GORHAM—Tim Greenlaw (Windham) belted a two-run homer for Coastal Landscaping in their rematch with Yankee Ford at USM on Thursday afternoon, July 19, spearheading an 8-4 victory for his boys.
“It’s tough,” Coastal head coach Dan McCarthy said. “We’ve had a couple of games we’ve lost by one run; another game that was extra innings. So we knew we were right in [Yankee Ford’s] league. We’re the two best teams in this division, and it looks like we’re both going up to the States.”
Yankee Ford led the contest 3-2 after the first. Coastalites Luke Hill (Deering) and Dylan Francoeur (Westbrook) crossed home in the top of the inning – Hill on a Greenlaw sac fly and Francoeur on a steal – but Forders Zack Johnson (South Portland), Brogan McDonald (Gorham) and Nolan Brown (also Gorham) all scored in the bottom of the stretch, Johnson on a Brown single and McDonald and Brown on healthy Will Prescott (Gorham again) contact.
That, however, would prove Yankee Ford’s biggest inning. They continued to connect with the ball through the middle of the bout, but the majority of their would-be hits flew directly into their opponents’ hands, resulting in routine infield grounders or flyouts. The team did add a final tally in the bottom of the seventh – Brice Springer (Biddeford) scored – but to no avail.
“It was a good response for us, in the first inning, to get a couple back after they scored two,” Yankee Ford head coach Andy Coulombe said. “We just didn’t find the ball to barrel up enough tonight. We hit a couple balls that were hard.”
For their part, Coastal, produced a steady stream of offense: Princehoward (“Barbeque”) Yee (Deering) tied things up in the second with a solo homer over the leftfield wall; Jack Romano (Yarmouth) tripled then scored on a Jack Lynch (Deering) sac fly in the fourth; Greenlaw ejected his ball over – way over – the rightfield wall in the fifth, scoring Francoeur and himself; and Cam Dube (Cheverus) drove a single into left in the sixth to bring James Sinclair (Deering) and Romano around.
“We had a couple of big hits,” McCarthy said. “Barbeque got his first homerun – nice homerun for a 15-year old. Tim’s was a nice, two-run homer – at least 440. That went over the fence at 420 and it was still going up. That was crushed.”
Moreover, the Coastalites played clean defense. Francoeur looked especially impressive for the outfit, turning key plays at third base in the first, third and fourth (twice!).
“Their third baseman was outstanding tonight,” Coulombe said of the opposition. “Francoeur played an unbelievable game over there. It felt like, every time we hit the ball, we were hitting in his direction. He’s good. He made all the plays tonight.”
“Sometimes that happens,” Coulombe went on. “There’s going to be games where we put the ball in play on the ground and the defense makes three or four errors. Tonight was not that night. That’s baseball.”
Perhaps the single most spectacular defensive play of the day belonged to Yankee Ford centerfielder Nolan Brown, though. Late in the action, Brown managed – dashing backwards, toward the wall, but half-turned so he could track the incoming ball – to leap and grab a deep Coastal shot that by rights should’ve flown beyond his reach.
Coastal hashed eight hits in the game: Francoeur contributed an early double, as did John Jordan (Yarmouth); Sinclair, Lynch and Jordan each recorded a single; Romano had his triple; and Yee and Greenlaw kicked in their homers. Francoeur stole a pair of bases, and Dube one.
Conner MacDonald (Cheverus) started on the mound for the team, striking out five. Sinclair relieved him in the seventh and added a sixth K to the team’s tally.
“We had an injury with James, earlier in the year. We wanted to see how he could bounce back. He did well. It’s hard to bring out Conner, after the game he threw – he only threw 70 pitches in six innings, so it was tough to do that, but we had to give James some work, and he did his job.”
Yankee Ford put up five hits: Brown, Springer and Riley Hasson (South Portland) each logged a single, while Hasson and David Drew (Gorham) earned a double apiece. Johnson stole a base, second, in the first; McDonald stole third later in the same stretch and Hasson stole second in the fifth.
Gio Ruotolo (Portland) began the day pitching for the Forders. But it wasn’t Ruotolo’s day, and Hasson relieved him in the fourth.
“Gio was leaving it up a little bit,” Coulombe said. “They took advantage of a couple balls he left up; Barbeque put a good swing on one, Greenlaw put a really good swing on one. Hasson came in and kept it down.”
“Gio battled,” Coulombe added. “Yeah, he was up, but he pitches with a lot of heart. And Hasson – he’s just a gamer. Any sport, I want him on my team.”
When the teams met a week prior, at the Cheverus field, Yankee Ford emerged narrowly victorious, 1-0.
“Two great games,” Coulombe said. “Two really great teams. I think if we played them 100 times, it would be 50-50. Those are games that get you ready for the tournament.”
“We’re playing loose,” McCarthy said. “I told them, going forward, the next few games we’re going to play loose. Don’t be uptight; play the way we know we can.”
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Conner MacDonald (Cheverus) unwinds into a pitch.
Yankee Ford second baseman Jim DiBiase (South Portland) and Coastal runner Jack Lynch (Deering) collide as Lynch attempts to steal second.
Yankee Forder David Drew (Gorham) fields a single in right as Coastal Landscaper Jack Lynch dashes toward first (Deering).
Riley Hasson (South Portland) stepped in mid-game to pitch for the Forders.
Tim Greenlaw jogs around third, taking his batting gloves off one finger at a time – triumphantly – after belting a two-run homer over the rightfield wall.
Dylan Francoeur (Westbrook) has been stalwart at third base for Yankee Ford this season.
Yankee first baseman Brice Springer (Biddeford) awaits the throw; Coastal’s John Jordan (Yarmouth) races for the bag.
Gio Ruotolo (Portland) hurls a pitch toward home for Yankee Ford.
Coastalite Tim Greenlaw (Windham) leans out from first base for a grab, edging out Yankee runner Riley Hasson (South Portland).
Yankee second baseman Will Prescott (Gorham) pops up after laying a tag on a tumbling James Sinclair (Deering).
Yankee Ford centerfielder Nolan Brown (Gorham) leaps into the game’s single best catch.