Scarborough's Eric Swenson pitches to a Deering batter during Thursday's game in Scarborough. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer
Scarborough 13 Deering 3
D- 000 030- 3 2 4
S- 034 321- 13 7 2
* One out when winning run scored.
Blanchette singled to left, Porter and Griffiths scored. Seguin walked, Fallona scored.
Porter scored on error. Griffiths grounded out, Fellows scored. Blanchette tripled to right, Griffiths and Gower scored.
Seguin scored on wild pitch. Gower singled to center, Porter and J. Laponis scored.
Brady walked, Lauture scored. Lawrence and Bigelman scored on an error.
Donahue flew to center, Blanchette scored. Seguin scored on wild pitch.
J. Liponis scored on error.
S- Blanchette, Porter, Seguin
D- Bigelman, Lauture, Lawrence
S- Porter 3, Blanchette, J. Laponis, Seguin 2, Fallona, Fellows, Gower, Griffiths
S- Blanchette 4, Gower 2, Donahue, Griffiths, Seguin
S- Blanchette, Fellows, Gower, Seguin
Left on base:
Coleman, Brady (4), Tibbetts (5) and Brady, Rank (4); Swenson, Kelly (5), Sanders (6) and Gower.
Coleman (L) 3 IP 3 H 7 R 3 ER 7 BB 2 K 2 WP 2 HBP
Brady 1 IP 3 H 3 R 3 ER 1 BB 1 K 1 WP 1 HBP
Tibbetts 1.1 IP 1 H 3 R 2 ER 4 BB 2 K 1 WP 1 Balk
Swenson (W) 4 IP 1 H 0 R 2 BB 6 K
Kelly 1 IP 1 H 3 R 1 ER 3 BB 1 K
Sanders 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K
SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s baseball team keeps getting better and better.
And as a result, the wins keep coming.
Thursday afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, the Red Storm continued their strong recent play against visiting Deering, scoring in every inning but one.
With freshman pitcher Erik Swenson holding the Rams at bay in the first two innings, Scarborough went on top to stay in the bottom of the second, as junior leftfielder and leadoff hitter extraordinaire Ashton Blanchette delivered a clutch, two-out, bases loaded, two-run single and senior rightfielder Ben Seguin drew a walk off Deering senior starter Conner Coleman with the bases loaded for a 3-0 advantage.
The Red Storm then struck for four more runs in the third, as the first came home on an RBI ground ball, then Blanchette ripped a two-run triple before the final run came home on an error to make it 7-0.
Scarborough then added a run on a wild pitch and got a two-run single from senior catcher Connor Gower in the fourth to get to the brink of a mercy rule (10-run) victory, but the Rams refused to go quietly, striking for three runs in the top of the fifth, on a bases loaded walk and an error.
The Red Storm answered in their half of the inning, on a sacrifice fly from senior centerfielder Thomas Donahue and a wile pitch, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the game from going to the sixth.
There, Scarborough finally induced the mercy rule, scoring on an error and that put the finishing touch on a most impressive 13-3 victory.
The Red Storm won their fifth game in a row, improved to 10-4 and in the process dropped Deering to 3-11.
“This is what I expected,” said Scarborough coach Wes Ridlon. “We’re sound defensively, we can pitch and we get timely hitting. It’s come together for us, so we’re excited how we’re playing right now.”
Scarborough had its share of struggles in the first half of the season, but the Red Storm have hit their stride of late.
Scarborough was blanked at Thornton Academy, 5-0, in its opener, then shut out visiting Windham, 9-0. After falling at home to Westbrook in five-innings (12-2), the Red Storm won at Bonny Eagle, 9-5, downed visiting Kennebunk (3-1) and blanked visiting Biddeford (2-0). After a 4-3 loss at Portland, Scarborough bounced back with a 9-0 home victory over Massabesic, then suffered a frustrating 4-2 setback at Falmouth. The Red Storm then came alive, rallying for a high-scoring 11-10 win at Gorham, blanking host Cheverus in six-innings (10-0), shutting out visiting Sanford (9-0) and Tuesday, scoring nine runs again in a 9-3 victory at Noble.
Deering, meanwhile, started with losses at Marshwood (11-7) and Noble (7-2), then fell at home to defending Class A champion South Portland (9-0), Gorham (7-1) and Sanford (8-2) before losing at Falmouth (8-1) and at Thornton Academy (19-0, in five-innings). The Rams broke into the win column, edging host Windham, 4-3, before being no-hit by visiting Westbrook (12-0). Deering then sandwiched victories over visiting Bonny Eagle (6-2) and host Massabesic (9-8, in a 13-inning marathon) around a 6-1 loss at Biddeford. Tuesday, the Rams lost to Portland at Hadlock Field, 5-1.
