School baseball team battled Brewer Wednesday evening in the aftermath of the 30th-anniversary celebration of Mansfield Stadium held before the game.

There was little offensive momentum for the senior right fielder to carry to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning of a scoreless game, save for the fact that teammate Luke Missbrenner represented the winning run on first base with one out after being hit by a pitch.

But Clark has exhibited the so-called “clutch gene” for the Rams throughout much of his high school sports career on the baseball diamond, the football field or the basketball court — and he displayed it once again on Senior Night by hitting a walk-off RBI single to give his team a 1-0 victory.

Clark’s game-winner, a drive to the right-center field gap, came on the pitch after Brewer reliever Maddox Torrey balked Missbrenner to second base on his first pitch after replacing starter Grady Vanidestine.

“I knew I just had to move [Missbrenner] over,” Clark said. “He got the balk and got to second so I immediately thought, ‘Hit the ball to the right side of the field and get him to third.’ I got the right pitch and was able to drive it to the opposite field where I wanted it to go.

“It was an inside fastball that tailed in on me like a two-seamer, right where I needed it.”

Brewer High School athletic director David Utterback speaks at Mansfield Stadium on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, during the ceremony to celebrate the 30th year of the ballpark’s existence. Credit: Terry Farren / BDN

Pivotal players: Though the game was decided by the bullpen, this game featured a pitchers’ duel between Vanidestine and Bangor’s Wyatt Stevens. Vanidestine allowed just two hits over 6 ⅓ innings before reaching the 110-pitch limit, striking out 11 batters and walking two. Stevens scattered four hits over 5 ⅓ scoreless innings with five strikeouts and four walks.

Bangor’s ace, Colton Trisch, relieved Stevens in the sixth and got an inning-ending strikeout to strand Vanidestine, whose one-out double to right-center was his second hit of the night. Trisch  then yielded two walks in the top of the seventh but ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts en route to improving his record this spring to 7-0.

Big takeaway: With pitching and defense typically dominating postseason play, Brewer looks  capable of beating anyone in the Class A North field when Vanidestine is pitching like he did against Bangor and is backed by the errorless defense the Witches played.

As for Bangor, the Rams’ senior-laden roster has high expectations, and there’s no reason to believe coach Dave Morris’ defending regional champions aren’t ready for another deep postseason run.

What’s next: Bangor concluded the regular season ranked atop the Class A North standings with a 15-1 record and now await a regional quarterfinal at home on Thursday, June 9.

With No. 5 Messalonskee of Oakland losing to Mt. Blue of Farmington on Wednesday and No. 6 Hampden Academy splitting a doubleheader with Camden Hills of Rockport, Brewer (7-9) is expected to maintain its hold on fourth place in the division and like Bangor will enjoy a first-round bye and a quarterfinal home game.

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...