FARMINGDALE — Before the season, Oak Hill baseball coach Chad Stowell felt his team was ready to make a jump, with a core of players who were eager to start winning the close games they had lost for years.

Wednesday afternoon was what he had in mind. The Raiders jumped on Hall-Dale with a big fifth inning, then held on late to earn a 6-5 win over the defending Class C champions.

“It’s probably a signature victory for us so far,” said Stowell, whose team is now 6-4 after winning 10 games and making no playoff appearances the previous two seasons. “We knew this was going to be a tough stretch, but it was really nice to see other kids step up that haven’t really stepped up yet.”

Casey Dion went five strong innings for the Raiders, while Caleb Valliere (two RBIs), Caleb Treadwell, Sam Lindsay and Ezra Juray had two hits apiece.

“It’s huge, (for) the playoff points, obviously, but I don’t think we’ve beat them since I’ve been here,” said senior Reid Cote, who singled in the go-ahead run during that fifth inning. “So it feels pretty good.”

The score was tied at 2 when the Raiders, playing without a pair of key players in Gavin Rawstron and Ethan Barnett, made their move. Lindsay led off with a single and Treadwell drew a walk, and Cote then lined a single to right that brought in Lindsay and put Oak Hill ahead 3-2. The hits kept coming; Valliere smacked a single to right that scored Treadwell, Dion helped his own cause with a single two batters later to score Cote, and Isaac Morissette followed with a single down the left field line that brought in Valliere and made it 6-2.

The Bulldogs (6-3) weren’t finished. Josh Nadeau walked, swiped a couple of bases and then came in on a passed ball in the fifth, and Hall-Dale got two more runs in the sixth when Max Byron doubled to right to score Logan Dupont (pinch-running after Sam Sheaffer led off the inning with a single) and Nadeau grounded to short to score Byron.

“There’s a lot of kids in that dugout for Hall-Dale that have won a lot of games over the past couple of years,” Stowell said. “I knew they weren’t going to go away.”

The two sixth-inning runs came off of Valliere, who relieved Dion after Sheaffer’s single, and the junior had a tall order in the seventh with the heart of Hall-Dale’s lineup set to bat. A rally was in the works when Alec Byron reached on an infield single and stole second with one out, but Valliere got a comebacker to the mound from Akira Warren and a groundout to second from Tim Cookson to end the threat and the game.

“I just attacked,” Valliere said. “I know this team doesn’t get down late, ever. So I figured I might as well attack, because my defense behind me was making plays at the time and this was a huge game.”

Cote knew Valliere was going to finish the job.

“We all believed in Vall. We know what he can do,” he said. “I saw the fire in his eyes.”

Valliere finished the work started by Dion, who struck out three in the five innings and allowed four hits and four runs.

“Huge, huge outing from Casey on the mound,” Stowell said. “That really took a big load off our pitching staff.”

Alec Byron pitched all seven innings for Hall-Dale, while Nadeau scored two runs and drove in another, and Patrick Rush also drove in a run.

“With the tying run 90 feet away and the heart of the lineup coming up, we never give up hope,” coach Bob Sinclair said. “It was just a tough day. We didn’t come up with a big hit when we had runners in scoring position, and that was the difference in the game.”

The Bulldogs jumped in front in the second when Cookson tripled and came in on Rush’s groundout. Oak Hill took the lead in the third when Valliere doubled in Lindsay and Juray’s single knocked in Cote, but Hall-Dale pulled even again in the bottom half when Nadeau walked, advanced on a passed ball and steal and then came in on Austin Stebbins’s groundout.

Hall-Dale had a chance for more in the fourth, loading the bases with one out, but came up empty in one of those missed chances.

“(Dion) didn’t allow the big hit when we had runners in scoring position, so credit to him,” Sinclair said. “That’s what it takes to win a ballgame.”


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