WATERVILLE — Dan Pooler wasn’t dominant in his pitching debut for Waterville Senior High School on Monday afternoon. But the junior righty threw strikes and trusted his defense. The result was a 10-2 win over Gardiner.
Pooler threw an efficient five scoreless innings, throwing 54 pitches with one strikeout and two walks. Waterville’s defense made a handful of good plays. Third baseman Ben Cox leapt to catch a pair of line drives, and shortstop Dalton Wood did the same.
“I told them I’m not going to strike many kids out. I’m not overpowering, so I’m going to have to let them do a lot of the work,” Pooler said.
“Not a nervous wreck at all. (Pooler) was really excited about it. He went out there and competed and got it done,” Waterville coach Don Sawyer said.
The Purple Panthers (4-1) supported Pooler with eight runs over the first three innings, and eight of Waterville’s 10 runs came with two outs. The Panthers scored five runs in the third inning to break the game open, the big hits back-to-back, two-run doubles by Pooler and Cam Gardiner.
“It builds confidence, especially since it was my first time. They did a really good job tacking on some runs for me,” Pooler said.
Pooler only struggled with his control in the third inning, when he issued back-to-back walks with two outs. Sawyer utilized senior catcher Aidan FitzGerald as another coach, and FitzGerald worked with his pitcher to get through the rough spots. Pooler needed just 16 pitches to get through the fourth and fifth innings.
“Right off, Coach Sawyer asked me to make sure he was getting ready the right way, how he always wants all our pitchers to,” FitzGerald said. “If he’s getting in trouble, calm him down. Make him take his time.”
Gardiner scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning, but left the bases loaded.
“They got a couple bloop singles, three or four infield singles. We were hitting line drives, just at people. What do you do? That’s just the game of baseball,” Gardiner coach Chris McLaughlin said. “They played defense. They didn’t give us any runs.”
Nic Berube and Josh Mashke each scored a run for Gardiner (1-4). Pooler and Cam Gardiner each drove in three runs for Waterville, while Alan Wood scored twice for the Panthers.