READFIELD — Brian Bellows’ first start of the season began ominously, when the Waterville Senior High School junior hit the first batter he faced. As it turned out, that play wasn’t a preview, just a blip in a solid start. Bellows threw a complete game, giving up six hits with six strikeouts and no walks as the Purple Panthers took a 14-3 win shortened to six innings by the mercy rule.
“He was throwing strikes. He was making the pitches when he had to. It’s tough to face a lefty early on. This is actually the second lefty we’ve faced this season,” Maranacook (1-2) coach Eric Brown said.
“You know Brian’s going to compete. It was just getting out here, live. We were concerned about that. He hits the first batter and it was like, ‘Here we go.’ But he came through. He pitched really well,” Waterville coach Don Sawyer said.
Waterville (2-1) got all the offense it needed in the first inning. Dan Pooler led off with a home run to left field, and Racean Wood reached on a passed ball strike three. After Aiden FitzGerald singled and Kaleb Kane walked, Cam Gardiner singled to drive in a pair of runs. Kane scored when Owen Brown reached on a fielder’s choice, and the Panthers had a 4-0 lead.
“Dan Pooler gets it started with that home run,” Sawyer said. “That’s just a boost you don’t get every day.”
Waterville had 12 hits, but was aided by eight walks from a trio of Maranacook pitchers. Six of the Panthers who walked scored.
“We have a young pitching staff. We don’t have a lot of varsity innings pitched so far with our staff. They’re still learning some things,” Brown said.
Bellows, meanwhile, showed good control after plunking Black Bears leadoff hitter Nick Lacasse in the foot to start the game. In the fourth inning, Bellows had a string of nine retired hitters in a row snapped by a Cam Brochu home run. Three of Bellows’ six strikeouts were looking and he consistently threw his breaking pitch for strikes.
“My curveball was really working today,” Bellows said. “It felt good.”
Added Sawyer: “ I thought towards the end of it, he had a little better grip on (the curve). I don’t know if it was the weather or just having to work on it some more.”
Pooler scored four runs, while Wood scored three and drove in a pair. FitzGerald and Brown each had two hits for Waterville and Devin Veilleux had his first varsity hit.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242