Baseball: Bonny Eagle takes down Portland in wooden bat postseason

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PORTLAND—The No. 5 Scots came together as a team on Monday evening, July 30, upending the No. 4 Bulldogs 10-6 to advance through this summer’s wooden-bat quarterfinals and on to the semis. Bonny Eagler Will Whyte led the charge, posting hits in the first, the fourth and the seventh.

The contest unfolded at Deering Oaks.

“Basically, we just swung the bats well all day,” said Scots head coach Ricky Hession. “Persistent, really good at-bats throughout the game…[that], and our very good baserunning was key for us today.”

Both teams comprise boys who’ll be in high school come next spring, either as sophomores, juniors or seniors, or as incoming freshman. The League – properly called the Regency Mortgage Summer League – is a low-cost, low-stress, convenient opportunity for athletes from this part of the State to log extra innings.

The Scots jumped on top to start: No. 2 hitter Jake Humphrey singled, third-man-up Cam Phinney blasted a double, and Whyte – the team’s clean-up guy – singled as well. Humphrey scored on Phinney and Phinney on Whyte, so the team exited the inning up a quick 2-0. They added the 3-0 notch in the second, Logan Fogg scoring on an Ethan Hamilton single.

Portland caught up with three of their own in the bottom of the same stretch, though: Donnie Tocci, Ben Sawyer and Griffin Buckley all rounded to home and together evened things out. The Bulldogs then chased their guests through a one-two-three third before adding their fourth run – Jake Loranger did the honors – and seizing the lead.

Bonny Eagle starting pitcher Jackson Bean didn’t throw his finest game, but he threw steady, and his teammates played reliable defense behind him.

“Jackson didn’t have his best stuff today, and had some close calls that didn’t go his way,” Hession said. “But he battled, and he put us in a position to win, which is outstanding. And we played good defense, to not let some of those innings get out of hand.”

The Scots turned things around once again in the top of the fourth, however. Fogg walked on to kick things off; Hamilton followed him with a drive to short, but the Bulldog there flung an errant throw toward first and Hamilton reached safely. Humphrey blasted a double and scored both his teammates, then returned home on a long Phinney single—one that nearly bumped up against the centerfield wall. 6-4.

Not content to go quietly into the MPA’s hands-off period, Portland tied things up once more in their next ups. Buckley and Jackson Villani both scored, Villani bringing Jackson home with a double to distant leftfield and arriving home himself on a Sam Knop sac fly.

“Even though Jackson was getting hit a little bit,” Hession said, “his mechanics were pretty good. He was right around it, so he wasn’t pitching bad, even though he gave up six runs over the five innings.”

Hamilton tallied his second of the day in the fifth: He reached on a walk, stole second during Humphrey’s at-bat, and crossed the plate when Humphrey singled. Bonny Eagle were back on top – and there they would stay. Whyte scored the team’s eighth run in the sixth, and Shaun Brilliant and Hamilton scored their ninth and 10th runs in the seventh.

Portland’s bats, meanwhile, dried up, leading to the 10-6 final.

Hamilton finished 2-5 on the day with a pair of singles, as well as one RBI. Humphrey went 3-5 with a single, two doubles, and two RBIs; Phinney 2-5 with that big early-game double, a single, and two RBIs; Whyte 3-5 with a trio of singles and a trio of RBIs; Walker 1-4 on a lone, late-action double, and two RBIs; and Morse 1-3 with a single.

Hession applauded a few of his boys. “Humphrey had a couple really big hits, Cam Phinney had the big hit early and another hit later, Bailey did a good job behind the plate, and then Noah (Lariviere) coming in to pitch those last couple innings. He walked the leadoff batter, but he did a great job. Arms are going to be scarce to play in this tournament.”

The League held its semis on Tuesday, and its final on Wednesday.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Jackson Bean pitched the first several innings for Bonny Eagle on Monday.

The Scots convene at the mound.

Bonny Eagle catcher Bailey Walker fires off an infield grounder toward first.

Nate Morse trots toward home for the Scots.

Jake Humphrey hurls a ground ball toward first from his post at second.

Will Whyte inches off third for the Scots.

Ethan Hamilton leads off third; Hamilton would score the Scots’ last run of the 10-6 victory.

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