Baseball: Gorham's big second inning propels them past Bonny Eagle

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Gorham shortstop Ben Nelson hurls the ball toward first - the second half of a 4-6-3 double-play - as Scots runner Cody Mains drops into a slide.

STANDISH – Ram Logan Drouin smashed a solo homer to kick off five-run second inning for Gorham at Bonny Eagle on Thursday afternoon, May 18. Drouin and Co. fell behind early, but surged ahead on the drive and ultimately held on for the W, 5-4.

“Quite honestly, it’s the same approach with any team,” Gorham head coach Chuck Nadeau said. “There are a lot of competitive teams in our league, and Bonny Eagle is one of them. It’s ‘get runners on base, put some runners in motion, put the ball in play and see if you can generate some offense with activity.’ We did that really well in the second inning, and for the rest of the game, I didn’t think we did a very good job of it.”

“We knew they’re a good team,” Gorham catcher Jason Komulainen said of Bonny Eagle. “They’ve had some tough losses – they don’t lose by much; they’re always in games. For us, we wanted to play our game, get the bats going early. Unfortunately, we didn’t this time. But we always fight. Kind of a dog game for us. We just wanted to come in and play a good game. I think we did in the end.”

The Scots jumped out front in the bottom of the first on runs by Kolby Lambert and Arlo Pike. Lead-off hitter Lambert cracked a first-pitch double to the centerfield fence to cover half the distance around the bases, then arrived home again when Pike smashed another double, this one to deep right. Pike advanced to third on a flyout to right by Brady Grass and crossed the plate when Greg Emerson drove a single to center. 

“We had a really good top of the first,” Bonny Eagle head coach Ricky Hession said. “We’ve kind of struggled with shutting teams down in the first inning…And we put really good at-bats together (in the bottom of the first). Guys waited for their pitches. We strung some good hits together and scored a couple runs.”

2-0, Bonny Eagle, but the Scots wouldn’t hold the lead for long: The Rams charged back in their very next ups – and they did it with two outs, no less. After Brogan McDonald grounded out to short and Nolan Brown went down swinging, Drouin stepped into the box and promptly launched a ball, going, going, gone beyond the leftfield fence. 

Drouin’s solo strike worked Gorham into an immediate frenzy, and the Rams heaped more runs on their hosts in the ensuing minutes. Lucas Roop began it, walking onto first; Roop dashed to second when William Prescott slipped a grounder past a diving Ethan Hamilton, the Scots’ second baseman. Roop then reached home and Prescott reached third on a bouncy grounder by David Drew, a tricky ball that Bonny Eagle centerfielder Will Whyte couldn’t quite grab on his first swipe.

Drew’s hit, a double, pushed Prescott to third; both boys rounded to home again on a grounder double into left by Ben Nelson. Nelson tagged up, completing the Rams’ five-run explosion, on a Jason Komulainen single drive to left.

“We scored all those runs with two outs,” Nadeau said. “That was a two-out rally. So we had two outs and nobody on and no runs in and put up five on them, and it all started with Logan’s homerun.”

“It was definitely important,” Komulainen said of Drouin’s homer. “Kinda got the boys hyped up in the dugout a little bit. We were a little bit low right then. Him putting that over the fence was a big turning point in the game for us. We always say good things happen with two outs. That kind puts that into action, right there.”

“The homerun, the way it can affect pitchers, it makes you think you have to change something that you’re doing,” Hession said of Gorham’s surge. “Whereas, in reality, it’s just, the kid hit the crap out of the ball…It was a pitch that was a little bit too good, to a really good hitter.

“So, [Connor] walked [Roop], then kind of missed up with his location a little bit. A couple ground balls that got through and before you know it, it was five runs. I don’t think too much changed; it was just a little momentum swing and Gorham took advantage of that…It’s early in the game, and you’re trying to get ahead. If you give up a solo homerun with two outs, that’s okay. It’s what transpired after that.”

The next couple innings were a defensive back-and-forth. The pair of starting pitchers – Connor Sirois for Bonny Eagle and Joe Curesky for Gorham – tallied a handful of strikeouts between them, but mostly lured the opposition into groundouts and flyouts. 

The game’s defensive highlight came at the close of the third, when Gorham turned a spectacular 4-6-3 double-play. Grass hit into it, clubbing a grounder straight to Rams second basemen Prescott. Prescott whipped around and pelted the ball to shortstop Nelson, covering second; Nelson tagged out Scots runner Cody Mains, then relayed the ball to McDonald on first. Stretching, McDonald reeled in the throw just ahead of Grass’s arrival.

