EXETER — Catcher Rob Wirtanen put a strong swing on a first-inning fastball Tuesday and drove a double to right-center, plating his team’s first run.

It was both a timely hit and a footnote -- as it turned out, the only hit Exeter Post 32 would get as it beat Dover Post 8, 3-1, at Phillips Exeter Academy.

In a tight, well-pitched game on both sides, quality trumped quantity.

Second-place Post 32’s win, its fourth in a row, improved it to 5-1 and earned it some separation from a tight middle of the pack in District B.

“Absolutely I like where we are,” said Post 32 coach Tim Mitropoulos. “I always use Fourth of July as that All-Star break barometer, and we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good spot.”

Post 32 won despite getting outhit 6-1. But starter Harrison Lendrum (five innings) and reliever Josh Morissette (two innings) both hit their spots, and relied on their defense to escape potential trouble and bring home the win.

“When’s that ever happen?” said Dover coach Dave Rouleau ruefully, his team falling to 3-5 in the district.

“We pitched pretty good,” he added. “We just couldn’t string a bunch of (hits) together. … If we could string some hits together, it would be a good step in the right direction.”

Dover starter John Cantwell took the loss, allowing just one hit in six innings. He also hit a seventh-inning triple and scored on a wild pitch for his team’s lone run.

“As the game went on, no doubt he got better,” said Mitropoulos. “First inning, I think he was trying to find the strike zone, but then he started to mix it up a little bit and he did very well, kept us off-balance. … He beared down in the big situations.”

Wirtanen’s first-inning double plated leadoff hitter John Hawkins, who had walked and moved to second on a wild pitch.

“Cantwell was hitting his spots pretty well, hitting outside,” said Wirtanen. “I had to go opposite field on that one. … I got a fastball that was a little out and just sprayed it the other way.”

It was 2-0 after two when Hawkins hit a sacrifice fly to right, plating the speedy Will Coogan.

From there, it was two strike-throwing pitchers getting the better of the guys swinging wood bats. Lendrum allowed five hits in his five innings, but didn’t walk anyone and benefitted from two infield double plays.

“He’s always throwing strikes, filling up the zone,” said Wirtanen. “When we get it low, he usually ends up rolling something up the middle.”

Post 32 made it 3-0 in the sixth when Lendrum was hit by a pitch, advanced to third and scored on a Coogan groundout.

“Pitching and defense, and battling at the plate is something I’ve been trying to preach to the guys,” said Mitropoulos. “You don’t always have to get a hit. Just move the guys over, hit behind runners. It helped us extend the lead and made that last inning a little bit easier.”

Cantwell had a single and triple for Dover. Alex Schlapak, Dylan Murphy, Axel Post and Max Lewis had their other hits.

Post 32 is off until Saturday, when it will play a doubleheader against Salem.

“Right now, we’re playing good defense and the pitching’s been solid,” said Wirtanen. “Nothing too crazy on offense, but we’ve been holding it down to low-scoring games.

“I think we deserve to be where we are and I‘m excited to see where we go.”