PORTLAND—Yankee Forder Nolan Brown (Gorham) batted in the game’s lone run on Thursday afternoon, July 12, nudging his boys to a 1-0 win over Coastal Landscaping. The bout played out at Cheverus High School.
“Top two teams in the Zone,” Yankee Ford head coach Andy Coulombe said, asked about his expectations for the bout, “So we knew it was going to be a good game. 1-0, it could’ve been either way. That’s a good team; it’s nice to play in a competitive game. That’s a potential State-Tournament game.”
“We didn’t do the little things,” Coastal head coach Dan McCarthy said of the narrow defeat. “Get a bunt down here, get a sacrifice fly, and we should’ve won that game 2-1, in my view. Little things, but they’re things that they’re going to take to the next level. It looks like we’re going to be able to make it to States as the No. 2 seed. So games like this are going to make us better for up at the Tournament.”
Yankee Ford consists of players from Scarborough, Portland, Gorham, Biddeford, South Portland, Sacopee Valley and Cape Elizabeth. Coastal, meanwhile, comprises athletes from Cheverus, Deering, Famouth, Windham, Westbrook and Yarmouth.
The first inning past relatively uneventfully, Yankee starting pitcher Brice Springer (Biddeford) and Coastal starting pitcher Jack Casale (Cheverus) looking sharp on the mound, and their respective defenses playing clean in the field behind them.
“He threw hard,” Coulombe said of Casale. “Kept us off-balance, the first time through the order. We made some adjustments and started to get some guys on. But again, he battled hard. We were fortunate to get the one run.”
“Both guys pitched great,” McCarthy said of Casale and Springer.
In the top of the second, Yankee Forder Hunter Owen (South Portland) singled to reach, then moved to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch, but found himself stranded when Casale struck out Dylan Minor (Sacopee Valley) to end the ups.
Similarly, Coastalite Tim Greenlaw (Windham) singled into right to begin the bottom of the second. Greenlaw advanced 90 feet on a Yankee error and 90 more feet on a passed ball, putting him at third. He ended up tagged out, however, when teammate Tanner Bernier (Windham) grounded directly to Jim DiBiase, the Yankee Ford third baseman, who proved nimble enough to grab the ball and make the touch in one fell swoop.
Yankee Ford found the game’s only real offensive groove in the third. Trevor Loubier (Gorham) led off the stretch, and moseyed to first after taking a Casale pitch to the body. David Drew (Gorham) then bumped Loubier to second with a barely-fair grounder down the leftfield line, and Will Prescott (Gorham) bumped him to third with a single drive into left. Finally, Brown stepped to the plate, popping out to right, but giving Loubier plenty of time to tag up and race across the plate. 1-0.
“Nolan did his job,” Coulombe said, “got Trevor in from third.”
Coulombe remarked on his boys’ shutout defense. “Brice deserves a lot of credit,” he said. “Brice was the man, and we only needed the one run. It was great…That’s a really good lineup that he battled tough. It makes us very optimistic.”
“We took advantage of a couple baserunning mistakes on their end,” Coulombe went on. “Defensively, we were prepared for those. And we made the plays behind Brice.”
“Overall, the kids played good,” McCarthy said of his guys. “Our shortstop, Tanner Bernier, had a good game. Our goal is to get everyone in the game during the regular season. So sometimes you put guys in position they might not necessarily be in, in a tight game going forward. Griffin Watson (Cheverus) had a good game behind the plate.”
Both teams did earn further bases as the innings elapsed. Yankee Forder Cam King (Portland) singled in the top of the fourth, for example, while Prescott nearly had a triple into deep right in the top of the fifth. Prescott rounded third and headed for home, initially, but second-guessed himself when he was about eight-feet beyond the bag; he turned around and dove for safety, but the throw from the outfield arrived in time for Coastal baseman Dylan Francoeur (Westbrook) to sow the tag and reap the out.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, Coastal’s James Sinclair (Deering) doubled to deep left. Sinclair never reached third, though, as the batter who followed him to the plate flied out to Brown in center and Brown’s pinpoint throw to DiBiase arrived just in time to catch Sinclair out.
Drew finished the day 1-4 for Yankee Ford, Prescott as well. Brown didn’t log any hits, but of course he picked up the all-important sac fly that decided the outcome in the end. King finished 1-3, and Owen 2-3.
Greenlaw went 2-2 with a pair of singles, and Sinclair and Cam Dube (Cheverus) 1-2 each.
“We’re the top two teams for a reason,” McCarthy said. “If we played 10 times, I would think we’d beat them five times and they’d beat us five times. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Yankee Ford first baseman Brogan McDonald (Gorham) awaits a throw from his pitcher, Brice Springer, on an infield grounder (Biddeford).
Yankee centerfielder Nolan Brown (Gorham) gets beneath a ball; rightfielder David Drew (Gorham) backs him up.
Third baseman Dylan Francoeur (Westbrook) fires toward first for Coastal Landscaping.
David Drew (Gorham) makes contact for Yankee Ford.
Coastal first baseman Tim Greenlaw (Windham) reels in a throw as a Yankee Ford runner approaches.
Tanner Benier (Windham) – manning short for Coastal – fields a grounder.
Yankee Ford second baseman Trevor Loubier (Gorham) fires a ball over to first.
Yankee Ford first baseman Brogan McDonald (Gorham) leans out to backhand a grab as Coastal’s Cam Dube (Cheverus) dives back to safety.
David Drew (Gorham) dives back to first for Yankee Ford; Coastal baseman Dom Morrill (Yarmouth) leans out to grab the incoming throw.