Bangor’s Braydon Caron slides safely into home to score as the throw went past Messalonskee catcher Joe Ardito during a baseball game Wednesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

OAKLAND — The Messalonskee baseball team’s latest loss looked a little familiar.

Messalonskee, one of the top teams in Class A North, was relatively competitive for much of Wednesday’s game against unbeaten Bangor. Yet, in key situations, the Eagles simply made one mistake too many in the field or came up one hit short at the plate in a 4-0 loss to the visiting Rams.

“I’ve seen these guys, and whether it’s last season, last summer or this season, everybody on this team has been hot at some point,” Messalonskee head coach Eric Palin said. “We just haven’t been able to get it all together at the same time, and we’ve made some mistakes in the field.”

Strong hitting and sound defense were both things Messalonskee had going for it earlier in the season. After a loss to a reloaded reigning North title-winning team, reestablishing those reversed trends will be the goal for the Eagles as the second half of the season begins.

Messalonskee (5-3) fell to its third loss in five games despite holding the Rams to their lowest scoring output of the season but were also shut out for the first time all year.

After Bangor’s Colton Trisch struck out the side in the bottom of the first, the Rams took the lead as a pair of Messalonskee errors bookended a double from Ryan Howard. Trisch then retired the side in the second before striking out three in the third to keep the Eagles (5-3) hitless through three innings.


Messalonskee’s Jacob Love throws a pitch to the plate against Bangor during a baseball game Wednesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Bangor (8-0) then doubled its lead in the top of the fourth as Keegan Cyr walked to open the inning, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error. Braden Mayo got Messalonskee’s first hit of the game in the bottom half on an infield single, but Trisch immediately forced a 6-4-3 double play before recording his seventh strikeout to end the inning.

“We need to get to a point where we have nine hitters on the same page, and we just haven’t done that yet,” Palin said. “We’ve had some guys really struggling right now who hit .300 last year, and you saw that today. It’s a mental block we have to get over.”

Messalonskee would then have its best scoring opportunity of the game in the bottom of the fifth as it loaded the bases with two outs. Yet Trisch forced a groundout to escape the jam, and the Eagles wouldn’t get another baserunner as the Bangor southpaw forced three straight groundouts in the sixth and struck out the side looking in the seventh.

“Messalonskee’s got a good bite to them, but things just went our way today,” said Bangor head coach Dave Morris. “Our kids know how to grind it out, and we were just able to take advantage of those mistakes earlier on and then helped ourselves out with those late insurance runs.”

Messalonskee shortstop Mitchell Grant jumps as he catches the ball at the edge of the infield against Bangor during a baseball game Wednesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Trisch, who singled in Bangor’s third run in the top of the seventh before scoring the fourth on a single by Cyr, finished with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Jacob Love pitched a complete game of his own for Messalonskee as he struck out five batters and walked two. Mayo had the lone hit for the Eagles.

Messalonskee, which scored 38 runs over its first four games, has now scored just 11 over its last four. Whereas the Eagles previous losses to Erskine Academy and Mt. Ararat came by single runs, this defeat, though not a blowout by any means, was a bit more resounding.

“I told the guys this after the game, and I’ll say it again: The road through the playoffs goes through Bangor,” Palin said. “There were certainly things we could have done better, but they played a better game. This is the first time this year where I can say we simply got beat.”

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