Wednesday, December 11, 2013
OAKLAND -- The weird ending to Saturday's Eastern A baseball semifinal between Messalonskee and Hampden somewhat overshadowed a pair of outstanding pitching performances. Neither Messalonskee's Devin Warren or Hampden Academy's Matt Martin factored into the decision (Messalonskee won 3-2 when Travis St. Pierre scored from second on a wild pitch on third strike/error), but both were really good.
Martin pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out 11 and walking two. Two of the hits Martin allowed were back-to-back bunt base hits in the third inning and two others never left the infield.
"Matt Martin threw one hell of a game today," Hampden coach McLean Poulin said. "He battled right through the end and as a sophomore to do that, I couldn't be more proud of him."
Warren, meanwhile, pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out five, walking two and hitting two.
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After the game, Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier said he told his team that good wins find a way to win and find a way to pick each other up, even their coach.
Bernier didn't feel like he coached a very good game, wishing he had a couple of decisions back.
The first, he said was playing small ball early in the game. In the second inning, Messalonskee's five and six hitters (Warren and Reid Nutter) both bunted for base hits after St. Pierre led off the inning with a single. St. Pierre scored on a passed ball, and after back-to-back strike outs, Warren was thrown out at the plate on a failed suicide squeeze attempt.
"I think that was one of my big mistakes because that is not usually our game and I feel like I took out team out of our realm," Bernier said. "We are normally patient, like to work the hitter and hopefully by the third or fourth have that big inning."
Bernier also wished he gone to closer Jake Dexter to start the seventh inning, rather than have Warren come back out. Warren had only thrown 80 pitches after six innings, but Bernier said Dexter has pitched extremely well in the closer's role and deserved to pitch the seventh.
Dexter entered with the bases loaded and one out. He allowed one inherited runner to score before ending the inning and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth to earn the win.
Gary Hawkins has worked at the Kennebec Journal since 1980. His primary beats are baseball, boys basketball, girls and boys soccer and golf.