MONMOUTH — Ben Allen, Matt Sekerak and their fellow seniors on the Winthrop Ramblers don’t have a lot of fond memories of Chick Field. But they got the last laugh against their rivals in their Mountain Valley Conference season opener.

Allen’s two-run single capped a three-run Winthrop rally in the seventh and gave the Ramblers a 4-2 win over Monmouth on a windy Monday.

“We’ve struggled here the last couple of years,” Allen said. “To get off to a good start after what we did last year — coming in and getting killed, 8-0 — it’s big for us.”

Allen and Bennett Brooks, whose pinch hit single tied the game earlier in the inning, made a winner of starting pitcher Sekerak, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and hadn’t pitched in a meaningful game since the 2013 tournament.

Given that, Sekerak wasn’t sure how deep he would be able to go. But working very quickly, he threw just 26 pitches through the first three innings and 84 for the game while allowing just three hits in a complete-game win.

“Thankfully, I was able to get through the first three innings with a pretty low pitch count, so I was able to really stretch out the game and complete it,” said Sekerak, who struck out three and walked two.

Monmouth (1-1), which beat perennial MVC power Dirigo in its opener last Friday, finally got Sekerak to crack in the fourth when Hunter Richardson reached on a slow roller to third, advanced to second on the third baseman’s rushed, errant thrown, and scored on Jeriah Caissie’s two-out single. That tied the score at 1-1 as Sekerak had driven in Allen with a double in the top half of the inning against Monmouth starter Chandler Harris (five innings, two hits, three strikeouts, three walks, one earned run).

Gage Cote, a transfer from Lewiston, used his speed to manufacture the go-ahead run for Monmouth in the sixth. He led off with a perfect bunt single down the third base line, then immediately stole second without drawing a throw. On the next pitch, he took off for third. Sekerak’s pitch was in the dirt and got away from catcher Dakota Carter, prompting Cote to take a wide turn at third. That drew an errant throw from the catcher into left field, which allowed Cote to score.

“You can’t coach speed, you know?” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “It’s hard to defend it, and he’s got it.”

Cote came on in relief of Harris in the sixth and set the Ramblers down in order. With one out in the seventh, he hit Antonio Meucci with a pitch. Jacob Hickey reached when the second baseman bobbled his grounder, putting runners at first and second. Brooks followed with the tying single plating pinch-runner Matt Ingram.

After Cote got Cabot Lancaster to bounce back to the mound for the second out that put runners at second and third, Allen hit a line drive the other way to score the go-ahead runs.

“In that situation, I definitely just want to put it in play, give everybody a chance to make something to happen,” Allen said. “I got a good pitch to hit. It happened to be on the outside and I’m glad I was able to take it to right.”

“Could you ask for a more clutch guy?” Winthrop coach Marc Fortin asked. “And he’s all business this year. He’s the captain of our club. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to come up to the plate at that point.”

Sekerak closed it out against the bottom of the Monmouth order, rendering a two-out walk to Mat Foulke meaningless with a force out at second to end the game.

“Can we ask for anything more from him?” Fortin added. “To see him come in and have nice control again was great. His first couple of innings in preseason, he threw a lot of pitches. He had super control (Monday), threw first-pitch strikes almost all game.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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