Capers pull away in sixth for win over Rams

Cape Elizabeth senior Dylan Roberts ignited his boys’ bats in the bottom of the sixth versus visiting Kennebunk on Saturday, April 23, blasting a first-pitch homer over the dead-centerfield wall and into the parking lot beyond. Fired up, the Capers added three more in the stretch to secure a 6-1 advantage, which they would hold onto for the win.

“Kennebunk was competing,” said Cape head coach Andrew Wood. “After we scored two runs in the first, we got a little complacent, lost a little energy. And [Rams starting pitcher Eric Aiken] started to find his groove.”

Nate Ingalls, who started on the mound for Cape, looked on-point in the Rams’ initial ups, throwing two quick Ks. At the plate in the bottom of the inning, he walked to first, stole second and ultimately scored on a wallop by Brendan Tinsman. Tinsman followed him home on a nice squeeze bunt by Matt Riggle. 2-0 Capers, early.

Ingalls knew not to underestimate the Rams.

“I expected a really good team,” Ingalls said. “Aiken has been their pitcher for two or three years; I’ve faced him a lot. He can bring it, but he has a nice off-speed pitch, too. I know they lost a lot of their infield, but they still play really well.”

Kennebunk struggled to cut into the Cape advantage. Ingalls downed them one, two, three in the top of the fourth and stranded their two runners in the fifth; finally, they managed to get on the board in the sixth, posting one run. Tinsman relieved Ingalls on the mound after that, and fanned two Rams to keep his boys ahead.

Ingalls was happy with his performance on the day.

“I felt good on the mound,” he said. “I had some command issues last year, at the end of the season, from pitching a lot. So it felt good to get some strikeouts.”

“We weren’t planning on having Nate start today,” said Wood. “Our No. 1 pitcher is Marshall Peterson, but he’s got a little soreness in his arm. So this morning we decided to go with Nate. He finished off last year, going against Greely, pitched a great game, and he wanted the ball. He’s the captain, and he came out and pitched a gem.”  

Tinsman is nominally the Capers’ catcher, but really, he’s an ace across the field.

“He’s good at everything he does,” said Wood. “Having Brendan back there catching definitely shuts down the running game, especially having Nate, a lefty, on the mound. The one time they did try to steal, we threw it over, picked him off, executed the run-down.”

One run wasn’t going to be nearly good enough, however, as Cape’s biggest ups were still to come. Roberts kicked off the bottom of the sixth in spectacular fashion, belting that homer over the furthest stretch of fence he could find.

Riggle then skied a ball toward short; what should’ve been a routine out for Kennebunker Ryan Coughlan, however, turned into an error when the ball, perhaps jounced by the heavy breeze, dropped behind him in grass. That gave Riggle first; he scored three batters later on a Bryce Hewitt double to center. 

Soon, an error pushed Carson Sullivan across the plate for 5-1, and a squeeze bunt by Sean Agrodnia scored Hewitt in a dive for 6-1. 

“That’s just Dylan being a senior, being a leader,” said Wood of his team’s eruption in the sixth. “Leading off the inning with a home run definitely helped the situation. Next guy gets hit by a pitch, and then Bryce got up with a guy on first and second and put a double-steal on. 

“He loops a single and they threw it away, so we scored two. Once we got a guy on third base, first pitch, with our No. 9 hitter coming up, a sophomore, put the safety squeeze on and they execute it pretty good and got the sixth run.”

“We have good coaching staff, and we have six seniors on the team,” said Ingalls. “We’ve been through a lot of games like this. We know that, if you go into the end of the game 2-1, anything can happen. So we really got the message that we needed to score runs … We really hit when we had to. We’d been striking out in situations in the first few innings.”

Cape followed their big win over Kennebunk with an even bigger win, 16-4, on the road at York on Monday the 25th. They welcomed Falmouth on Wendesday the 27th, and travel to Kennebunk for a rematch on Friday, April 29.

Caper Dylan Roberts dives back to first in early action versus visting Kennebunk.

Cape starter Nate Ingalls pitched a “gem” on Saturday morning, as head coach Andrew Wood put it.

Caper Brendan Tinsman anchors the team’s defense at catcher, but he’s also a talented pitcher (and hitter, for that matter).

Dylan Roberts rounds third after ejecting a solo homer over the centerfield fence to kick off the Capers’ big sixth inning.

Caper Matt Riggle takes off from second base.

Cape first baseman Bryce Hewitt makes a play in advance of a Kennebunk runner.