BANGOR---- Nick Cowperthwaite pitched six strong innings to lead the Bangor East/West L.L.., Senior League team to a 7-2 victory over Kiwanis National/North Regina/Broncos L.L. Regina, Saskatcheewan in the opening game of the 2014 Senior League World Series.
While Cowperthwaite was doing it with his arm on the mound, his catcher was doing it with his arm and bat on Sunday afternoon.
Derek Fournier had three hits, three RBI, and two runs scored to spark the offense for the host team of the Senior League World Series.
Fournier also threw out two runners attempting to steal, including Jake Hesselink to halt a seventh inning rally for Regina. The team from Canada had two runs already come across to score in the inning, and they had two runners on when Fournier made the perfect throw to get the second out of the inning.
"I just heard someone say throw him out, so I decided to throw it,"Fournier said. "I figured the runner on third wasn't going to matter."
Regina had at least one base runner in each of the first five innings. Cowperthwaite got the key out each inning by keeping the hitters from Canada off balance. Cowperthwaite allowed only four hits and one walk. He struck out four.
"I was just trying to keep the ball low and outside. Work that curveball and changeup once and a while,"Cowperthwaite said. "Keep it away from them and keep them on the ground. I felt a lot stronger as the game went on."
The Bangor bats took a while to get going, as Regina's pitcher Spencer Davis retired the first eight hitters he faced. Bangor finally broke through during the fourth inning when Fournier and Cowperthwaite each hit a single and they took advantage of an error to take a lead.
Bangor exploded for three more runs during the bottom of the fifth inning. Fournier and Cowperthwaite came through once again. Fournier hit a double that scored one, Cowperthwaite blooped a single that scored another.
While Fournier and Cowperthwaite were getting the big hits to drive home the runs. The spark plug came from the bottom of the order. Jake Ireland had two hits, one walk, and two runs scored from the number nine spot in the lineup.
"Jake (Ireland) has been hitting the ball all year. For some reason, the last month he has been struggling. I kind of fought with myself on if I was going to put him at the two spot or the nine spot,"Bangor manager Barrett Dionne said. "I figured if he came out of it, he would be a good guy to turn that order over. He came out of it today. That is a big plus for us."
The Bangor team was playing without six of their players. Those players were with the Bangor Comrades American Legion team that made the northeast regional. They were eliminated today, so those players are expected to be with the Senior League team for their 5 p.m. game against Saipan on Monday.
Canada will hope to get more from their bats when they take on Wailuku, Hawaii at 1 p.m. on Monday.
"We just needed some key hits, and they didn't come. We are not going to win games if we don't hit.Give props to the pitcher. He (Cowperthwaite) threw well against us, kept us off balance. We couldn't square him up,"Regina manager Todd Davis said. "I think customs still have our bats at the border. We are going to look for them later on."
Hesselink and Kirkland Chalus had two hits each for Regina. Click here for more photos from this game.