PITTSFIELD —Maine Central Institute starting pitcher Joe Curtis was spectacular on the mound Tuesday.

n 6 2/3 innings, Curtis surrendered just two hits — one a perfect bunt — and two walks while striking out 16 Winslow hitters. By any metric, Curtis was dominant.

Because baseball is a game with a cruel sense of humor, sometimes dominant isn’t enough. Winslow starting pitcher Aidan Giles was strong, too, and the Black Raiders took a 3-2 win in eight innings at Manson Park.

“Joe was throwing great. We had a couple key errors in the field, and our bats didn’t hit like they’re capable of, but they battled hard for the entire game,” MCI coach Tim McCarthy said.

Nate Newgard’s RBI single in the top of the eighth scored Caden Fitzpatrick with Winslow’s go-ahead run. In the bottom of the inning, the Huskies stranded the tying run on third base, giving Reid Gagnon — who came on in relief of Giles when the starter hit the 110-pitch maximum in the bottom of the seventh — the victory.

“I had a good field behind me, and that’s the only reason we’re standing here with a victory today. Let them hit it, and let the fielders behind you make the play,” Gagnon said. “Aidan pitched a gem. He hit his spots.”

It was Curtis who was at times overpowering, though. The MCI righty used a hard fastball and strong offspeed pitches to keep Black Raiders hitters uncomfortable in the batter’s box. Twice in the game, Curtis retired nine hitters in a row. He struck out at least two hitters in each inning. He struck out the side twice, in the third and sixth innings.

“We haven’t had a game since the ninth, so we haven’t seen a whole lot of live pitching. That kid’s a good pitcher, I’ll give (Curtis) credit. He kept us off balance. The breaking balls, our guys were way out in front fishing for them,” said Winslow coach Isiah Fleming, who piched at Thomas College.

“He’s just a great pitcher. He goes offspeed, he switches location, he’s got a really good curveball. and he pitched a great game,” Gagnon said of Curtis.

Winslow baseball players, from left, Nick Girard, Nate Newgard and Reid Gagnon celebrate the final out in an extra-inning victory over MCI on Tuesday in Pittsfield. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Curtis retired the first nine hitters of the game, and Winslow didn’t get a baserunner until Gagnon singled to lead off the top of the fourth inning. Fitzpatrick followed with a bunt single to third base. With one out, Newgard reached on an error, scoring Gagnon. Fitzpatrick scored on Evan Bourget’s sacrifice fly to left to give the Black Raiders a 2-1 lead.

It looked like that lead would stick, and that Giles would outduel Curtis. With Winslow still ahead a run, Giles retired the first two Huskies in the bottom of the seventh. Nathan McKenney reached base when he was hit by a pitch, and Max Bottenfield reached base on a Winslow error. Another error allowed McKenery to score, which tied the game at 2. With Giles at the pitch count maximum, Gagnon came on. He then walked Logan Cote to load the bases before getting a fly ball to left to end the inning and send the game to extras.

“We were 90 feet away, right? Another 90 feet and we win the game,” McCarthy said.

The Huskies had the tying run on base again in the eighth, after Elijah Bagley singled to lead off the inning, stole second base, and advanced to third on a flyball to right. Gagnon got a ground ball to second to end the game and give Winslow the win.

“He’s a big senior to put in a big spot, and we grinded it out,” Fleming said. “It was a big emotional win for these guys.”

Once Curtis reached the 110-pitch maximum in the seventh, McKenney came on and struck out two, giving the Huskies 18 strikeouts for the game. Giles allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 


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