CAPE ELIZABETH – Conor Moloney of Cape Elizabeth might have pitched his last game when he beat Yarmouth 5-1 in the Western Maine Class B baseball championship game Wednesday.

It’s not because he’s injured. Moloney likely will walk away from baseball when he goes to college. His sport of choice: golf.

Moloney went seven innings against the Clippers and, because of postseason rules, can’t pitch in Saturday’s state final against Waterville.

Instead, Moloney will be playing the outfield and batting fifth when Cape plays Eastern champion Waterville for the state title at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

“That’s probably it for me pitching again,” said Moloney. “I may pitch an inning or two in the East-West All-Star game, but that could be it.

“Right now, I’m not planning to pitch this summer in American Legion. I’m going to be playing in golf tournaments.”

Moloney has done it with his arm and his bat for the Capers (18-1), who are in the state final for the second time in three seasons.

His pitching ability has been apparent since Little League. As a thin, 150-pound sophomore, Moloney pitched a one-hitter against Maranacook in the regional semifinals after he had pitched a complete game at York.

Two years later, the 6-foot-2 Moloney weighs 195 pounds. The extra muscle has given his pitches more zip.

As a hitter, Moloney’s batting average usually suffers in the early season. It starts to climb during midseason and by playoff time, his swing is right where it should be.

In the regional final, he led off the second inning with a double, but didn’t score. He is batting .314.

Moloney also is a standout in golf and basketball, moving from one sport to the next with ease. The fact he has accomplished as much as he has in baseball is a testament to his athleticism

“I’ve probably spent the least amount of time on baseball,” said Moloney. “I haven’t done a lot of pitching. I pick it back up at the start of each season.”

Moloney doesn’t throw indoors during the winter. He’s too busy playing basketball for the Capers. But when it comes to throwing a baseball in the spring, Moloney, who has a 6-0 record with four shutouts, is a natural. His arm motion, a little below three-quarters, gives him a pitch that tails away from right-handed batters and runs in on left-handers.

He learned the effectiveness of a change-up, which he used for the first time two years ago against Maranacook. Now the pitch is part of a repertoire that includes a fastball and a curve.

“His velocity is about 80,” said Capers Coach Chris Hayward. “But because his ball moves so much, he essentially adds velocity because of the late movement. Conor keeps the ball low.”

Moloney has given up only three extra-base hits this season. Two of them were to Travis Merrill, who had a double and triple in the regional final.

During the regular season, Maloney had a perfect game through five innings against Falmouth before settling for a one-hitter.

“There were about 15 pitches that I wish I could have back against Yarmouth,” said Moloney. “They hit a couple of hard balls, but my defense made the plays, which they have all season.

“I was pretty lucky to get through that game with only one run.”

Two years ago, Gardiner beat Cape Elizabeth 10-0 in a game that ended early because of the mercy rule.

“It was embarrassing,” said Moloney. “We have a few seniors on the team that were there.

“We’ve all been looking forward to the state championship. We want another crack at it.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]