GARDINER — On a cold, windy Monday, Winslow sophomore Dylan Hapworth provided the heat.
The right-hander held Gardiner to two hits over six innings while striking out 10 to lead the Black Raiders to a 5-3 win in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game.
This was no coming out party for Hapworth, who last year emerged as one of the top hitters in the conference and pitched well down the stretch. But this year he’s a little more poised and confident on the mound.
“He’s starting to settle down more and not rush it,” Winslow coach Jesse LaCasse said. “The biggest thing is to let the game go at his pace. The more he does it, the more relaxed he is on the mound.”
While Hapworth relied almost exclusively on his fastball, Gardiner sophomore Josh McKelvey mixed his pitches and was nearly as effective. He allowed six hits while going the distance and was helped out of two jams by double plays. He was also victimized by a couple of errors in Winslow’s two-run fourth inning.
“He pitched a great game against a great-hitting baseball team,” Gardiner coach Chris McLaughlin said. “The difference in the game was errors. We made some costly errors.”
The Tigers (1-1) scratched out a run against Hapworth in the second inning when Nate Somes reached on a catcher’s interference call, moved to second on Logan Peacock’s sacrifice bunt and scored on a solid single to left from Zach Farrin. Gardiner’s only other hit off Hapworth was Somes’ bloop single down the line in right in the sixth inning.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and I was hoping the defense would make a play and it did,” Hapworth said.
The Raiders (3-0) took a 2-1 lead against McKelvey in the third inning when Alex Berard doubled to center and scored on Taylor Roy’s base hit. Roy scored on a balk to give the Raiders the lead for good.
Farrin walked and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to make it 4-2 but Hapworth escaped a jam with a couple of runners on by striking out Hunter Belanger and Ian Lane.
“Hapworth brings it,” McLaughlin said.
The Raiders added an insurance run in the seventh when Hapworth doubled and scored on a ground ball. The Tigers made it 5-3 against reliever Chase Colford with Lane singling home the run.
“It’s not the last time we’ll see Hapworth and it’s not the last time they’ll see McKelvey,” McLaughlin said. “Those two are going to square off probably more than once.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638