BANGOR — Quirk Motor City played the last two weeks heavily surrounded by pressure as it tried to scratch and claw into a playoff spot. 

After winning the play-in game to secure the fourth seed and reach the American Legion tournament, Motor City lost to Bessey Motors on Saturday and was placed in the loser’s bracket with its back against the wall, again. 

On Sunday, pitcher Tanner Evans threw six near-lights-out innings and helped his team eliminate Pastime Club 6-1. 

“We’ve been playing the last two weeks with our backs against the wall, trying to crawl into that fourth spot and it’s no different today,” Motor City coach Cam Archer said. “That’s what we expect out of Tanner and that’s what he’s been doing for 18, 19, 20 games.”

Evans tossed six innings of four hit ball, allowing just one run in the fifth inning. For Evans, Sunday was just another game like the ones that Motor City has played for the last couple of weeks. 

“We had to do the play-in game so it’s just another game for us,” Evans said. “We have to win or we are going packing. We want to keep playing baseball so we have to win.”

Evans shut down Pastime in the first inning and struck out the side in the second with a curveball that was untouchable. 

After Motor City got a base runner to second in the first inning, the bats came alive in the second inning. 

Jake Dubay led off the second with a walk, followed by a single from Sam Harman, then a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners over.  Ben Southwick reached on an error by Pastime that scored Dubay, followed by an RBI single by Mike Brown. 

After Joe D’Angelo singled, Ben Spear drilled a two-run single to put Motor City up 4-0. Pastime coach Chris Reed met with pitcher Hunter Landry at the mound in the middle of the inning but decided to leave him in. 

Reed declined to comment after the game. 

Nick Avery singled to drive in D’Angelo, and two batters later Dubay was up again and singled to score Ben Spear who reached on a single. 

The explosion of offense was just what the doctor ordered and allowed Motor City to lock in with Evans dealing on the mound. 

“It gives me confidence if I can throw up zeros that my offense is going to do it for me,” Evans said. “They know I have their back up there trying to throw up zeros every inning.”

After the base runner that Pastime mustered up in the first inning, the visitors didn’t put another man on base until the fifth inning. Evans was, at times, untouchable.

“He brings a great presence of confidence whenever he steps on the mound,” Archer said. “We know what he’s capable of, he’s going to pound the zone and make plays. He’s a gamer, really, he’s a big-time player.”

In the fifth, Pastime’s Jake Arel drew a leadoff walk. Relief pitcher Josh Murphy singled to push Arel to second. Arel then reached third thanks to a fielder’s choice and, three batters later, Arel scored when Jack LeBlond reached on a two-out infield single to make it 6-1. 

Pastime left the bases loaded in the fifth and left just one runner on base over the final two innings. 

“I just thought early that they couldn’t touch the curve, so I stuck with that and painted the outside corner with the fastball and it worked out for us,” Evans said.

Motor City earned five base runners in the fifth and sixth innings combined but couldn’t find any more runs.

“I would have liked to see a little more pressure from us in the later innings and maybe scratch across a run but we had baserunners all day,” Archer said. “I think we had guys on second five of the six innings. They did a good job squaring up the baseball and a few breaks went our way that third inning and we hit the ball hard and it showed.”

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