Of course, since most youth baseball in Maine is conducted under natural daylight, sometimes trying to locate a white, spinning ball and its blurry laces beneath that unfamiliar glare can be a curse.

Two relatively routine fly balls gave two different Pastime Club right fielders trouble Thursday night at Winkin Complex. They fell in for a Trevor DeLaite double in the third inning and a Sam Huston triple in the seventh, leading to two runs that spun a pitchers’ duel the Bangor Comrades’ way, 4-0.

“They got into some balls that were up high and tailed a little bit,” Pastime manager Dave Jordan said. “Our guys, we battled today.”

Andrew Hillier pitched a four-hit shutout and struck out 10 to outduel Matt Poulin, who allowed six hits, fanned five and only one earned run.

Bangor (20-4) joins Bessey Motors as the only two undefeated teams remaining in the double-elimination tournament. They will lock up at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Pastime (17-6) meets Post 51 of Oakland in an elimination game at 3 p.m.

Poulin had Bangor swatting black flies early. He retired the first seven Comrades, four by strikeout, before an error and a misjudged fly ball led to the first run.

“One of the biggest things in high school baseball is hitting that outside corner consistently, and that’s what I was doing,” Poulin said. “I thought the zone was very consistent.”

Ryan Brookings’ one-out single preceded a possible double play ball. Pastime notched the initial out with ease, but the throw to first was late and wide, leaving Ryan Gagne safe at second.

DeLaite lofted one to right that forced the Pastime fielder to backpedal toward the foul line when he appeared briefly to lose sight of the ball. It dropped in for an RBI double.

“It comes down to those couple of runs and who scores them first, and that’s what it was,” Poulin said. “It’s one of those games where a team capitalizes on the small things, the mistakes, and a great team like Bangor is going to do that.”

Meanwhile, Hillier cruised along with a lengthy stretch of no-hit ball, aided by two double plays. His own stab of Kyle Bourget’s one-hopper triggered a 1-6-3 gem to end the first inning, and Ben Crichton started a 5-4-3 twist off the bat of Carter Chabot in the second.

Pastime had two agonizing opportunities.

Hillier retired 10 straight prior to Kyle Ullrich’s two-out walk in the fifth.

“I felt once I got going that I was in control,” Hillier said. “I was throwing first-pitch strikes.”

Caleb Dostie followed with Pastime’s first hit, a single to left field, and a wild pitch ushered the runners to second and third. Hillier squirmed out of the mess by catching Austin Wing looking at strike three on a 3-2 pitch at the inside corner.

“A couple of times if we could have come up with a big hit, it could have been a different fortune,” Jordan said.

Poulin sat down eight consecutive Bangor batters before Huston floated a fly ball that, again, carried farther than Pastime’s defensive replacement anticipated.

To make matters worse, the relay throw in an attempt to nail Huston at third skipped away toward the Pastime dugout, allowing him to score.

Hunter Boyce walked and Brookings doubled down the right field line to threaten more damage, but Poulin coaxed a Gagne fly ball to Gage Cote in center field.

“We didn’t really hit the ball well tonight, but we definitely played defense well,” Hillier said, “and defense wins championships.”

Poulin also saved himself a run in the eighth after surrendering a one-out triple to Kyle Stevenson. After luring Justin Courtney into a ground ball, he got Hillier to bounce to Chabot at first. Poulin raced to the bag, caught the ball and tagged Hillier in one motion.

Then came Pastime’s second near-rally.

Held to one hit with two out in the eighth, Wing singled and Cote doubled on consecutive pitches to put the tying run in scoring position.

That brought up Wednesday’s hero Mike Wong, who fouled off a pair of two-strike offerings before Hillier froze him on the outside edge. It drew a vocal reaction from Pastime fans who thought the pitch was a few inches off the black.

“I was trying to work in and out and up and down and tried to keep him off balance. I threw it on the outside corner and rang him up,” Hillier said. “It had pretty good movement on it.”

Bangor added insurance runs with Gagne’s RBI single and a throwing error in the ninth. Pastime committed two of its four errors in that frame.

“Coach just said every time we’ve won it (2010 and 2011), we’ve come from the losers’ bracket,” Poulin said. “It’s one of those things were I think we play a lot better when we’re on the brink of elimination. I’m excited to see what we bring (Friday) and how we rebound.”


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