BRUNSWICK — When there’s a pitching duel happening and solid defense being played, the game usually comes down to who makes the “big mistake.”

Brunswick High School scored four unearned runs in the fourth inning on its way to a 5-1 win over visiting Mt. Blue in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference baseball clash.

“Both teams played well today, you knew it was going to come down to who made the big mistake,” Brunswick coach Craig Rogers said. “I thought our defense played solid tonight, and we got another great pitching performance from Ichi.”

Brunswick starter Ichino Honda went seven innings, scattering five hits while striking out four and walking one.

“Ichi mixed it up well today,”Rogers said. “He kept them off-balance with his off-speed pitches, again setting up his fastball.”

The Cougars tried to jump on the exchange student from Japan in the first. After two quick outs, Colin Hutchins singled past a diving Noah Goddard at short and Caleb Young followed with another hit. But Honda struck out Wyatt Viles to end the threat.

Mt. Blue’s Sam Stinson was equally as impressive in the early going, keeping the Brunswick hitters from digging in by mixing off-speed pitches with an electric fastball.

The Dragons (3-4) put base runners on in the second inning, behind three walks from Stinson after getting the first two batters. A comebacker off the bat of Dalton Dickey left the bases loaded to end the inning.

With the game still scoreless, Cam Dunton reached base after a Mt. Blue error to lead off the fourth. Honda came to the plate, showing bunt with the hopes of advancing Dunton to second, but a pitch in the dirt allowed Dunton to move to second. Honda bunted the next pitch out in front of the plate, where the ball died on the grass, allowing Honda to beat out the throw to first and putting runners on first and third with no outs.

On the first pitch to Goddard, Honda broke for second base. An errant Mt. Blue throw allowed Dunton to score and Honda to scamper into third.

Goddard walked, and the next hitter, Coenradt Taylor, put down a safety squeeze bunt. Once Honda saw the ball hit the ground safely, he broke for home, but was thrown out at the plate to keep it a one-run game.

Kyle Hanson walked next to load the bases, bringing Dickey to the plate. On Stinson’s third offering, Dickey grounded to second base, where the ball took a bad hop and bounced into right field for two more runs. A Zach Grant sacrifice fly scored Hanson, and after the dust settled, Brunswick held a 4-0 lead through four innings.

“That was big right there,” Dickey said about scoring runs in the fourth. “I wanted to make contact and put the ball in play and make something happen.”

In the top half of the fifth inning, Honda retired the first two hitters before his counterpart Stinson knocked a single into left field. Leadoff hitter Hunter Bolduc delivered a two-out RBI double, cutting the deficit to 4-1. But Honda got a groundout to end the frame.

“Our boys hung in there,” Mt. Blue coach Steve Lancaster said. “Their pitcher threw strikes and we swung the bats and their defense made the plays.”

The Dragons added an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth. Scout Masse reached on an error, stole second and third, and came home on a wild throw on a pick-off attempt at third base.

Honda needed no more run support, as the right-handed hurler retired six of the final seven hitters to end the game. The win was the third in seven days against one defeat, and Rogers said he likes the direction his team is heading.

“All our kids show great leadership out there,” Rogers said. “Kids like Zach Grant and Kyle Hanson quietly show how to lead.”

Brunswick only tallied two hits on the day — Honda’s bunt single in the fourth off Stinson, and a pinch-hit knock from Cam Daly off reliever Degan Libby in the sixth. But it was patience at the plate that drew four walks that paced the Dragons.

“We’re beginning to take more of a patient approach at the plate,” Rogers said. “We sometimes swing at too many bad pitches, but today, the kids made their pitcher work. He (Stinson) did a great job out there on the mound.”

Brunswick hosts Hampden Academy on Monday at 4:15 p.m. Mt. Blue stays on the road, traveling to Lewiston for a 4 p.m. start on Monday.


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