Ellsworth baseball team rallies past John Bapst, demolishes Old Town for 2-0 start

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first_img Latest Posts Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com. Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020center_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Bio ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth baseball team’s first two games of 2019 couldn’t have been more different.The Eagles, who entered the season looking to improve on last year’s 17-2 finish and Northern Maine championship game appearance, took a little while to get going in their first game of the season last Thursday against John Bapst. Once Ellsworth found a rhythm, though, it carried it over and couldn’t be stopped.Ellsworth followed a comeback win over John Bapst last week with a 20-1 victory against Old Town on Tuesday to get off to a 2-0 start to the season. The wins came as the Eagles combined strong pitching with a stretch of 24 runs in four innings across the two games.“How you finish the game can lead you into the next game,” junior Jackson Curtis said. “Bapst is tough, and we started out slow against them, but we got the hits and runs when it mattered and used that as momentum.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThat slow start came as Ellsworth, which started its season later than any other Class B team, took a few innings to shake off the cobwebs against John Bapst. The Crusaders led the Eagles most of the game and took a 2-1 advantage into the seventh inning at Bangor’s Mansfield Stadium.With their backs against the wall, the Eagles came through with four runs to take a 5-2 lead. Matt Burnett then shut down the Crusaders in the bottom of the inning to send the Eagles to a season-opening victory.Ellsworth’s Matt Burnett pitches during the third inning of a high school baseball game against Old Town on April 30 at Ellsworth High School. The Eagles’ pitching has been dominant early in the season with just three runs allowed in its first two games. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLEllsworth’s Conner Wagstaff struck out 16 batters in the win before Burnett struck out the final three to win the game. Burnett and fellow senior Devin Grindle had doubles at the plate for the Eagles, who had four in the final inning and seven total.“Our pitching kept us in it,” Curtis said of Ellsworth’s win over John Bapst, which mustered just three hits against the Eagles’ 2018 All-Penobscot Valley Conference pitchers. “If we can hold teams to one run or two runs, that’s impressive, and with Conner and Matt, that’s basically a given every night.”At home against Old Town on Tuesday, Ellsworth burst out of the gate in the first inning with 10 runs before plating seven more in the second. The Eagles then stretched their lead to 20-0 through three innings before the Coyotes (2-3) finally scored their only run of the game in the top of the fourth.Ellsworth had 13 hits and walked 11 times in the win over an Old Town team that beat defending state champion Brewer the previous day. Jackson Curtis and freshman Nate Smith had three hits each for the Eagles, who also got two hits from Wagstaff and Grindle and one apiece from Brett Bragdon, Hunter Fernald and Tyler Mitchell.“Our hitters were pounding the ball everywhere,” said Burnett, who pitched the first four innings before Curtis came on to finish the mercy-rule shortened game in the fifth. “As a pitcher, it’s nice when you go out there knowing you’re up 10 or 15 runs early in the game.”Even as his team built a massive lead, Ellsworth head coach Dan Curtis kept his players focused throughout the last few innings. The Eagles did regress to the mean somewhat at the plate, but the team continued to put runners on base and make plays in the field as its pitching staff kept Old Town in check.“It is hard to stay focused when you have a lead like that because you start wandering a little bit and get lazy,” Curtis said. “It was important to see us keep adding on and get our young guys some experience.”Ellsworth will be back in action tomorrow, May 1, when it hosts George Stevens Academy (3-0). The team will then host Foxcroft on Thursday, May 2, before playing Washington Academy at that time, Monday, May 6, in East Machias. All games are set for 4:30 p.m. starts.“These boys have battled these first two games and accomplished a lot, but you can never be satisfied with just two games,” Dan Curtis said. “Hopefully, we have even bigger and better things to come.”last_img

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