Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Travis Lazarczyk email@example.com
WATERVILLE — The game was barely over when Winslow High School baseball fans began asking the question. When’s the last time the Black Raiders beat Waterville?
Waterville Senior High School's Kaleb Kane, 22, evades the tag from Winslow High School catcher Bobby Chenard, 4, in the first inning Waterville Senior High in Waterville on Friday.
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans Winslow High School's Donald Camp, 3, slides under Waterville Senior High School catcher Aidan Fitzgerald, 8, in the third inning in Waterville on Friday.
Staff photo/Michael G. Seamans
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Winslow beat Waterville,” Winslow sophomore Dylan Hapworth said. “Waterville’s been pretty good lately.”
You have to go all the way back to 2007 to find a Winslow team that beat its rival from across the Kennebec River. Friday afternoon’s sloppy 17-11 win over the Purple Panthers snapped an 11-game losing streak to Waterville.
The teams combined for 27 hits, but also combined for nine errors. Five of the Black Raiders’ hits were doubles, and all five came in the first two innings, when Winslow (2-0) scored 12 runs.
“I promote hitting,” Winslow coach Jesse LaCasse said. “It’s good to see the guys come out aggressive on their pitch and really drive the ball. We stayed away from fly balls on a windy day and we hit the ball hard. It was good to see.”
The Black Raiders jumped on inexperienced Waterville starting pitcher Owen Brown for five runs in the first, but the Panthers answered with five runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Brown’s sacrifice fly to center field scored Kaleb Kane to tie the score.
“We all saw the ball pretty well, I think,” said Hapworth, who had four hits, scored four runs and drove in three.
Winslow opened the second inning with consecutive doubles by Gabe Smith, Chase Colford and Hapworth. With one out, Don Camp doubled to push Winslow’s lead to 8-5, and consecutive singles by Logan Hughes, Joe Hopkins and Alex Berard made the score 11-5, and Berard scored on an error to give the Black Raiders a 12-5 lead.
“We had two chances to get out of that, and we didn’t make plays, either,” Waterville coach Don Sawyer said. “We stressed that the whole day. If we’re not going to be strong on the mound, we have to make plays when they’re available to us. There were two routine plays we didn’t make, and it hurt us bad.”
Kaleb Kane relieved Brown in the second and pitched four innings, before Cam Gardiner came on to pitch the final two innings. Each is a candidate to become Waterville No. 3 starter, Sawyer said.
“Kaleb Kane doesn’t have a lot of experience pitching, but he came in and kept the ball low, which was a huge difference. Then when Cam Gardiner came in, he did the same thing,” Sawyer said.
While the Black Raiders were strong at the plate, they struggled in the field, committing six errors.
“For these boys, Waterville is a big game for them. There’s no doubt early in the season, they came out a little anxious, I guess you’d call it,” LaCasse said. “Defensive-wise, we’re a solid team.”
Camp pitched into the sixth inning for Winslow to pick up the win. Smith had three hits and scored three runs for the Black Raiders, and Zach Guptill had two hits and drove in a pair.
Aidan FitzGerald had three hits and scored three runs for Waterville. Kane hit two doubles and drove in three runs for the Panthers.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242