BANGOR – The Brewer baseball team had five runs before it had its second hit Friday night – it was that kind of game.
But Chase Daniels delivered for the Witches when it mattered most, hitting two RBI singles in the last three innings and coming on in relief to thwart a sixth-inning rally by Bangor with a single pitch as Brewer earned a 7-5 victory over the two-time defending Eastern Maine Class A champs at Mansfield Stadium.
The Witches’ win in this early season battle of unbeatens ended a 28-game regular-season winning streak by Bangor – which had dated back to the Brewer’s 2-0 win over the Rams on May 9, 2006.
“In the beginning of the season we worked on a couple of things,” said Brewer coach Dave Morris, “and one of them was mental toughness. I think tonight we took a step in that direction.”
This game started out in weird fashion, with the teams combining for five errors and five unearned runs in the first inning alone.
Eventually it settled into a competitive game typical of this rivalry, but when Bangor took a 4-3 lead midway through the contest Brewer responded by making the big plays.
Mike Kotredes walked and later scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 4-4, and Eric White followed with a two-out walk, stole second and scored the go-ahead run on a single to left by Daniels – Brewer’s first hit of the game.
“I just knew I had to get him in, so I just ripped it,” said Daniels.
Bangor (5-1) threatened to regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs on a pair of walks and an infield hit by Ian Edwards.
But Daniels came on to relieve Brewer starter Greg Higgins, and he needed just one pitch to induce Bangor’s John Cox to ground to Kotredes at third base for an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
“Greg put us in a position to win the game, but his pitch count was up and Chase has done it for us all year,” said Morris. “We had faith him and he did what we asked him to do, to just get the ball down and make him hit a ground ball.”
Brewer (6-0) then padded its lead with two runs in the top of the seventh on RBI singles by Shun Sasaki and Daniels.
“[Bangor] had a little momentum going, and Chase came in and stopped them and that was big for us,” said Brewer shortstop Caleb Smith. “It paved the way for the rest of the game, I think.”
Bangor, which outhit Brewer 10-4, did get one run back in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single by Chad Kelley, but Brewer catcher Jon Thoms threw out Kelley trying to steal second with a runner already at third to diffuse the rally.
“Good teams are going to find a way to win no matter who you’re playing,” said Morris, “and we did that tonight.”
Higgins earned the pitching win, scattering eight hits while allowing just two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.
Bangor starter Ian Edwards allowed only one hit in six-plus innings, but he walked seven batters – including five to lead off different innings – while striking out five.
The Rams also committed three errors, two in the first inning along with two passed balls that led to three quick Brewer runs.
“During our pregame discussion, I said one of the things that Brewer does just like we do is take advantage of having more than three outs given to them,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey. “We gave them more outs, and they capitalized. They didn’t quit. I thought they outhustled us, they outplayed us, they wanted it more than we did.”
Bangor answered with two unearned runs on three Brewer errors in the bottom of the inning, a rally capped off by Cox’s two-out, two-run single to left.
Edwards blasted a solo home run with one out in the third to tie the game at 3-3, then Tyler McDade singled and pinch-runner Jimmy Burns later scored on a single by Kyle Vanidestine in the bottom of the fourth to give the Rams their only lead.
RAMS 4, WITCHES 2
Brewer (5-1) Bangor (5-1)
Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI
Risser, 2b 4 0 0 0 Jordan, 2b-cf 3 0 0
D. DeFilipp, lf 4 0 0 0 Dean, c 2 1 0
McLain, ss 2 0 1 0 Estabrook, 1b-2b 3 0
Jackson, c 2 0 0 0 Cassum, ss 3 1 0
Fraser, cf 3 0 0 0 Stairs, cf-lf 3 1 0
A. DeFilipp, 3b 2 1 0 0 Tweedie, rf 2 0
Judkins, p 3 0 1 0 Freudenberger, lf 2 0
Adams, pr 0 1 0 0 Bedore, p 0 0 0
Liberatore, dh 3 0 1 0 Doucette, ph 1 0
Nickerson, pr 0 0 0 0 Stevenson, 3b 3 0
Knowles, 1b 3 0 1 2 Wadleigh, p-1b 2 0 0
Kinney, rf 0 0 0 0
Totals 26 2 4 2 Totals 24 4 3 0
Brewer 000 000 2 – 2
Bangor 004 000 x – 4
E-McLain, Knowles 2, Fraser; Estabrook, Cassum, Stevenson; LOB-Brewer 6, Bangor 4; DP-Bangor 1; S-Estabrook; SB-McLain; Stairs; CS-A. DeFilipp
Brewer IP H R ER BB SO
Judkins (L) 6 3 4 1 2 9
Bangor IP H R ER BB SO
Wadleigh (W) 4 1 0 0 3 3
Bedore 3 3 2 2 0 4
PB-Jackson; T-1:45; ATT-100 (est.)