BANGOR – Corey Cushing is the type of pitcher that is a favorite of his teammates and frustrating to those who must face him.
He’s not overpowering, but he’s sneaky fast when he reaches back. He boasts a good curveball and always is around the strike zone so his defense can anticipate making plenty of plays.
The Brewer High senior righthander was all that Tuesday afternoon in leading the Witches to a 2-1 Class A baseball win over Bangor at Mansfield Stadium.
Cushing scattered eight hits and walked two while striking out three in a complete-game effort.
And armed with an early 2-0 lead and backed by a stout defense, Cushing and the 6-3 Witches were able to win for the sixth time in their last seven games and avenge a season-opening loss to their rivals.
“The best thing about Corey is he always puts you in position to win,” said Brewer coach David Morris. “He’s just a battler, and he lets the defense do the work.”
That defense featured a diving catch by center fielder Jimmy Nicknair to rob Tyson Barron of a hit to open the Bangor fourth and some stellar infield play throughout the game, particularly by third baseman Shawn Gray and second baseman Reid McLaughlin.
“I got behind a lot of batters early in the game, but the defense made the plays, which we haven’t done that much this year,” said Cushing. “Our three losses have all been because our defense hadn’t made all the plays, but today we made every one.”
There was little margin for error in this matchup, because Bangor got a strong pitching effort of its own from sophomore righthander Ian Edwards. After yielding single runs in each of the first two innings – one an unearned run – Edwards retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced before giving way to Kyle Leeman, who pitched a scoreless seventh.
That duo limited Brewer to two hits, a first-inning single by Mike Kotredes and an RBI double in the second by Ricky Porter.
Kotredes scored the game’s first run after his one-out hit. He reached second on a walk to Cushing and scored on an infield error as Bangor was attempting to extricate itself from a bases-loaded situation.
Prentiss Swett hit a comebacker to Edwards, and while he threw home for the forceout, the Rams were unable to make the play at first, the ball got loose and Kotredes scored from second base. McLaughlin reached on a fielder’s choice in the second, stole second and scored when Porter doubled to center.
Bangor, which stranded seven runners in the first three innings and 11 runners overall, scored its only run in the fifth on a one-out double by Scott Hackett and a two-out double by Edwards.
The Rams mounted one final threat in the seventh, getting runners on second and third on singles by Hackett and Alex Gallant and a wild pitch before Cushing induced a game-ending popout.
“We just didn’t get it done with the bats,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey.
Hackett paced Bangor’s offense with a double and two singles, while Gallant singled twice for the 7-2 Rams.
WITCHES 2, RAMS 1
Brewer (6-3) Bangor (7-2)
Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI
Porter, lf 2 0 1 1 Vanidestine, rf 4 0 0
Sasaki, rf 3 0 0 0 Estabrook, ss 4 0 0
Kotredes, c 3 1 1 0 Webb, c 2 0 0 0
Cushing, p 2 0 0 0 Hackett, 1b 4 1 0
Swett, 1b 3 0 0 0 Crews, pr 0 0 0
Economy, dh 2 0 0 0 Gallant, lf 4 0 0
Nicknair, cf 1 0 0 0 Edwards, p 4 0 1
Gray, 3b 1 0 0 0 Leeman, p 0 0 0
Peasley, pr 0 0 0 0 Walton, 3b 2 0 0
McLaughlin, 2b 2 1 0 0 Barron, cf 3 0
Adams, ss 3 0 0 0 Jones, 2b 3 0 0
Totals 22 2 2 1 Totals 30 1 8 1
Brewer 110 000 0- 2
Bangor 000 010 0- 1
E-Gray, S. Hackett, Estabrook; LOB-Brewer 4, Bangor 11; 2B-Porter; Hackett, Edwards; S-McLaughlin; SB-Porter, Swett, McLaughlin; Gallant
Brewer IP H R ER BB SO
Cushing (W, 2-1) 7 8 1 1 2 3
Bangor IP H R ER BB SO
Edwards (L, 2-2) 6 2 2 1 3 6
Leeman 1 0 0 0 1 0
HBP-Webb by Cushing; WP-Cushing; T-1:38; ATT-130 (est.)