READFIELD — A little two-out magic in the seventh inning allowed Waterville to turn the tables on Maranacook on Friday, but not until the Purple Panthers clinched it by turning two.

Waterville scored three runs with two outs in the top of the seventh and pitcher Dalton Wood started a game-ending 1-6-3 double play to end a 3-1 victory over Maranacook in a battle of a pair of nine-win teams in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B.

The victory avenges a 3-1 loss to the Black Bears on April 22 in Waterville.

“It’s a pretty big win,” said Wood, whose team hosts Oceanside in its season finale Tuesday. “It should help us quite a lot. We need these next couple to move up (in Heal points).”

Jason Brooks came on in relief to start the seventh and walked Alex Maheux. Pinch runner Kody Vallee stole second and went to third on a fly out to center, but Brooks struck out Cam Denis for the second out.

Then, with the count even at 2-2, lefty Andrew Roderigue went with a pitch away and slapped a single in the hole between third and shortstop to plate Vallee with the tying run.

“I didn’t want to pop out. I hadn’t been hitting well all day. It was time to focus and come through,” Roderigue said. “It was a fastball and I took advantage of it.” “We finally got the big two-out hit. We didn’t get the big two-out hit the whole game,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “We worked on two-strike hitting (Thursday). That’s what you’ve got to do, anything close you’ve got to put the bat on the ball.”

Roderigue stole second and scored the go-ahead run on Justin Wentworth’s double just inside the third base line. Cody Pellerin followed with a single to left for the insurance run.

Mark Buzzell and Max McQuillen drew back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the seventh for Maranacook to put the tying runs on against a tiring Wood.

“To be honest, not much was working (Friday). I had a couple here and there, but I was throwing fastballs mostly,” Wood said.

Wood regrouped to get Brooks to fly out to center, then got off the mound quickly to pounce on Connor Ireland’s tapper and start the game-saving double play.

“That was going to be his last batter if he didn’t get the out on that,” Martin said. “He battled through it.”

The first five innings were a fast-paced pitchers’ duel between Wood (seven innings, four hits, three strikeouts, six walks, one hit batter) and Maranacook’s Chris Florek (five innings, two hits, five strikeouts, one walk, one hit batter).

Both teams still had their chances. The Purple Panthers (10-5) left a runner in scoring position in every inning but the first.

The Black Bears (9-6), meanwhile, left the bases loaded twice. But they got on the board first when Brooks ripped a triple over the head of Waterville center fielder Roderigue and scored when the throw to third ended up going out of play in front of Waterville’s dugout.

Dan Garand relieved Florek to start the sixth and protected the lead despite giving up two walks and an infield single.

“Chris threw seven on Monday (in a 10-3 win over Gardiner) and he was giving us five today, which is all I asked him to do,” Maranacook coach Eric Brown said. “He told me after five he was done, he didn’t have anything left. He threw well.”

Wood survived a leadoff walk in the bottom of the frame thanks to a Maranacook runner being called for an illegal slide at second base that parlayed a tapper back to Wood to an automatic double play.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmateril33

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