FARMINGDALE — Bobby Cumler believes the most critical part of being successful in his role as Hall-Dale’s leadoff hitter is knowing when to be patient and when to be aggressive.

He was a little of both in the most important at-bat of Tuesday’s Mountain Valley Conference baseball matchup with Oak Hill, and the Bulldogs were better for it.

Cumler doubled with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and gave the Bulldogs a lead they wouldn’t give up in a 7-4 victory.

“It was pretty unexpected,” Cumler said. “I was trying to drop my shoulder a little bit and hold it. I was doing that during batting practice and it just went down (the left field line). I really wasn’t aiming for it.”

Hall-Dale (9-4) starting pitcher Brian Allen fought hard to protect the lead once he got it, stranding five out of six Oak Hill runners over the last three innings after giving up a run in each of the first three frames.

“I told them if they got me the lead, I’d make sure we kept it the rest of the game,” Allen said.

“I reminded the team at about the fourth inning of other comebacks we’ve made this season and in past years,” Hall-Dale coach Bob Sinclair said. “We’re too good of a team to not come back. We’re capable of scoring runs and coming up with big hits, and that’s what showed today, What’s been nice about this team is it’s been different players in different games throughout the season.”

Oak Hill (6-8) hit the ball hard early. Jonah Martin belted a two-out triple in the first and scored on a passed ball. Adam Mooney ripped a two-out double in the second and later scored on Allen’s throwing error. Martin (2-for-3, two RBIs) made it 3-0 in the third with a sacrifice fly that plated Adam Merrill.

Allen buckled down after that, striking out the side in the fourth. He allowed one earned run on seven hits, walked one and struck out nine in his complete game.

“We don’t always start off well as a team,” Allen said. “But we always settle down, get deep into the innings, find our groove and hit our spots.”

“Brian’s a big horse on the mound and typically he doesn’t lose much throughout the game. If anything, he’s finally getting in his groove in the later innings,” Sinclair said.

Hall-Dale got an unearned run off Oak Hill starter Jake Bannister in the third, with Quinn Stebbins’ RBI single cutting the deficit to 3-1.

In the fourth, two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out. Bannister struck out Jordan Gardner for the second out, but Cumler hit a 1-0 flare just inside the left field line to clear the bases.

“What drove me to concentrate and focus on hitting that ball was just my team cheering on. I thought that was the coolest part, their energy,” Cumler said.

The Bulldogs picked up two insurance runs in the fifth on a double by Sam Moulton and single by Cole Lockhart.

The Raiders put two runners on in the fifth and sixth but didn’t score another run off Allen until Martin’s two-out double in the seventh.

Oak Hill coach Matthew Bray said Allen ranks among the best pitchers in the conference.

“He did a fantastic job today of mixing in his pitches at the right time,” he said. “At the high school level, we see a lot of kids that think they can throw breaking pitches and kids that think they know how to mix pitches in. He truly knows how to do it.”

It was a big loss for the Raiders, who are currently one spot removed from the Western B playoff picture with two games remaining against Madison and Wiscasset.

“We’re on that cusp. This would have a big one, but we’ve got two more,” Bray said. “We certainly need both of those.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33