Lion baseball tops No. 1 Mariners, Oceanside softball blanks BelfastStrong pitching, some offensive production by four teams in competitive affairs
Belfast — Belfast and Oceanside hooked up in a pair of hard-fought, competitive, late-season games on Friday, May 30 and when the dust had settled, the Lion baseball team had secured a valuable Heal Point-worthy win over the No. 1 team in the region, while the Mariner softball squad had surged late for a shutout victory over a playoff-bound foe.
In Friday's baseball game, the Lions prevailed 6-4, while in the softball contest, the Mariners won 5-0.
The Knox and Waldo County opponents have played a bundle of recent games due to rain pushing contests together on back-to-back-to-back days. The Mariners and Lions will play again on Saturday, May 31 against other opponents after also playing games Thursday, May 29.
In a game that pitted a hungry, determined team fighting for its playoff life against one of the region's best squads, the host Lions secured a point-worthy win over the No. 1 Mariners to push BAHS up the regional standings.
Belfast, which finished with nine hits, tallied single runs in the first, second and third innings and three in the fourth to take control before Oceanside mounted a late comeback. The Mariners, who finished with seven hits, tallied two runs in the third and two more in the sixth.
Lucien Gordley-Smith (4 runs, 3 earned, on 5 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts in 6 innings for the win) and Drew Stanley (2 hits, walk, strikeout in an inning for the save) pitched for Belfast.
For Oceanside, Jimmy Strong (6 runs, 3 earned, on 9 hits, walk, 3 strikeouts in 5 innings) and Nick Judge (strikeout in an inning) worked the hill.
The catchers were J.T. Tobin for the Mariners and Kyle Artkop and Sam Kulikowski for the Lions.
Alex Canning, Matt Smith, Gordley-Smith and Stanley had two singles to pace the Lions, while Greg Clark added two doubles and two RBIs and Alex Flagg a double. Stanley also knocked in two runs.
For Oceanside, Nick Judge (2 singles), Caleb Jacob (2 singles), Zac Roman (single), Thomas Curtis (single) and Zach Peaco (single) led the charge.
Belfast built a 3-2 lead with a run in the first on Gordley-Smith's single, steal, a wild pitch and Stanley's sacrifice fly. In the second, Flagg doubled, Matt singled and Gordley-Smith singled home Flagg. In the third, Stanley singled and Clark doubled. Stanley scored on Zach Collier's sacrifice fly.
Oceanside had tied the game 2-2 in the top of the third as Jacob singled, advanced to second and third on wild pitches and scored when Judge reached base. After two walks, Judge scored on Tobin’s sacrifice fly.
The Lions added three insurance runs in the fourth for a 6-2 advantage as Canning singled, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Emery Dinsmore walked and Stanley reached as Canning crossed the plate. Clark’s double plated Dinsmore and Stanley.
Oceanside scratched to within 6-4 in the sixth as Tobin walked, Curtis singled (Riley Sprague pinch ran for Curtis) and Peaco singled to load the bases. Tobin scored on Ryan Allender’s sacrifice fly and Sprague scored on Jacob’s single.
The Mariners put pressure on the Lions in the seventh as Judge and Roman singled and Mazurek walked to load the bases. After a strikeout, the Lions sealed the win with a game-ending, second baseman-to-shortstop-to-first baseman double play, with a nice stretch by first baseman Canning to complete the play.
In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston (12-3, 102.5391 points) is first and Belfast (8-6, 62.1094) ninth in the 19-team region. The top 13 teams qualify for the playoffs.
The defending state Class B champion Mariners were embroiled in a tough, scoreless battle with the Lions until the visitors broke out for five late runs en route to a shutout victory.
The Mariners, who finished seven hits, tallied two runs in the fifth and three in the seventh. The Lions had one hit and four errors.
Paige Tyler (hit, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts) pitched the win for Oceanside, while Ashley Littlefield (7 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts) worked the circle for Belfast. Ari Curtis caught for the Mariners and Mariah Sturgis for the Lions.
Pacing the Mariner offense were Brooke Dugan (single, double, RBI, run), Curtis (2 singles, 2 runs), Trittany Penn (double, RBI), Kalyn Grover (single) and Caitlin Raye (single).
Casey Thayer had a single for the Lions' lone hit.
"Paige Tyler did an outstanding job today," said Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester. "She hit her spots and threw her changeup well. The defense played well behind her. Alexis Mazurek made an outstanding backhand play at shortstop in the seventh inning gunning down Mariah Sturgis leading off the inning. It's been tough this week. The girls struggled early at the plate but came on late to put the game away."
"We really needed to come out and get a big win with the race to the final playoff spots heating up," said Belfast coach Chris Bartlett. "We were in the game the whole time. We struggled hitting Paige tonight. We were able to create some chances by drawing walks late in the game but could not capitalize on them.
"Ashley kept them off-balanced all night. We had some big errors that gave them extra outs or allowed them to get into scoring position and they capitalized on those opportunities. You can't give good teams extra outs because they will make you pay for them and that is what happened tonight. We just need to relax and get back to swinging the bats the way we can and have."
In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Oceanside (10-5, 66.6406 points) is fifth and Belfast (5-9, 31.8750 points) 11th. Gardiner (14-0, 100.4297 points) is first in the 19-team region. The top 13 teams qualify for the playoffs.
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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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