Last spring, Scarborough won, 14-1 (in six-innings) at Deering.
Thursday, on a windy, late-May afternoon (61 degrees at first pitch and plummeting from there), the Rams looked to beat the Red Storm for the first time in three years, but instead, Scarborough kept surging.
The contest actually started 45 minutes later than scheduled, as the umpires’ arrival was delayed.
“We just had fun before the game,” said Blanchette. “We stayed relaxed and kept our arms loose.”
Once the game began, Swenson immediately walked Deering sophomore shortstop Avery Lawrence and with senior leftfielder Eli Bigelman at the plate, Lawrence stole second, but Swenson caught Bigelman looking at strike three and after inducing senior centerfielder Qwest Newhall to ground out to second with Lawrence going to third, Swenson got senior catcher Dempsey Brady to pop out to short to end the threat.
Coleman began the bottom half by retiring Blanchette on a fly ball to center, then fanned senior shortstop TJ Liponis, but on a 3-2 pitch, Seguin drew a walk and he stole second. Donahue also walked and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, but with sophomore first baseman Mason Porter at the plate, a pitch got behind Brady, but not far enough for Seguin to score and he realized it too late and tried to get back to third, but he was thrown out to end the frame.
Coleman led off the top of the second by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Sophomore Jackson Forrest struck out swinging, but Coleman took second when senior second baseman Drew Hamilton grounded out to first. Freshman third baseman Tay Lauture couldn’t deliver the run, however, lining out softly to sophomore third baseman Harrison Griffiths for the third out.
Scarborough then struck for three runs in the bottom half.
Porter led off and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. After Coleman threw a wild pitch to move Porter to second, junior designated hitter Owen Fellows popped up to second, but Coleman hit Griffiths with a pitch and freshman second baseman Matt Fallona walked to load the bases. Coleman appeared primed to escape the jam when he got Gower to chase a high off-speed pitch for strike three for the second out, but Blanchette came through, perfectly placing a 3-2 pitch over the head of Lawrence in short and just in front of Bigelman in left for a two-run single.
“It was a 3-2 count, so I was just trying to go the other way there,” said Blanchette.
On the throw, the runners moved up to second and third and after Liponis walked to load the bases, Seguin walked as well, on a 3-2 pitch, and Fallona came home with another run. Donahue then crushed the ball to deep center, but Newhall ran it down to keep the score 3-0.
Swenson protected the lead by catching rightfielder Will Jordan looking at strike three, getting Lawrence to ground out to first and after Bigelman reached on an error by Liponis at short, then stole second, Swenson caught Newhall looking at strike three as well.
The Red Storm then added to their lead, with a little help, in the bottom of the third.
Porter led off by going the other way and lacing a double down the rightfield line. Fellows then grounded to third, where Lauture bobbled the ball initially, then tried to throw back to second to nail Porter off the bag, but his throw was wild and Porter moved to third, with Fellows staying at first. After Fellows stole second, Griffiths then grounded out to short with Porter coming home and Fellows going to third. Fallona popped out to short, but Gower was hit by a pitch and stole second, bringing up Blanchette, who this time lined the ball just fair down the rightfield line. Both runners scored easily and Blanchette raced around first, didn’t stop at second and ran all the way to third with a two-run triple.
“I was thinking three as soon as I saw the ball down the line,” said Blanchette. “I’ve gotten more comfortable at the plate. I’ve gotten in my groove.”
“Ashton’s had a great year,” Ridlon said. “Exactly what you want from a leadoff guy. He works the count, squares the ball up, can run. Overall, he’s just fun to watch.”
After Liponis drew a walk and stole second, Seguin grounded to short where Lawrence threw home and threw wildly, allowing Blanchette to score. Liponis tried to come home as well, but Brady threw to Coleman covering for the tag, keeping the score 7-0 heading to the fourth.
There, Brady chased the first pitch leading off and grounded sharply to second. Coleman then produced Deering’s first hit, a solid single to center, but Swenson caught Forrest looking, then ended his outing by catching Hamilton looking a 3-2 pitch.
Brady came on to pitch in the bottom half (with junior Sam Rank taking over behind the plate) and he was greeted by Seguin, who singled through the hole between short and third. Lawrence then made a terrific running catch with his back to the plate on a little fly ball off the bat of Donahue, but Porter singled to left on the first pitch he saw to put runners at first and second. Brady caught Fellows looking at strike three, but he hit Griffiths with a pitch to load the bases. With senior pinch-hitter Wyatt Zsiga at the plate, a wild pitch scored Seguin to make it 8-0. Zsiga then worked a walk and Gower followed with a single to center, scoring both Porter and junior courtesy runner Jason Liponis. Zsiga would be thrown out trying to steal third, but the damage was done and the Red Storm were on the verge of a mercy rule win.
