NEWPORT — Who says small ball has gone away?

The Winslow baseball team smashed — or, shall we say, nibbled — that idea to bits.

The 14th-seeded Black Raiders used a four-run seventh inning on five hits — with only one leaving the infield — to upset third-seeded Nokomis 5-4 on Tuesday in a Class B north prelim.

Winslow (4-13), which snapped an eight-game losing streak, will visit No. 12 Oceanside (7-10) on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Nokomis (12-5) swept the regular season series by scores of 7-6 and 6-3, but that was all blown by the wayside as a stiff breeze came in from right field all afternoon, guaranteeing that big blasts would be few and far between.

“We knew coming into this game we needed to keep the pressure on,” said Winslow coach Beth LaFountain, who began the season as the first woman in Maine to coach a baseball team and is now the first woman in Maine to coach a baseball team to a playoff win. (And like all winning coaches, she received a water-bucket bath from her players after the game.) “But this team comes out and battles and wants to win. We worked all year to build for the postseason. We’ve had five losses this season by one run, four on the road, so I think that had a lot do with their fire today and playing with heart.”


Up 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, Nokomis seemingly pulled away on RBI singles by pitcher Cody Chretien and pinch-hitter Lane Godsoe to make it 4-1.

But in the top of the seventh, Winslow’s Ethan Loubier and Kris Loubier scratched out infield hits, with a throwing error giving the Raiders runners on second and third with one out. The next batter, eventual winning pitcher Caden Fitzpatrick, hit Chretien’s first pitch to right field for a single, and another throwing error allowed the Loubiers to score and cut the deficit to 4-3. Lucas Boucher and Andrew Poulin followed with infield singles — Boucher’s on a bunt — and Fitzpatrick scored to tie the game at 4.

Chretien, who allowed 10 hits and walked one in 6 1/3 innings with three strikeouts, was relieved for Jacob Neumayer, whose first pitch went wild and allowed Boucher to score the go-ahead run.

Fitzpatrick allowed three runs, all earned, on eight hits over six innings with five strikeouts and two walks. He added two hits at the plate. In the seventh, reliever Boucher walked leadoff man Connor Sides, who promptly stole second, but Boucher struck out the next two batters and induced a flyout to begin the celebration.

“I just tried to do my best on every pitch,” said Fitzpatrick, a senior whose catcher, classmate Evan Bourget, has played with him since T-ball. “We had a lot of ups and downs, but we started hitting and luckily we started putting some hits together and good things happened.”

Winslow’s Tyler Brockway was 3-for-4, and Boucher added two hits.

For Nokomis, the loss was tough, but coach Jeff Chretien refused to hang his head.

“They got some hits and we didn’t make the plays we needed to and it slipped away,” the coach said. “This is one of the best groups of baseball players I’ve ever seen or ever coached. We just came up short; that’s how baseball is. If it was more than a one-game series, I know we’d be moving on, but in a one-game series, anything can happen.”

Nokomis opened the scoring in the first on a nifty double-steal that allowed Sides to score as teammate Mason Hopkins, who had reached on an error, wandered toward second and distracted Fitzpatrick enough to allow Hopkins to run to the plate. Winslow tied the score in the fourth when Tyler Brockway’s single scored Poulin. Nokomis’ Mike Scharf (2 for 4) singled home Sides in the sixth to give the Warriors the lead again.

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