AUBURN – After swinging at two curve balls to run the count to 0-and-2, Derek Doucette stood back, took a deep breath and tried to figure out what Brunswick pitcher Steve May was going to throw next.
“The first two were just good curve balls,” Doucette said. “Really, really good curve balls. I knew I was going to get a fastball and then another curve ball, because if I was pitching, I’d be throwing myself curve balls like that, too.”
A fastball did cross the plate, and Doucette lined a slow curve up the middle into center field as Chris Merrill chugged home through the rain and mud from second, lifting the Red Eddies to a 1-0 baseball win over the Dragons in the bottom of the ninth inning at Pettengill Park on Monday.
“It was a pitch that I shouldn’t have been swinging at,” said Doucette,” but I just got the bat on the ball and hit it.”
“Anything through the infield I had to hustle my way,” said Merrill. “No matter where it went, even if it was shallow, I had to bust my butt to get home.”
There may have been a play at the plate on Merrill, but Brunswick centerfielder Steve Guerrette bobbled the ball in the sopping wet grass.
“You have to send him,” said EL coach Scott Annear. “You have to make a bid like that. The field is wet and slick, the ball’s going to be wet. Right from the get-go, if we got the ball through the infield with a runner at second, we had to send him.”
A similar play – one that did yield a play at the plate – happened in the second inning, when Doucette rounded third on a single by Tyler Snowe only to be tagged out by Brunswick catcher Jeff Sickel.
Justin Ciszewski was the pitcher of record for Edward Little (6-4) after setting down the three batters he faced in the ninth, but it was Adam Redmun who got the Eddies there to begin with.
Redmun struck out the first six Brunswick batters of the game and finished with 10 strikeouts and just three hits allowed over eight innings in the no-decision.
“I haven’t thrown like that,” said Redmun, a junior. “They started jumping on my fastball after the first couple of innings, but that’s when I just buckled down and started hitting my spots.”
Not to be outdone, May, who pitched all nine innings for the Dragons (7-3), allowed just four hits through eight before running into trouble in the ninth.
“(May) is a battler,” said Brunswick coach Peter Blake. “We’ve gone through this with him a couple of times. He’s pitched a couple of extra-inning games. He’s our No. 1, and we stuck with him. The pitchers threw well today; they were around the plate, both teams.”
Merrill bounced a 3-2 offering from May up the middle with one out to start things off in the ninth.
Ciszewski popped out deep to left field for the second out, but Tyler Dorris kept the inning alive with a single, again up the middle, setting the stage for Doucette.