BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School varsity baseball team fell to Gardiner 4-1 Friday afternoon, ending the season for the Trojans, who went 11-5 in the regular season. MDI defeated Caribou at home Thursday in a preliminary playoff game.
“It stings,” Head Coach Andy Pooler said after Friday’s game. “The seven seniors especially, they played hard. I had them for four years. I’ve been in this program for a long, long time — since ‘09 — and you’ve seen a lot, been through a lot. This is a special group, and I think they really left their mark.
“Sometimes you get groups that, you lose, and they kinda walk away,” Pooler said. “These guys, all seven of them, they were in tears. That shows you did something right, and it affected them, because they played hard.
“They’re a great group. We had a lot of fun.”
Senior Alden Fournier pitched the complete game against Gardiner, allowing eight hits and two earned runs. He threw four strikeouts and walked five batters.
MDI got on the board first in the game, with a run from Nick Stanley knocked in by Sam Keblinsky.
In the top of the third, the top of Gardiner’s batting lineup was up. Two batters singled and both would steal bases on their way to the first two runs for their team. Andrew Kennedy at first base got the first out, shutting down an attempt to steal first base. Fournier walked the next batter, and the next got to first on an MDI error.
With three runs and only one out, the Trojan defense rallied. Jacob Mitchell in right field caught a fly ball, and Fournier got the ball to Kennedy at first for the final out.
The score stayed stuck at 3-1 until the top of the seventh. MDI logged one hit in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings, by Fournier, Kennedy and Mitchell.
Gardiner’s final run came in the top of the seventh with the runner stealing home.
“It wasn’t a blowout,” Pooler said. “They had one bad inning. It’s high school baseball. You can’t beat yourself up about it.”
MDI 8 – Caribou 2
Senior pitcher Matt Perconti, who had a 1.30 ERA and 55 strikeouts in the regular season, earned the quarterfinal win on the mound Thursday.
He pitched four innings plus the first out of the fifth (a strikeout), striking out eight, walking none and allowing no earned runs.
Keblinsky singled in the second inning and advanced on a double from Kennedy. Keblinsky came in for the first run of the game on a Perconti single, one of his two RBIs in the game.
Fournier, Finn McConomy, Mitchell, Stanley and Keblinsky added hits and runs in the third, including an RBI double from Keblinsky, bringing the score to 6-0.
The MDI lead stretched to 8-0 in the fourth with runs from McConomy and Mitchell. Caribou got on the board with two runs in the fifth.
Kennedy took over on the mound in the fifth, allowing three hits and no runs in 2-2/3 innings.
Pooler said he’s been very pleased with the leadership of the team’s seniors.
“It’s not life or death, the sun’s gonna come up tomorrow, they play hard, they don’t worry about outside influences, they’re encouraging each other, they’re having fun. We have a lot of guys that don’t play a whole lot, and they’re still pulling for them.
“We had an opportunity this year where guys came to me, starters that have played 15, 16 games all year, not sitting out an inning, and they said, ‘Let’s get another guy in for me.’
“That’s a special, special team,” he continued. “We won 12 games, and that’s great, but these guys will have a lasting impact on the program. And they’re great kids. And they’re gonna be good coaches in 5-10 years.”
Stanley Grierson got hurt halfway through the season, Pooler said, which hurt the team, but younger players stepped up. “Freshman Brady Renault played great at third,” including a double play against Gardiner.
Next year’s team will be young, he said, “but there’s some good things in place that we can build on.”
The JV squad, coached by Brent Barker, had a great season. Pooler is looking forward to working with many of those players.
“They hit the ball well, they pitched well,” Pooler said. “I’m really happy with what Brent did. He’s built a really good little minor league.”