FAIRFIELD — It’s not just the temperatures that are heating up in central Maine.

The Erskine Academy baseball team improved to 7-1 with a 3-1 win over Lawrence on Wednesday afternoon. The Eagles also pushed their winning streak to five games. They entered the game in second place in Class B South, trailing only Freeport in the standings.

“Another good win for us,” said Erskine head coach Colby Foster, whose squad also has a victory over Class A North playoff threat Messalonskee. ” (Lawrence) is a good team over there, they’re going to do well (in Class B North).”

The Eagles have relied on pitching and defense this spring, and did so again Wednesday against the Bulldogs (6-3). Grady Hotham pitched a complete game, giving up a run on three hits, while striking out 13 batters to earn the victory. At one point, Hotham struck out eight straight. He managed to keep the Bulldogs at bay with an explosive fastball, while mixing in his curveball.

“My slider wasn’t there today, it was kind of unfortunate, but my curveball definitely was,” Hotham said. “As soon as I set foot off the bus, I felt good. Bullpen was a little wonky, but I took it personal losing here last year. Wanted to come back and get a big W here.”

Hotham never got into much trouble but was able to induce a double play in the sixth inning after giving up a leadoff single to Lawrence outfielder Andrew Trombley.  Hotham even managed to display a little leather of his own, snagging a comeback line drive off the bat of Bulldogs shortstop Michal Hamlin for the final out of the game.


“We pride ourselves on our defense,” Hotham said. “We work on it at least half of our practices, defense, defense, defense. It showed today. They kept my pitch count down so I could go the full game. Shout out to my defense, ‘The Great Wall of South China.’ We already named it.”

Erskine Academy pitcher Grady Hotham (18) delivers a pitch to a Lawrence batter during a baseball game Wednesday in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Foster was also glad to see Erskine bang out seven hits, including five for extra bases. Isaac Hayden had two doubles, while Sam Boynton tripled. Tristan Anderson had two hits for Erskine, including a double, and had an RBI.

“We actually hit the ball pretty well today; the bats are starting to come alive a little bit,” Foster said. “The runs didn’t show how well we hit the ball, but that’s what we’ve been working on, trying to get more aggressive early in the counts.”

Despite taking the loss, Lawrence starting pitcher Ben Ryder had some strong flashes on the mound, striking out seven.

“We came into this knowing about (Hotham) and his curveball and he had a few of them,” Ryder said. “I knew his fastball was pretty hard. I knew he’d be tough. I just came in getting ready to pitch. I was feeling good (entering the game) and my arm was good.”

The Bulldogs managed to gain a run in the second inning, when Parker Higgins plated Cameron Dostie from third on a sacrifice bunt.


“That was our fifth game in seven days,” Lawrence head coach Rusty Mercier said. “Defensively, I think we did a good job. Our pitcher (Ryder) did a nice job on the mound. Our (main objective) is getting on base and doing things. Their pitcher kept us off base. We like to run and steal. We did a little small ball to get our one run, but we couldn’t do that much today.”


Dave Dyer – 621-5640


Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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