Mount Desert Island High School sophomore Sam Mitchell pitches during the third inning of the last regular season baseball game against Ellsworth May 31. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

Trojans fall to Crusaders

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School baseball team was on the wrong side of a pitchers’ duel Tuesday evening as the Trojans fell 1-0 to 12th-ranked John Bapst (8-9).

MDI, which entered the game fresh off a close game against top-ranked Ellsworth, couldn’t solve John Bapst starting pitcher Ethan Newcomb. Newcomb allowed just four hits in six innings of work, and the Crusaders’ run in the fourth inning proved to be all that was needed to steal the win.

Sam Mitchell pitched all seven innings for MDI (8-9), giving up six hits and walking only one batter. Alex Foster, Kyle Nicholson and Quentin Pileggi had base hits for the Trojans in the loss.

EHS 6 – MDI 4

Even in a loss to his team’s biggest rival, Andy Pooler couldn’t have been prouder.

Less than three weeks since an 8-1 road loss to the Ellsworth Eagles, Pooler’s Mount Desert Island High School Trojans took to the field Friday afternoon for the rematch in Bar Harbor. This time, the Eagles entered the game as the No. 1 team in the state after posting wins over No. 2 Hermon and No. 3 Old Town in the buildup to the regular season finale.

Ellsworth got the better of MDI again this time, but not before the Trojans gave the Eagles one of the toughest battles they’ve gotten all year. It took a took a two-out rally and great defensive play for Ellsworth to hold off Pooler’s team 6-4 at MDI.

“Something we’ve been lacking lately is that little bit of fight, and I thought we got that back,” Pooler said. “We got down a little bit, but we battled back hard every single time, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before MDI scored a run apiece in the first and second to take a 2-1 lead. Yet Ellsworth responded with an RBI single from Matt Burnett in the third and RBI double from Nate Smith in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.

Although Ellsworth pitcher Conner Wagstaff bounced back from allowing those two early runs with scoreless third, fourth and fifth innings, the senior had to depart in the sixth as he reached the 110-pitch limit. Yet the Eagles got a clutch inning from reliever Devin Grindle, who escaped a bases-loaded jam to keep the visitors on top.

“We stranded a lot of runners, and they did, too,” Pooler said. “That’s just a testament to some very good pitching and some good defensive plays from both sides.”

The two teams went to extra innings after one run from Ellsworth and two from MDI in the seventh, and the score remained tied 4-4 after a scoreless eighth. Yet after the Trojans turned a double play in the top of the ninth, the Eagles mounted a two-out rally that saw Wagstaff score on a passed ball and Michael Palmer score from second base on an RBI single from Smith.

MDI threatened Ellsworth’s lead in the bottom of the ninth when Drew Shea stepped up with two outs and a runner on second base. The Trojans’ leading hitter gave the visitors a real scare with a deep fly ball to left-center field, but Wagstaff tracked the ball down with a long run to the gap before securing it in his glove to end the game.

“That was just a great play by Conner,” Pooler said. “He got a great read on it and did good job of getting over there. It’s one of those plays where you’ve just got to tip your cap.”

Porter Isaacs took the loss for MDI with three runs allowed in five innings of relief after Sam Mitchell pitched the first four. Sam Keblinsky had a game-high five hits for the Trojans, who got three apiece from Logan Beckwith and Quentin Pileggi and one each from Isaacs, Shea, Alex Foster and Kyle Nicholson.

The game being tied 4-4 through seven innings provided a flashback to last year’s game in Bar Harbor, which entered extras with the same score before the Trojans pulled out a 5-4 win in the ninth. Even against an MDI team with less experience than last year’s squad, Ellsworth head coach Dan Curtis knew he was in for a fight.

“You know it’s going to be a battle whenever you come down here to MDI,” Ellsworth head baseball coach Dan Curtis said. “It doesn’t matter who’s got what record or any of that. You’ve got to be prepared to go in there and fight the entire way.”

The Senior Day contest was the final regular season home game for seniors Foster, Nicholson, Shea and Chris Horton.

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike 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 [email protected]

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