KENTS HILL — His team was comfortably ahead. But Maranacook baseball coach Eric Brown knew the Black Bears weren’t safe yet. Not against Oceanside, which earned a walk-off, come-from-behind win against Maranacook last spring with seven runs in its last at-bat.

There was no completed comeback this time. Maranacook jumped out to an eight-run lead, then finished off the Mariners with a 12-6 victory in the opener for both teams at Kents Hill School.

“No lead felt comfortable with them,” Brown said. “We were up 7-1 last year on them. … The entire time, we weren’t feeling too confident. We had to get these guys out.”

It did get a little shaky — a nice play by shortstop Wyatt Lambert and pick by first baseman Thomas Trafton was all that prevented Oceanside from getting the tying run to the plate in the sixth — but it was still a victory that showcased what Maranacook hopes will be year-long strengths: balanced hitting and fine starting pitching from lefty Jay Lauter.

“It was nice to finally get out on the field,” said left fielder Duncan Rogers, who had a triple among two hits while also driving in two and scoring two. “It was nice to get the bats going early and help Jay out right away.”

Maranacook wasted no time. The Black Bears batted around in their first inning of the season, with Rogers following up an Aric Belanger walk and Lambert infield single by smacking the triple to right to score both. Rogers scored on a wild pitch, Hunter Glowa reached on an error and scored, and Jarred Schmidt was hit by a pitch and came around to score to make it 5-0.

“It was a weight off our shoulders. First three hitters, we scored two runs,” Rogers said. “There’s a little pressure to get going right away, because last year we were up … on these guys and they came back and beat us by one. We wanted to get it going early, and that first inning and second inning really helped that out.”

In that second inning, Maranacook built on a lead that Oceanside had trimmed to 5-2 in the top half. Lambert reached on an error, Rogers beat out a slow chopper to shortstop and Mitch Root blooped in a single to load the bases. After Glen Guerrette drew a walk to score a run, Glowa hit a deep fly that the center fielder misplayed for an error, allowing Rogers and Root to score and bump the lead to 8-2.

Guerrette later scored on a single by Schmidt, who came in on a dropped pop fly — Oceanside’s fourth error of the inning — to make it 10-2.

“We lost five starters from last year. We’ve got some new guys in there, filling some holes,” Brown said. “But offensively, I like what I’ve seen in the preseason. These guys can put the bat to the ball.”

It was more than enough support for Lauter, who struck out 10 batters while allowing one hit and two runs in four innings.

“He pitched phenomenal today,” Oceanside coach Don Shields said. “He threw a couple of curveballs that were just awesome.”

With Lauter out, however, Oceanside flirted with a rally even more impressive than last year’s. Maranacook made two errors in the sixth inning, opening the door for a big Mariners inning that saw Uriah Thongsaphaphone, Duncan Oakes-Nelson, Ben Ripley and Maguire LeBlanc score runs to trim the gap to 10-6.

Oceanside was still threatening with runners on second and third with two out when Jonah Carlson hit a grounder into the hole between third base and shortstop. Lambert ranged far to his right to snag the grounder, then threw against his body to first. The throw was short, but Trafton made an excellent scoop of the ball off the turf just before Carlson got to the bag to end the threat and keep a run or two off the board.

Guerrette and Glowa scored on an error and fielder’s choice, respectively, in the bottom half to round out the scoring.

“We had a couple of lapses toward the end there,” Brown said. “Those are the kinds of things, as a coach, you start to get real nervous about, because the floodgates start to open up. And that’s the kind of team that can do it to you.”

The Mariners cost themselves in the field with eight errors, but Shields was encouraged by what he saw from his team, which didn’t play a scrimmage.

“As the game went along, I thought we got more comfortable. We graduated nine seniors, seven starters last year,” he said. “Without the preseason games, it really hamstrung this team. We’re going to be fine.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM


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