Time after time, Brewer’s lefty pitcher Grady Vanidestine got out of tough jam after tough jam.
The Bangor baseball team stranded 10 runners on the base paths Monday night and the Witches, on the arm of their star on the mound, earned a 4-0 victory at Bangor’s Mansfield Stadium.
Vanidestine “didn’t have his stuff” on Monday, according to Brewer’s coach Dana Corey, but he battled through tough spots and threw six scoreless innings.
“There were a couple times where he got frustrated but he had to learn to battle and take care of it,” Corey said. “He started throwing well as time went on.”
In the first inning, Jack Schuck led the bottom of the first inning off with a double for the Rams. Vanidestine then forced a groundout and then got back-to-back strikeouts and was out of the inning.
Brewer’s Rowan Valley led off the second with a single down the leftfield line, then Anderson Clifford grounded out but advanced the runner to second. Valley then scored when Andrew Hodgins grounded to shortstop before an erratic throw put the first run on the board for the Witches.
Bangor loaded the bases in the second inning but Vanidestine forced a groundout to third base and a strong cross-field throw from third helped Brewer escape again.
In the third, Brewer’s Noah Tibbetts led off with a single and moved to third on an error. After Valley walked to put runners on the corners, both runners stole the next base and Tibbetts made it 2-0 for the Witches.
Next up was Clifford, who singled into right, which scored Valley and made it 3-0 Brewer.
Bangor stranded four batters over the next four innings. Leaving the mound after each inning, Vanidestine showed a lot of emotion as his team crowded around him at the dugout to celebrate another scoreless inning against their rivals.
“It ramps up,” Corey said of the Bangor and Brewer rivalry. “The thing we’ve tried to make them understand is that it’s a rivalry but we’re still playing the game of baseball. You have to stay within yourself.”
Wyatt Stevens got out of a jam on the mound in the fourth and then cruised through a one-two-three inning in the fifth to keep the Rams’ deficit at three runs.
Bangor’s Matt Holmes walked to begin the fifth inning, and after two outs advanced to third on a throw that went out of play. Scott Socobasin walked to put runners on the corners for Yates Emerson. Emerson knocked a fly ball into short left field and a charging Hodgins made the catch to once again help Brewer escape without giving a run.
Brewer added another run in the sixth inning when, with the bases loaded, Tibbetts grounded out but brought home Hodgins to make it a 4-0 game.
Jed Gilpatrick took over for Vanidestine for the seventh inning and forced a double play to end the game and earn the victory for the Witches.
Holmes reached base on two walks and a hit for Bangor.
Tibbetts led Brewer with two hits.