READFIELD — On the verge of cruising through his third inning of relief and nailing down an Erskine Academy victory, Zack Glidden hit a couple of speed bumps to load the bases with two out in the seventh and prompt a visit from coach Lars Jonassen.

“First thing he said was ‘Aw, you like to make me nervous, don’t you?'” Glidden said.

Jonassen had a grin on his face when he said that, then got serious and reminded Glidden he could work from the windup if he felt more comfortable. With Maranacook cleanup hitter Connor Ireland at the plate representing the winning run, Glidden was willing to take any edge he could get. He got Ireland on a fly out to left field to preserve a 6-3 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B victory.

“It was tough, but I knew I had him,” Glidden said. “We had an error. I don’t really like to focus on that. I just like to get in the game. But they made it tough. They’re a really good team.”

The senior locked down the Eagles’ fourth win in five games and the victory for starter Dylan Presby, who allowed five hits, a walk and all three Black Bear runs (one earned) while striking out six in four innings of work.

Cody Taylor paced Erskine’s offense by going 3 for 4 with a pair of RBI doubles and a run scored. Six errors also helped the Eagles’ efforts against Maranacook starter Chris Florek (six innings, six runs, two earned, six hits, one strikeout, two walks, two HBP).

“Just getting on base is huge,” said Presby, who did just that three times Tuesday (two errors and a single). “Errors are part of the game, but also getting walks and just getting those timely hits. We left a lot of people stranded on base (10), but we got the hits when we needed them.”

Presby got the offense going after Maranacook’s Vinnie Birtwell made a sparkling catch in left to rob Luke Peabody of a base hit for the first out of the third. Presby singled, stole second and scored on Taylor’s opposite field double for a 1-0 lead.

The Black Bears (3-3) claimed their only lead in the bottom of the frame, thanks in part to two of the Eagles’ four errors on the game. A booted ball at second base scored Mark Buzzell (two hits) to tie it. Florek drove home Jason Brooks with a single to make it 2-1.

Two Maranacook miscues helped Erskine plate two runs in the fourth to again grab the lead. The first run scored on a Jake Suga bases-loaded fielder’s choice at second. Suga beat out the relay throw to first, but first baseman Dan Garand fired home to nab Andrew Browne, who was trying to score from second, to briefly maintain the 2-2 tie.

Suga subsequently stole second and made it 3-2 when he scored on an errant throw to first by the shortstop on a grounder that should have ended the inning.

Maranacook tied it again in the bottom of the frame on Buzzell’s two-out RBI single. But Erskine went ahead 4-3 when a dropped throw at first base allowed Taylor to score from third with two out.

The Eagles added single runs in the sixth — on Taylor’s second double — and in the seventh on a suicide squeeze by Suga on a 3-2 count.

“It’s one of those plays where the coach either looks like a genius or an idiot,” said Jonassen, who had a brief strategy meeting with Suga before the pitch. “Jake’s solid, everything he does. I felt that if we could get that run, it would put us in position where we could do what we did in the bottom of the seventh. Jake got it done.”

Glidden relieved Presby and tossed the game’s lone clean inning in the fifth. Florek (two hits) led off the sixth with a single, but Glidden started a 1-6-3 double play on a Matt Gyorgy grounder in front of the mound to end the threat.

“I actually thought that was the third out and started heading back to the dugout,” Glidden said. “That was a huge play in the game.”

He got the first two hitters of the seventh before an error, single and hit batter loaded the bases for Ireland and brought Jonassen to the mound.

“He pitches a lot more confidently from the windup, so I just told him, ‘Hey, let’s go windup. Let those runners go and go after the hitter, which he did,'” Jonassen said. “He closed against Belfast (in a 3-2 win last Wednesday) and got the job done. He brings it.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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