Bonny Eagle did manage to chip away at Gorham’s lead, pulling within one on two bottom-of-the-fourth runs. Whyte began the quick flurry, driving a single just over Prescott’s reach and into rightfield. Whyte moved to second on an Ethan Hamilton sac grounder to short. Sirois then walked to first, giving the Scots two men on. Whyte reached home when Lambert drove a leftfield single, a hit that shunted Sirois all the way to third; Sirois scored when Christian Napolitano grounded to short. Nelson knocked Napolitano’s ball down – but seemed to lose it in the cloud of dust it kicked it up, allowing Sirois to cross the plate. 

The scoreboard would grind to a halt at 5-4, however. Neither team could scrape together the hits to round any further runners. 

“I thought we were resilient all game,” Hession said of the Scots’ chipping away at their deficit. “Our energy was outstanding; the focus from the beginning to the end of the game was there. The guys never thought we were out of it. We couldn’t just get over that hump, couldn’t get that last one.”

“Bonny Eagle did a good job keeping us off-balance for the rest of the day,” Nadeau said. “We tried to get something going, but their pitchers did a good job and held us to nothing.”

Komulainen, a senior Captain, offered some praise for his teammates, starting with the young Curesky. “As a sophomore, that’s tough, to go out there and start a game, go five innings in a game like this, where it’s tight the whole game,” Komulainen said. “He did well; I’m proud of him. As sophomore coming out here, he gave us a chance to win. That’s all we can ask of him.”

“I think our whole infield did well,” Komulainen said. “Tough ops out here sometimes, but we kind of stayed down on balls and made plays – turned a big double play toward the middle of the game, kind of gave us some energy right there. Outfielders, good job on fly balls, so it was just a good team effort today.”

“Really for only the second time we dipped into our third starter,” Nadeau said of Curesky. “Joe has not a lot of experience…We’ve stretched him out at the JV level, but this is his first real outing at the varsity level. So we just needed him to go out and throw strikes and get ahead in counts…He struggled to find the strike zone at times and get ahead of hitters, but all in all, for us to come out and get a win in our league with our No. 3 starter is a great day.”

Nadeau praised a handful of his other players as well: “Obviously Logan played well. The homerun to get us going, and then he came in and got the last four outs for us. And in that one inning, we had some other big hits. I think Nelson had a big hit, Komulainen had a big hit. I was happy with David Drew, too; sitting on the bench the entire time as the DH, when he entered the game [in rightfield] and made a play to end the sixth inning, that was good for us.”

“I thought we played well defensively, overall,” Hession said of his boys. “We had one little miscue, and it only ended up costing us a couple extra bases, but besides that, we didn’t give up anything extra – which is what we preach.”

“Everyone in the lineup had good at-bats,” Hession said. “There’s not really one person offensively who I can pick out who played great; we played well overall – it just wasn’t well enough.”

Hession praised his reliever by name. “Tyler Fitz coming in in relief was huge to keep us in the game. Did a great job of keeping the ball down and mixing it up.”

The result bumped Gorham to 10-2 in 2017. The Rams bested Scarborough 10-1 two days later; they host Massabesic on Tuesday the 23rd before traveling to Windham on the 25th. 

Bonny Eagle, meanwhile, slipped on the loss to 2-9. The Scots traveled to Marshwood on Saturday the 20th. They host Westbrook on Thursday the 25th.

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

Gorham shortstop Ben Nelson hurls the ball toward first – the second half of a 4-6-3 double-play – as Scots runner Cody Mains drops into a slide.

Gorham’s Kyle King contacts a pitch in the Rams’ win over Bonny Eagle last Thursday.

Gorham first baseman Brogan McDonald waits on an incoming throw.

Bonny Eagle first baseman Brady Grass reels in a throw well ahead of Gorham runner Jason Komulainen.

Gorham second baseman William Prescott throws to first on a Bonny Eagle grounder.

Bonny Eagle’s Will Whyte rounds third on his way to home.

Joe Curesky, just a sophomore, pitched five innings for the Rams in their win over Bonny Eagle.

Bonny Eagler Kolby Lambert dives back to first.

Scots centerfielder Kolby Lambert anticipates an incoming flyball.

Gorham’s Lucas Roop jumps off second; Roop would score the second run in the Rams’ five-run second inning at Bonny Eagle.

Bonny Eagler Tyler Fitz, at shortstop, hurls a ball toward first.

Gorham catcher Jason Komulainen congratulates teammate Logan Drouin after Drouin’s solo homer.

Connor Sirois rips a pitch toward the plate in Bonny Eagle’s narrow loss to Gorham.

Arlo Pike leads of second, waiting for his opportunity to dash away.

Bonny Eagler Christian Napolitano unleashes a swing at an incoming pitch vs. Gorham last Thursday.

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