FARMINGTON — After Friday’s 4-2 win over Mt. Blue, the Skowhegan baseball team could not overstate the importance of the victory.
“I think this is going to give us the spark we need to come back the rest of the season,” senior third baseman Ben Salley said. “We’ve definitely got to win some games now.”
Skowhegan, now 3-7, is back in the hunt for a playoff spot in Eastern Class A. Mt. Blue, now also 3-7, is clinging to the playoff race.
“We were playing for our baseball life today. Today was key, and the kids, they battled,” Skowhegan coach Rick York said.
Added Mt. Blue coach Dave Pepin: “Five games in a row, one- and two-run losses. It’s tough. We just can’t get that big hit.”
Skowhegan scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead for good. After Dallon Stevens singled to score Kaleb Brown, who led off the inning with a double, Salley hit a two-run triple to put the Indians on top 3-1, driving a curveball to the right centerfield gap.
“I just swung at it and happened to hit it. I got a good piece of it,” Salley said.
Skowhegan added an unearned run in the top of the fourth to push the lead to 4-1. It was plenty of offense for senior John Swett, who threw a complete game five-hitter for the Indians, walking three and striking out four.
“He’s a senior, he wanted the ball, and he didn’t want to come out,” York said. “At this point in the game, with our lives on the line, I couldn’t ask for a better effort, team-wise.”
Swett escaped a big jam in the third inning. After loading the bases with two outs on back-to-back walks and trailing 1-0, Swett got a grounder to second base to end the Cougars’ threat.
“(Swett) battled. He went to a lot of long counts, and he battled. You’ve got to give him credit,” Pepin said.
Mt. Blue took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, when Ryan Pratt scored on Amos Herrin’s single to left. The Cougars added another run in the fifth, when Ryan Pratt scored on a single by his brother, Andrew Pratt.
Colton Lawrence started and went five innings for the Cougars, allowing four hits and four walks while striking out eight.
“Colton’s been our ace all year, and he didn’t have his A game today,” Pepin said. “He’s been, the last two starts, unhittable. A one-hitter and a no hitter going into the sixth. He just didn’t have his game today.”