SKOWHEGAN — Pay attention when you watch baseball, especially high school baseball. You may see something you’ve never seen before.

Take errors for example. They’re fairly common in Maine high school baseball, with the season jammed into the weeks at the end of the school year when the weather may or not be conducive to the game. Although a typical high school game in Maine may have a handful of errors, a team can’t make more than a few and expect to win.

Right?

Monday afternoon, the Skowhegan Area High School baseball team committed eight errors in its game against Winslow. Instead of making a path to a loss, all those errors did was tighten up the River Hawks’ 11-6 victory over the Black Raiders a little bit.

“Fortunately, most of them were throwing errors and we just allowed them extra bases,” Skowhegan (5-2) coach Mike LeBlanc said. “We need to clean them up.”

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the River Hawks were one batter from winning the game via the 10-run rule, but stranded the run that would have provided a 10-run cushion at third base. Down 11-2 entering the top of the seventh, Winslow (5-2) scored four runs with just one hit, capitalizing on four Skowhegan errors.

“We’re just lucky to survive, have a big inning here or there, and come away with a win,” LeBlanc said.

The River Hawks took control of the game with a seven-run fourth inning. Cleanup hitter Hunter McEwen led off the inning with a home run to left field off Winslow starter John Day, cutting Winslow’s lead to 2-1. Mason Kelso followed with a double, and Ben Morgan reached on an error. Cam Louder singled to drive in two runs to give Skowhegan the lead for good.

“I told them, this is the second time around (the order). If they don’t have a quality at bat, they’re probably not going to have a third shot at (Day),” LeBlanc said.

Quintcey McCray’s two-run single with one out pushed Skowhegan’s lead to 5-2. Gage Morgan’s base hit scored another run, and McEwan hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to plate another in his second at bat of the inning.

Skowhegan added three more runs in the fifth. After walks loaded the bases with two out, Tyler Annis hit a two-run single, and Morgan singled to score another run and make it 10-2.

“We gave them more outs than we could’ve. You take a good Class A program versus Class B, you give them five outs, they’re going to capitalize on that,” Winslow coach Isaiah Fleming said. “You get those extra outs in those innings, you capitalize on that, and it’s a tumbledown effect of one thing after another.”

The Black Raiders were victimized by bad luck often as much as their own mistakes. A number of Winslow hitters stroked line drive outs, hard hits right at Skowhegan defenders. It’s a step in the right direction for Winslow, which has worked on putting balls in play. In the season opener, a 3-2 win in 8 innings at Maine Central Institute, Winslow struck out 18 times. Even in a 13-3 win at Waterville April 26, the Black Raiders fanned nine times. Against Skowhegan Monday afternoon, the Black Raiders struck out twice.

“A lot of it is our two strike approach. We’re working a lot on 0-2, 1-2 counts, just shortening up, put the ball in play. We had four or five lineouts right to kids today, and they were hard hit lineouts. They weren’t like these little blooper lineouts. They were hitting the ball hard. Our guys are buying into the two strike approach and getting more aggressive,” Fleming said.

Jackson Quinn went five innings to earn the victory for Skowhegan. Day hit a pair of doubles for Winslow.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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