Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Travis Lazarczyk email@example.com
The Winslow High School baseball team is 7-0, thanks in large part to an offense that has dominated pitching over the first half of the season.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
• Kaleb Brown of Skowhegan hit a single to drive in the game-winning run, to cap a seventh-inning rally in a 2-1 win over Lawrence on Monday. Brown also had a pair of hits in a 9-6 win over Brewer.
• Derick Ouellette of Forest Hills struck out 15 batters in a win over Vinalhaven. Ouellette also homered in the game.
• Valley’s Seth Malloy drove in five runs in a win over Greenville.
• Alan Wood of Waterville had three hits, including a triple and a double, in a 12-1 win over Leavitt.
• Gabe Smith had three hits and scored three runs for Winslow in a 10-0 win over MCI. Smith also had three hits in an 11-1 win at Leavitt.
• Madison’s Cody Saucier hit a triple and two singles, driving in two runs and scoring three in an 11-7 win over Boothbay.
"They just happened to find the fat part of the bat a few times," Winslow coach Jesse Lacasse said. "I really knew right from the start they'd hit well and be aggressive."
The Black Raiders are averaging more than 10 runs per game, and have scored at least 10 runs in four consecutive games. Lacasse said he doesn't know his team's batting average ("and if I did, I wouldn't say," he said), choosing to focus on results rather than stats.
Lacasse said he has a deep team, and that's help foster a friendly competition among the Black Raiders. Players know that if they slump, there's somebody ready to step into the lineup.
"I have 11 guys I could put in the lineup on any given day," Lacasse said. "That keeps the competitiveness up, and that's great for me."
Winslow has a tough stretch of games coming up, beginning with a rematch with rival Waterville on Monday. When they played on April 19, Winslow took a 17-11 win from the Panthers (5-1). The Black Raiders also host Gardiner (4-2) and Lincoln Academy (4-2) next week.
When Winslow faced Waterville the first time, Lacasse pitched senior Don Camp. When Winslow beat Gardiner 5-3 earlier this season, sophomore Dylan Hapworth took the mound. This time, Lacasse expects to change things up, with Hapworth facing Waterville and Camp pitching against Gardiner.
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For a little while Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, the Skowhegan baseball team was in first place in the Eastern Class A Heal point standings. After a few more games were reported, the Indians slid to second place, just behind the Hampden team it knocked from the unbeaten ranks Tuesday with a 5-4 win.
No matter where the Indians are in the standings, they know there's a lot of baseball to be played this season, and they're eager to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
"Guys are starting to believe and are not letting up," Skowhegan coach Rick York said.
The Indians won just two games in 2011, and improved to 6-10 last season. Skowhegan is 5-2 this season, and the improvement shown so far is just a progression of better play York saw over the second half of the 2012 season.
"A year makes a big difference," York said. "They want to win, they want to sell out and do what it takes."
A key has been pitching. Skowhegan's top two starters, Taylor Bacon and Chad Carroll, are pitching deep into games. The Indians also have played strong defense. An example came in the third inning of Monday's 2-1 win over Lawrence. Shortstop John Swett went deep in the hole towards third base to snag a ground ball hit by J.J. Bushaw, then fired a perfect strike to Chase Nelson at first base for the out.
"Most high school shortstops don't get to that ball, much less make the throw," York said.
Wins over Hampden and Bangor, two of the favorites in Eastern Class A, will help keep the Indians in the mix for at least a home game in the first round of the playoffs. York wants to see continued improvement from his team.
"We're making a statement, but there's still a long ways to go," York said.
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Lawrence has improved since going 1-15 last season, but the Bulldogs have yet to turn that improvement into wins. The Bulldogs have come close, though. Each of the last four losses have been by one run.
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