Belfast, Mount View forge cold extra-inning classic to kick off campaignCanning's three-run blast lifts Lions in ninth to season-opening win
Thorndike — Despite playing in cold, blustery, rainy conditions and being forced to wait an extra day to start the campaign, longstanding Waldo County athletic rivals Belfast and Mount View put their best arms, gloves, legs and bats forward Thursday afternoon, April 24 in a highly-competitive diamond affair.
After the high school baseball teams' season opener was postponed from April 23, the host Mustangs and visiting Lions locked horns in difficult weather conditions and enjoyed the experience so much they decided to play extra long.
Belfast put Mount View behind the eight-ball early with a five-run top of the first stanza, but the Mustangs rallied to tie the game 6-6 and force extra innings, before the Lions tallied three runs in the ninth — highlighted by Alex Canning's three-run blast — for a 9-6 victory.
While professional baseball games are nine innings, regulation high school games are seven innings.
Belfast, which scored five runs in the first inning, one in the sixth and three in the ninth, finished with 12 hits and five errors. Mount View, which tallied one run in each of the first two innings and two in both the fourth and seventh stanzas, had nine hits and eight fielding miscues.
It was a tough day to play baseball, thus a partial reason for the 13 combined errors for the squads.
However, fans still witnessed plenty of excitement as young Mount View rallied from its early deficit with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make both squads have to work overtime during school spring vacation week.
Then Canning decided matters with his mighty bat and a three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning.
Leading the visiting Lion offense were Alex Flagg (hit, run), Emery Dinsmore (3 hits, 2 runs), Greg Clark (2 hits, run, RBI), Drew Hanley (2 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), Matt Smith (hit), Lucien Gordley-Smith(hit, run, RBI) and Canning (2 hits, including a home run, 3 RBIs, 2 hit by pitches)
For the host Mustangs (0-1), Mikey Hustus (hit, run), Kenny McGray (hit), Cole Hannan (3 hits, 2 RBIs), Ross Delorenzo (2 hits) and David Clark (2 hits, 2 runs) led the charge.
Pitching for Belfast (1-0) were starter Matt Smith (4 runs, 3 earned, on 8 hits, 2 walks, hit batter, 4 strikeouts in 4 innings) and reliever Zach Collier (2 runs, 1 earned, on hit, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts in 5 innings for the win).
Toeing the slab for Mount View were starter McGray (6 runs, 5 earned, on 10 hits, 3 walks, hit batter, 2 strikeouts in 6 innings) and reliever Joey Danna (3 runs, 2 earned, on 2 hits, hit batter in 3 innings).
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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