Graffam dominant as Windjammers eliminate Lions from postseasonCamden Hills to host MDI June 11 at 4 p.m. in quarterfinals
Rockport — Despite his team's success against Belfast during the regular season, Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart was far from excited about the No. 4 Windjammers' Eastern Class B prelim playoff game on Tuesday afternoon, June 10 against the visiting No. 13 Lions.
The Windjammers understood they would face Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection Emery Dinsmore, a southpaw whom Camden Hills struggled against in relief in two regular-season meetings between the squads.
However, Hart had an ace up his sleeve as well in hard-throwing right-hander Connor Graffam. And the senior hurler did not disappoint.
Graffam, also a KVAC Class B first-team all-conference selection, had a stellar outing on the hill for the Windjammers and his teammates got to Dinsmore in the fourth inning as Camden Hills (13-4) sailed to a 7-1 win to eliminate the Lions (9-8) from the postseason.
Graffam allowed one unearned run on three hits and no walks, with a dominant 13 strikeouts.
Camden Hills now will host No. 5 Mount Desert Island (10-7) in a regional quarterfinal playoff clash on Wednesday, June 11 at 4 p.m in Rockport — a mere 24 hours after the Windjammers' win over the Lions.
MDI outlasted No. 12 Presque Isle (7-10) 2-1 in nine innings in another prelim playoff on Monday, June 9.
During the regular season, the Windjammers defeated the Lions twice, 14-0 and 13-0, while neither team played MDI or Presque Isle.
On Tuesday, Dinsmore pitched well through the first half of the game for the Lions before the Windjammers chased him in the fourth inning. Dinsmore, along with Zach Collier, Lucien Gordley-Smith and Drew Stanley combined to allow four hits and seven walks, with three strikeouts.
“I thought we had some really good at-bats against him and kind of got his pitch count up,” said Hart of Dinsmore. “I don't know what his pitch count was, but he threw a lot of pitches and we battled him a lot and we got a couple of breaks with some bloop hits. But we got some big hits too and we took care of business.”
Hart also praised his senior hurler.
“He's been great all year,” said the coach of Graffam. “He's been great at the plate, he's been great pitching, he's been great everywhere. He's one of the big leaders on this team and that's kind of what I expect from him.”
Leading Camden Hills at the plate were Ben Rollins (single), Chandler Crans (2 singles, run), John Hall (run), Sam Berry (single, run), Aubrey Pennington (2 runs), Michael Wolff (run) and Joe Chamberlain (run).
For Belfast, Drew Stanley (single, run), Greg Clark (single) and Collier (single) keyed the offense.
Lion coach George Ross said his Lions “gave it a shot” against the Windjammers.
“You've got to make plays,” he said. “You've got to keep the lead off people off base and we didn't do that. There were a few fundamental things we didn't do.”
Pennington drew a walk, stole second and then took third base on an error before a Rollins sacrifice fly got Camden Hills on the board a mere two batters into the game, while Crans made it 2-0 later in the frame after an RBI-single brought in Wolff.
The game turned into a pitcher's duel between Graffam and Dinsmore for the next few frames before the Windjammer offense blew the game open in the fourth.
Crans singled to start the frame, while Chamberlain later drew a two-out walk. Berry then came through with a two-run single to plate Crans and Chamberlain, which put Camden Hills ahead 4-0.
The hosts added two more runs in the inning when Berry scored on an error and Pennington, who drew a walk and stole second base as Berry came in on the error, later scored on an RBI-single by Rollins.
The Windjammers rounded out the scoring in the fifth when John Hall scampered home on a wild pitch.
Graffam nearly completed the shutout on the hill for the hosts, but Stanley reached in the top of the seventh inning on an error and later came around to score on a wild pitch.
Now the Windjammers must prepare for the Trojans. Hart expects MDI will throw Jon Phelps, a standout three-sport athlete and a quality pitcher. MDI threw their No. 1 starter Steven Hanscome, who went the full nine innings against the Wildcats.
“He played basketball and he's a good athlete for them,” said Hart of Phelps. “I'm sure he's going to throw tomorrow and their pitching has been good all year. They're a quality team and we're going to have to play our best game.”
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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