Erskine’s Sam Boynton dives into third base ahead of the outfield throw as Morse third baseman Braylen Williams catches the ball during a Class B South prelim game Monday in Lewiston. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

LEWISTON — It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season, and the Erskine baseball team found that out the hard way Monday afternoon.

Morse broke a 1-1 tie with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to sink the Eagles 9-2 in a Class B South preliminary game at Lewiston High School.

Erskine had defeated Morse twice in the regular season.

“We’ve played these guys twice before and knew it could have gone either way,” said Morse coach Niko Ruiz. “We kept the same energy the whole game, played our game with smart base running, and our bats came alive late. We worked the counts. All around it was a full team win; subbing pinch runners, pinch hitters — this is what we’ve built up for all year.”

Erskine beat Morse 4-2 in Bath in April, and then came from behind in late May to earn a 5-4 victory in South China.

“That’s exactly what we told the boys,” said Erskine coach Colby Foster. “They’re a really good team and a tough team to beat three times.”


Senior hurler Gavin Baillargeon threw 5 2/3 innings, scattering four hits, striking out nine, surrendering four hits and walking four. Braylen Williams finished the final four outs to seal the victory. The No. 8 Shipbuilders will travel to Cape Elizabeth to take on the top-seeded Capers on Thursday.

Morse pitcher Braylen Williams gets fired up after striking out an Erskine hitter to end a threat in the sixth inning of a Class B South prelim game Monday in Lewiston. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

With the game scoreless in the top of the third inning, Erskine’s Sam Boynton walked to lead off the frame and then reached third after a steal and a throwing error. After another walk, the Eagles had runners on first and third with one out, but Morse ended the threat when it got Williams out at third in a rundown after a pickoff attempt. Catcher Gabe Morrison ultimately applied the tag for the out. Baillargeon struck out the next batter to end the inning.

“That was a great call from Braylen,” said Baillargeon. “I didn’t see it initially, but he saw the big lead and called our designated play and I picked him off, executing it perfectly.”

“That was all on them, they have their communications out there,” noted Ruiz of the defense. “We talked after the game and we could have put our heads down and given up an easy run, but they figured it out themselves and made a play and stopped the momentum from going to their side.”

Morse (9-8) maintained that momentum in the bottom half and finally broke through. Junior Calin Gould lined a single to right off Erskine starter Hunter Foard to plate Wyatt Wallace-Craney for a 1-0 lead.

Erskine (9-8) answered in the top of the fourth on an RBI infield single from Bo Johnson.


Erskine had a chance to go ahead in the top of the fifth after a two-out Morse error put the go-ahead run on base. Grady Hotham stole two bases to reach third base, but Baillargeon’s ninth strikeout ended the rally.

Morse starting pitcher Gavin Baillargeon fires a pitch in during a Class B South prelim game Monday against Erskine in Lewiston. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

Caleb Harvey led off the bottom of the fifth for Morse with a single after fouling off several pitches. Gould then reached on an error and Jason Bussey followed with a bunt that Erskine misplayed, resulting in a run. Baillargeon knocked in the next run with a flyout to give Morse a 3-1 lead.

Gabe Morrison delivered the next blow, knocking a two-run single into left to make it a 5-1 game.

Williams, who finished with three hits, grounded out to bring in Morrison to psh the lead to 6-1.

“We made one too many mistakes and that’s uncharacteristic of the type of baseball that we play, usually we’re pretty solid defensively,” said Foster.

Foard knocked in Anderson with a single in the top of the sixth off Baillargeon, and after recording the second out of the sixth the Morse righty gave way to Williams, who promptly struck out the lone batter he faced in the sixth to preserve the lead.

Morse tacked on three more runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a commanding 9-2 lead. Williams closed out the seventh for the win.

“He’s (Baillargeon) obviously our No. 1 and he just dealt and we had full confidence in bringing in Braylen at the end,” said Ruiz.“We started the season off 2-6 and finished the season 6-2 right where we wanted to be coming into the playoffs, playing our best baseball.”