But Deering refused to go home.
Senior lefty Ryan Kelly came on to pitch for Scarborough and he walked Lauture on a 3-2 pitch and after fanning Jordan on a 3-2 pitch, walked Lawrence as well before Bigelman beat out an infield single. Kelly got Newhall to line out to left with the runners holding, but needing just one more out, one strike in fact, Kelly walked Brady to bring home the Rams’ first run. Coleman then grounded to TJ Liponis at short, who threw wildly and two more runs came in. Gower picked off a runner at third, but the score was now 10-3 and a bottom of the fifth would be necessary.
“We’re used to playing from behind, but that’s the positive of this team, that we don’t give up and we keep playing and we keep getting better one day at a time,” said Rams coach Ryan Martin. “That’s why we’re so much better now than we were last year.”
Senior Wally Tibbetts came on to pitch for Deering and walked Blanchette on a 3-2 pitch. After getting TJ Liponis to fly to right, Seguin singled to center and the runners moved up on the throw. Donahue then hit a deep fly to center to score Liponis and move Seguin to third. A wild pitch then brought home Seguin. Porter drew a walk and was balked to second and wild pitched to third, but he couldn’t come home to clinch the victory, as Fellows bounced out to second.
Sophomore Zakary Sanders came on for the Red Storm to pitch the top of the sixth and he got both Forrest and Hamilton to ground to short and Lauture to line to first for the game’s lone 1-2-3 inning.
Four batters into the bottom half, the game came to an end.
Jason Liponis drew a walk leading off, but Zsiga flew out to right. Gower then walked and junior pinch-hitter Keegan Weed hit a grounder to Lawrence, who couldn’t make the play and on the error, Liponis raced home to end it and give Scarborough a 13-3 victory.
“We’re getting good at-bats, having a good approach at the plate, we’re locked in defensively and our pitchers are throwing first-pitch strikes,” Blanchette said.
“This is what we were striving at the start of the season, to play well toward the end,” Ridlon said. “Everything’s coming together for us. We’re having better at-bats, playing better defense and throwing strikes. It’s fundamental baseball. You want to play well in all facets of the game. We weren’t there earlier in the year, but the guys are getting there now.”
Blanchette, Porter and Seguin all had two hits to pace the offense.
Porter scored three runs, Blanchette, Jason Liponis and Seguin had two apiece and Fallona, Fellows, Gower and Griffiths all touched home once.
Blanchette had a game-high four RBI, while Gower drove in two runs and Donahue, Griffiths and Seguin all had one RBI.
The Red Storm left eight runners on base.
Swenson earned the victory, going four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out six.
“Erik battled,” Ridlon said. “He knows he has to get ahead.”
Kelly gave up three runs (one earned) in an inning of relief, surrendering one hit and three walks and fanning one.
Sanders finished up with a hitless, scoreless inning of work.
Deering managed just two hits. Bigelman, Lauture and Lawrence scored the runs and Brady had an RBI.
The Rams left five runners on.
Coleman took the loss, giving up seven runs (three earned) on three hits in three innings. He walked seven and struck out two.
“I thought early on that he was pitching well, but when Conner starts pitching from behind he struggles a little bit,” Martin said. “He’s a competitor, he battles. It wasn’t his day today, but he’s still up there as one of the best pitchers on our team.”
Brady gave up three runs on three hits in his inning of relief, walking one and striking out one.
Tibbetts surrendered three runs (two earned) on one hit and four walks in 1.1 innings of relief. He fanned two.
“I was hoping to have one more chance to hit,” Martin said. “The guys wanted one more chance. They just love playing baseball and that’s a good thing.”
Deering (currently ranked 15th in the Class A South Heal Points standings) is back in action Saturday morning at Cheverus, then closes the regular season at home versus Kennebunk Tuesday of next week.
“Winning one more game would be helpful for us to get away from the top three teams, but we want to keep having fun playing baseball and getting better one day at a time,” Martin said.
Scarborough (which is fifth in Class A South) is also on the road Saturday, at Marshwood, then finishes with a huge test Tuesday of next week, at home versus South Portland.
“I think we’re a team to be reckoned with,” Blanchette said. “We want to finish strong and whoever we play (in the playoffs), we’ll play. We’re happy to stay the underdogs.”
“We want to wrap it up on a positive note,” said Ridlon. “I’m really proud of how this team has handled things this year.”