DOVER-FOXCROFT--- The tone for a baseball game can be set as early as the first batter in some games.
That was the case on Monday afternoon, when Andrew Hillier led off the game for the Bangor Comrades and ripped a triple to right field on the 10th pitch of the at bat.
Hillier got behind 0-2 in the count against Penquis starting pitcher Tanner Strout. Hillier fouled off six straight pitches. Hillier reached base three times and scored three runs to pace the Comrades to a 13-3 victory over the Navigators in a zone one American Legion game.
"He (Strout) made a lot of good pitches. He was painting the outside corner,"Hillier said. "I couldn't really do anything with it, so I kept fouling off pitches. He finally left up a high fastball that I ripped to right field. You want to have a quality at bat to start the game and set the tone for the lineup."
Bangor manager Dave Morris added, "I think anytime you can start a game off with a triple, it sets the tempo. He (Hillier) is a very good player. As a leadoff guy, you try to get a quality at bat.. He is just a smart kid, he knows the strike zone. He can hit the ball the other way. That set the tempo for us."
The Comrades scored one more run during the top of the first inning. That gave starting pitcher Jordan Treadwell a cushion before even stepping pn the mound.
Treadwell cruised through the first two innings, allowing only a single and striking out three. The Comrades offense built a 5-0 lead when Ryan Gagne hit a run scoring single during the top of the third inning.
"All year long, Jordan Treadwell has been very consistent,"Morris said. "He does a great job of letting his defense do the work for him. He got out of some tough situations. He has been Mr. consistent all year for us."
Treadwell pitched six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk. He struck out six. The Comrades defense was exceptional, especially shortstop Reed Brookings, who handled all five chances with ease.
"I always pitch to contact,"Treadwell said. "I let my fielders behind me do their work."
Morris added, "Our shortstop played a hell of a game. Reed Brockings not only made some nice plays, he did a nice job of not throwing the ball around."
Manager Jonathan Seavey and the Navigators are trying to set up their rotation for the upcoming zone tournament. Penquis has four games remaining before that starts. They currently sit in fourth place, which would mean playing in a single elimination play in game for the double elimination tournament.
The young Navigators committed seven errors and hit seven batters. The Comrades jumped on every opportunity that was given to them.
"I played a lot of my young kids today. Kids who haven't played all year, and haven't pitched all year. I wanted to give them the opportunity,"Seavey said. "We are trying to set our pitching up for the zone tournament. I had a young kid out there that doesn't have a lot of experience on the mound."
Bangor is on quite a streak with their baseball teams. Their senior league team just won the district three championship and will participate in the senior league world series. The high school team won the class A state title, the junior league team has one of the best records in the state. The legion team looks like they are capable of doing something special in the upcoming zone tournament.
"We have a bunch of guys that love baseball. You don't go wrong when you have kids that love the game and they really want to succeed."Morris said. "They are workers, whatever they have got, they have earned it.As a coach, it is pretty easy you just throw the ball out there and you clap. We are really on a roll in seeing a lot of success. These kids like a challenge and they work really hard. "
Hillier and Gagne had two hits each to pace the Comrades (12-2) offense. Hunter Boyce and Brookings had two RBI each. Sam Huston reached base four times and had two stolen bases. Peter Kembie and Marcus McCue also reached base four times each.
Penquis (6-8) has a pitching rotation led by 2013 Mr. Baseball winner, Ryan Rebar that could make them very dangerous come zone 1 tournament time.
Penquis has defeated each team in the league this season. Abe Simpson has recorded three of the teams six wins, including getting a win over Bangor earlier this season. Kaleb Smith has also pitched well for the Navigators.
Simpson, Jordan Morrow, and Dylan Graffam recorded two hits each for the Navigators. Simpson, Strout, and Casey Jordan each scored a run. Graffam had the only RBI.