THORNDIKE — A young Maranacook baseball team that had lost key contributors and struggled to come together had a difficult 2023 season.

One year, though, has made all the difference — and the Black Bears’ latest contest was one in which they showed just how much they’ve grown from last season’s trying campaign.

Maranacook claimed a 4-2 victory over Mount View in a non-conference battle Wednesday afternoon. The win saw Maranacook (5-1) eclipse last season’s four-win total in just its sixth game with a solid all-around performance.

“The chemistry wasn’t great last year, but the chemistry this year is off the charts, and that’s a difference-maker,” said Maranacook head coach Eric Brown. “We’ve had guys come in that are bright, energetic guys, and everybody is feeding off it. It’s created this great atmosphere.”

Grady Hreben pitched a complete game for Maranacook, striking out six, walking two and allowing only three hits. Brandon Childon and Walker Dumas had two hits each for the Black Bears, who had seven total and three in the fifth as they scored twice to break a 1-1 deadlock.

Chilton smacked a double to the left-field fence on the game’s very first pitch and scored on an infield single by Dumas two batters later. But pitcher Stewart Knowlton recovered with three straight outs for Mount View (2-2), which tied in the bottom of the first as Noah Hurd scored on a Miles Carter sacrifice fly.


After the two pitchers mowed down their opposing lineups over the next three innings, singles by Chilton and Dumas set up a River Fallos sac bunt that finally broke the stalemate. Kody Goucher singled in Dumas one batter later to give the Black Bears a 3-1 advantage.

“It was all about pitch selection,” Brown said of his team’s fifth-inning breakthrough. “We didn’t have great pitch selection in some of our earlier at-bats, but we talked about it, the guys started getting some better swings at some better pitches, and we scored some runs.”

Mount View got a run back in the sixth as Hurd walked, stole second, took third on a balk and scored on a wild pitch. Maranacook, though, restored its two-run lead on a Fallos RBI single the top of the seventh before Hreben finished off the Mustangs in the bottom half.

Although Mount View got the bat to the ball at times, Hreben kept the Mustangs at bay by forcing 11 groundball outs. Only one of Mount View’s hits made it to the outfield, a single by Hurd in the third inning.

“I just tried to throw my fastball and hit spots today,” said Hreben, who also had a single for Maranacook at the plate. “I had minimal walks, and we did not have many strikeouts on the offensive end.”

Knowlton also pitched a complete game, striking out three and walking two and allowing four earned runs for Mount View in the loss. Hurd had two of the three hits for the Mustangs, whose other hit came on an Aiden Davis single off the third-base bag in the seventh.


The loss was another rough offensive outing for Mount View, which had suffered a 6-1 defeat Monday against Old Orchard Beach. Although the Mustangs recovered quickly after Maranacook put its first three runners on base, the bats simply weren’t there when they needed them most.

“We settled in and stopped the bleeding after they pounded the ball and got that quick run, so there were some positives today, but our lack of solid contact was evident today,” said Mount View head coach Brandon Hurd. “It was nice that we made contact, but it wasn’t the solid contact we were looking for.”

Maranacook also had a clean game in the field, its infield handling ground balls with ease and the outfield commuting well on the rare fly balls. The Black Bears committed zero errors to Mount View’s four.

“I’m proud of how we played today,” Brown said. “The energy on this team is really great. Whenever we needed a hit our a big play in the field, we got it done.”

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