Oceanside runner Finnegan Lynch reaches safely into third base as Waterville third baseman Alex Spaulding applies the tag during a Class B North prelim game Monday afternoon in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

WATERVILLE —In the heat, Oceanside baseball coach Don Shields made a call that helped his team start to sizzle.

With Monday’s Class B North opening round playoff game at Waterville tied in the top of the fourth inning, with Bowen Brann on third base and Duncan Oakes-Nelson at the plate, Shields called for the suicide squeeze bunt. With Brann barreling home, Oakes-Nelson laid down a perfect bunt for a single, giving the Mariners the lead for good.

Along with that clutch play, No. 10 Oceanside took advantage of 12 Waterville walks to take a 12-7 win.  Oceanside (7-10) will next play at No. Ellsworth. No. 7 Waterville ends its season at 7-8.

“I love the suicide bunt. That’s the second or third time we’ve used it this year. We’ve won a couple games in the past with suicides. It was the right guy up. I knew Duncan could get the bunt down. I knew Bowen was not going to hesitate going. It was the right combination for me to do it. I love that play. It can turn a ballgame around, and it was the momentum changer for us,” Shields said.

Trailing 2-1 after three innings, Oceanside scored six runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead for good. Alex  Bartlett scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, and Brann — who appeared close to having home stolen before Oakes-Nelson got the bunt down — scored to put Oceanside on top, 3-2.

The Mariners capitalized on three walks in the inning, and Finnegan Lynch hit a two-run double.

“We all got on base. We were all swinging the bats,” Lynch, who drove in four runs in the game, said.

Waterville pitcher AJ Kalacinski delivers a pitch to an Oceanside hitter during a Class B North prelim game Monday afternoon in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

The game was originally set for a 3:30 start, but with the day’s heat, first pitch was pushed back to 5. It didn’t matter. Temperatures throughout the nearly three hour game were in the 90s. Waterville coach Russ Beckwith refused to blame the heat for his team’s control struggles. Of the dozen hitters walked by the Panthers, seven scored.

“I don’t how much of it we can attribute to the heat. Obviously, we both had to play through it. Once we got through the first arm (Morrison), it was trying to find a guy that was ready to move through,” Beckwith said. “It seemed like every string we tried to pull, that’s what the end result was. They did a good job making us pitch, too.”

The Purple Panthers were not alone in their struggles to throw strikes. Oceanside starter Oakes-Nelson retired the first eight Waterville hitters of the game, then walked three in a row to set up Joe Hamelin’s two-run double in the bottom of the third, giving Waterville a 2-1 lead.

Oakes-Nelson walked six in four innings before giving way to Nathaniel Bernard.

“Duncan’s been great for us this year. He’s gone deep into games. He’s arguably been our best pitcher. In this heat, he gave me everything you could ask for in four (innings),” Shields said.

Waterville used five pitchers, with starter Aiden Morrison working into the fourth inning.

Waterville baserunner Joe Hamelin celebrates his double as Oceanside second baseman Nathan Coombs looks on during a Class B North prelim game Monday afternoon in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Brann and Barnard each scored three runs for the Mariners. John Nawfel scored a pair of runs for the Panthers. Joe Hamelin’s two-run double in the third inning gave Waterville a brief 2-1 lead. The Panthers had plenty of opportunities to score, but stranded eight runners on base.

“If you can control the base paths and get timely hits when you have runners on, it sure does help. In four, five, six, we had a few of those runners on. Maybe if we get those timely hits, it’s a little closer,” Beckwith said.

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