READFIELD — Maranacook came within an out of its biggest win of the season Wednesday while Waterville avoided a two-game skid in a matchup of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B baseball teams.
Waterville (9-2) avoided its second loss in as many days when it rallied for a run to tie the game in the top of the seventh and scored four more times in the eighth for a 6-2 win. Sophomore Dalton Wood picked up the victory with four scoreless innings in of starter Dan Pooler.
“It was really good to bounce back,” said Waterville senior Kaleb Kane, who had three hits. “Losing two in a row is never a good thing. It was really key to come out here today, we trailed but guys stay fired up and we really cheered each other on.”
Maranacook (5-7) drew a strong pitching performance from senior Skylar Webb, who pitched into the eighth before he tired.
“He’s pitched great all year,” Maranacook coach Eric Brown said. “Game in and game out he’s been solid. We can’t get the timely hit for him.”
The outcome hinged on a couple of key plays. The Black Bears led 2-1 with two out in the top of the seventh with Waterville’s Adam Barre on second base. Pooler singled up the middle and center-fielder Nick Lacasse put a charge on the ball in hopes of a play at the plate. But the ball skipped past him and Barre scored without a throw. The Purple Panthers appeared to take the lead when Cam Gardiner singled past the first base bag, scoring Pooler, but the play was called back after the base umpire ruled it foul after an appeal from the home plate umpire.
“All I see is he called if fair and we’re circling the bases,” Waterville coach Don Sawyer said. “(The base umpire) said he saw it. what are you going to do?”
Two out walks to Lacasse and Jason Brooks in the bottom of the seventh brought Maranacook’s Cam Brochu to the plate. Brochu had two of Maranacook’s three hits and drove in both runs. He nailed a Wood fastball toward the line in deep left field, but Barre, a replacement in left after the pitching change, made a nice running catch to avoid the walkoff win.
“I don’t (play there) very much,” Barre said. “But we needed it for the team and I went out there and I knew every play was going to be big at that point. I knew if it dropped it was going to be the end of the game so I got over there as fast as I could. I just barely got to it.”
Webb opened the eighth by walking Aiden Fitzgerald and Kane doubled him to third on the next pitch. Owen Brown was intentionally walked to load the bases before Alan Wood and A.J. Godin singled on the next two pitches to end Webb’s day. A ground ball and an error accounted for the final two runs. Wood (3-0) got the side in order in bottom of the inning, striking out the final two batters.
“Dalton is our No. 2 starter this year,” Sawyer said. “Danny wasn’t doing badly out there, two runs, but we needed a little bit of a pickup.”
Both teams made some outstanding defensive plays. The Black Bears ended fourth and fifth innings with double plays and threw out two Waterville runners on the bases following base hits. In the sixth, right-fielder Kody Solmitz robbed Brown of extra bases and saved a run with running catch in right-center near the fence.
“We really brought our A game today,” Brown said. “We played them right, toe to toe.”
The Panthers snuffed a rally in the fifth with two runners with a double play and Wood and his catcher Fitzgerald stymied another rally in the seventh with a strike-’em-out, throw-’em- out double play.