READFIELD — Gardiner baseball coach Russell Beckwith expected a wild game against Maranacook on Monday afternoon.

“When you have two groups who are so familiar with each other it always seems like something wild has to happen,” Beckwith said. “Otherwise, it doesn’t feel right. We knew this one would come down to the end.”

Boy, was Beckwith right.

Gardiner scored three runs in the top of the eighth — all unearned — and then quelled a Maranacook rally in the bottom of the inning to grab an entertaining 12-11 victory.

“It was one of those back and forth affairs in which you never knew who was going to come out on top. We had a few key at-bats toward the end of the game, which really helped us out. What a crazy game.”

Added Maranacook coach Eric Brown: “Any time we play Gardiner we have these wild and crazy endings, and tonight was no exception.”

Gardiner led 6-0 after the second inning and appeared to put the game away when Brad Weston ripped a three-run home run to center field in the top of the sixth to make it 9-5.

“It was a bomb,” Brown said. “He absolutely crushed it.”

But the Black Bears (5-6) would not go down quietly. They scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull within 9-8 and then tied with a run in the seventh.

“We had the go-ahead runner on in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t score him,” Brown said.

Gardiner (8-3) scored three runs in the top of the eighth on a bases-loaded clearing error. However, Cam Brochu hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to make it a 12-11 game.

Maranacook loaded the bases with two out but a groundout ended the threat and the game.

“Crazy,” Beckwith said. “Just crazy.”

Max McQuillen had a double and a triple for Maranacook while Nick Berube also doubled for Gardiner.

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