BANGOR — For four innings of Tuesday’s game at Mansfield Stadium, it looked like another masterpiece for the Messalonskee High School baseball team. The Eagles were rolling, and held an eight run lead over defending Class A state champion Bangor.

While Bangor rallied, and had the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh, Messalonskee passed its toughest test of the season so far, taking an 8-6 win to improve to 6-0.

“I don’t like the fifth and sixth innings, giving up six runs in two innings, but at the end of the day, we’re going home on the bus winners,” Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin said. “Offensively, that’s the best we’ve been all year, against some pretty good pitching.”

Added Messalonskee left fielder Zach Mathieu, who went 4 for 4 with a pair of triples and drove in three runs: “We wanted to prove who’s the best team right now, and I think we came out showing that we are. We ended like we are, and I was happy with that.”

Down 8-0, Bangor (5-2) scored three unearned runs in the fifth, and added three more runs in the sixth to cut Messalonskee’s lead to two runs. Brian Pierce led off the bottom of the seventh with a double for the Rams. With one out, Jake Dexter walked Johnny Cote, putting the tying run on base. Dexter then fell behind Kyle Stevenson, 3-0, before battling back for the strikeout and the second out. When Jordan Derrah grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game, the Eagles had the win.

“I had to buckle down a little. The boys had my back,” said Dexter, who came in relief of Nick Mayo in the sixth inning. “It was kind of ugly at the end there, but a win’s a win. That’s all I want.”

In the first five games, Messalonskee gave up just four hits and one unearned run. When the Eagles jumped on Bangor starter Peter Kemble for three runs in the top of the first, it looked like another Messalonskee rout. Mathieu tripled to score Jared Cunningham, and scored on Dexter’s sacrifice fly to left. Ben Frazee doubled, and scored on Jonathan Wilkie’s single to center field.

“That’s a very good team. They stroke the ball,” Bangor coach Jeff Fahey said.

Messalonskee added five more runs in the fourth. Trevor Gettig and Cunningham hit back-to-back RBI singles, and Mathieu’s second triple of the game scored two more. When Mathieu scored on an error, the Eagles had an 8-0 lead.

“I was actually surprised. Last year, (Bangor) threw 15 curves out of 16 pitches to me. He was throwing fastballs to me, and I jumped on it,” Mathieu said.

By the end of the fourth inning, Bangor was on its fourth pitcher, Jesse Colford, who settled things down and kept the Eagles off the board the rest of the way, giving his team a chance. Bangor stranded five runners through the first four innings, including four in scoring position. The Rams finally capitalized in the fifth, when a pair of Messalonskee errors extended the inning for Andrew Hillier to drive in a pair of runs with a single, and another run to score on Andrew Elston’s groundout.

“We had a couple errors that kind of compiled upon themselves to let them back into the game. It’s early. It’s the sixth game of the year. We’ve got to be in these situations to know how to react,” McLaughlin said.

In the sixth, Bangor came up with four hits. Derrah scored on a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 8-6, but a slick play by Messalonskee second baseman Frazee kept the Eagles in the league, when Frazee went up the middle to snag a grounder before flipping the ball to Cunningham covering second for a force out.

“Not only did we not quit, we scored six runs late. We hit the ball hard finally, at times,” Fahey said. “We haven’t gotten any big hits all year, really.”

Mayo went five innings for the win, giving up three hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

“We knew Bangor’s a good team. They’re going to give it to us at any time of the game,” Mathieu said. “We just had to stay relaxed. We had a few times where we kind of rushed things, but we finally put things together and got the victory.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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