SACO — Needing a full arsenal of arms in preparation for next week’s loaded schedule, Gorham turned to Ryan Norris for his first varsity pitching start in a Class A South baseball matchup Saturday against Thornton Academy.

The senior right-hander pitched four solid innings and Jacob Sladen followed with three scoreless innings as the Rams beat the Golden Trojans, 5-3.

Gorham improved to 5-3 and moved ahead of Thornton Academy (6-3) in the tightly packed Class A South Heal point standings.

Norris (1-0) yielded three runs and seven hits. Sladen gave up two hits.

“We need to give a lot of credit to Ryan Norris in his first varsity start,” Gorham Coach Chuck Nadeau said. “He gave us four innings in a gritty performance. We really liked the way he has been throwing the ball out of the bullpen.

“We have a very busy week next week, playing four games in five days, so we will need every arm we can. To have Ryan come out and do what he did today was really encouraging. It was impressive to watch.”

After taking a 1-0 lead on designated hitter Trevor Loubier’s second-inning RBI single, the Rams fell behind 3-1 in the third inning. But they quickly answered in the fourth, thanks to a two-run single by Loubier.

Nadeau said scoring after giving up the lead was important.

“Today was a day we did a good job of putting runners on base, and we got big hits,” he said.

“If we keep putting runners on base, I’ll take my chances with this group. They’re good athletes, they love playing baseball, and they have a track record of being successful. Our whole method here is to get runners on base, put pressure on teams and try to get big hits.”

Loubier’s fourth-inning hit drove in Kyle King and Brogan McDonald, who opened the inning with back-to-back singles and moved up on David Drew’s sacrifice bunt.

“I was watching (Thornton starter Brogan Searle-Belanger) in warm-ups and he threw a little funky,” Loubier said. “I saw the pitch coming in (in the second inning) and just tried to get the bat on the ball and it worked out in my favor.

“At first thought I thought (shortstop Luke) Chessie made the play at short (in the fourth). Then I heard everyone get loud, so I knew it got by him. It was a good feeling (tying it up).”

Gorham regained the lead in the fifth inning when Lucas Roop beat out a slow roller to second base, allowing Trevor Gray to score. The Rams added another run on a passed ball.

“Whenever you take a lead, you want to go out and shut the door and then come back in and maybe put more pressure on them by scoring and seeing how they react to it,” Trojans Coach Jason Lariviere said.

“(Gorham) coming back and tying it 3-3 was huge for them. It swung the momentum a little bit. Then they were then able to put an inning together and score two more on some of our errors. It put the pressure on us.”

Thornton got its runs in the third inning on an RBI single by Searle-Belanger (3 for 4) and a two-run double by Tim Smith.

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