WATERVILLE — Sam Lloyd had the kind of Senior Day any baseball player would want. The Waterville Senior High School senior had a pair of hits, including a home run. Lloyd drove in three runs, including the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Pitching three innings of relief, Lloyd earned the win in the Purple Panthers 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Maranacook.

Lloyd’s senior season is his only season of high school baseball, making his Senior Day effort even more remarkable.

“It’s nice when somebody comes out who hasn’t played before, and they take their approach to the game like somebody like Sam, who is very coachable. To see him have success late in the year is awesome,” Waterville coach Russ Beckwith said.

Lloyd had not played baseball since he was in sixth grade, but coming off a pandemic year and taking nothing for granted, he decided to join friends on the team to wring a little more competition from his senior year.

“I’ve got a lot of friends on the team, so I decided to come out this year, and I’m happy I did,” said Lloyd, who started the game at first base for the Panthers before taking the mound in the top of the fifth inning.

Regaining his hitting stroke was the biggest adjustment, Lloyd said. In his first at-bat Monday, with one out in the bottom of the second inning, Lloyd showed he found it. He turned on a fastball and drove it over the left field wall for a solo home run, cutting Maranacook’s lead to 4-1.


“It was just a fastball right down the middle, right where I wanted it. I just got everything on it. It felt great,” Lloyd said.

Maracook baserunner Tyler Hreben is congratulated by a teammate after Hreben scored a run during a game against Waterville on Monday in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Added Beckwith: “He kind of had to relearn the approach to baseball. What he needs to do in each situation without having direct coaching… He had a great day today. It’s the first real good piece he’s gotten. We see him do it in practice. We know it’s there. It’s nice that he got a fastball and was able to drive it.”

Lloyd drove in another run in the fourth with a groundout to shortstop, and was in the middle of Waterville’s game-winning rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Liam Von Oesen led off the seventh with an infield single, and Joe Hamelin walked. Alex Spaulding’s two-run double cut Maranacook’s lead to 7-6, and after Gage Hubbard walked, Lloyd smacked a single up the middle to score the tying run.

“I just needed to get a bat on it, make the runners advance, and that’s what I did. Luckily it went right to the gap, and I got on base,” Lloyd said.

Brandon Bearce’s groundout to short advanced Hubbard to third base and Lloyd to second. Hubbard then scored the winning run on an Elias Nawfel grounder, when the low throw home skipped away from Black Bears (5-6) catcher Alex Trafton. It was the first home win of the season for Waterville (5-8).

“It’s great to have a comeback win like that. All the boys rallied together,” Lloyd said.


Waterville pitcher AJ Kalacinski delivers a pitch during a game against Maranacook on Monday in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

The rally made Lloyd, who came on in the fifth inning in relief of starter AJ Kalacinski, the winning pitcher. At 6-foot-3, Lloyd has the making of a power pitcher, despite the lack of experience. Beckwith began working with Lloyd on his control and pitching motion early in the preseason.

“The first practice, I started practicing pitching. Once I get in my groove, I’m pretty good. Once I start throwing strikes I feel good. I’m mainly a fastball. I have a changeup, but not much else,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd allowed one run on one hit and three walks with a strikeout in his three innings on the mound.

“We try to get him to throw to contact. Put the ball in play and let his defense work for him. Luckily today the variation in speed helped him, because he throws a little bit harder than AJ,” Beckwith said.

Lloyd plans to attend Kennebec Valley Community College next year.

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