2017-05-04 / Sports

Falmouth hits through Freeport

BY CHRISTIAN SANDLER
Times Record Staff

FREEPORT

One inning. 48 pitches. Four walks. Four errors. 10 runs. One Freeport nightmare.

It all happened quickly and kept unraveling in Wednesday’s Western Maine Conference high school baseball game against Falmouth, and there was no way back for the Falcons.

The visiting Yachtsmen used the big inning and a three-run homer from Reece Armitage to secure a 14-0 five-inning win that left Freeport coach Bill Ridge scratching his head.

“We knew the wind was going to be a problem before the game. We couldn’t have expected that,” Ridge said. “That turned into a Little League game for a bit there.”

After retiring the side in the first, Freeport (2-3) starter Shea Wagner was in for a rude awakening in the second. It started with a six-pitch walk of Armitage, which was followed by a single from Will Blum. Cam Guarino tried to bunt them over and reached on a late throw, and that’s when the frame started to come undone.

Marcus Cady struck an RBI groundout in the next at-bat, before lead-off hitter Garrett Aube earned a second walk to load up the bases again. Colin Coyne was stamped by an 0-2 breaking ball to bring another run across and make the score 2-0 before Max Fourtier ripped an RBI single from the four spot.

With two outs, Armitage came up again and sent a high fly ball into left field. Instead of the inning ending, the ball was dropped and two more runs scored.

“I think that was a big reason for the fielding,” fellow Freeport pitcher Josh Burke said of the wind. “We kind of underestimated it. I don’t think we expected that too much, but it’s just an adjustment we got to make.”

“They put it in play,” Ridge said of Falmouth. “They put the ball in play, they did what they needed to do today, but on a day when we’re playing defense that I know we can play, I think that’s a totally different game.”

Blum singled again in his next at-bat, and then another error gave Guarino a base. A based-loaded walk gave Cady his second RBI and Aube drove in another run from the top of the order in his second at-bat of the frame.

Still, even with the pitch count rising and runs racking up, there was never a thought of a pitching change.

“Shea (Wagner) wasn’t pitching poorly,” Ridge said. “The only real problem we were having is that he got up to above 60 pitches in that inning, so he couldn’t go out again. It was never a thought of, ‘We need to pull him because he’s not doing his job.’ When he was throwing strikes, he should have been getting outs.”

By the time it was over, all but two Falmouth (6-0) batters crossed home plate and 10 runs were on the board. Wagner was up to 65 pitches when Max Heathco replaced him.

“I thought Shea (Wagner) pitched pretty good, honestly, against this team,” Burke said. “We just got to work a little bit more in practice on our fielding. Got to communicate a little better — communication has to be big in this. I thought Shea did a nice job. Even though it didn’t look like it, I thought he did good.”

“We depend on a couple of guys to stand up when things get tough and when those guys do that and they don’t come through for us, we don’t have that next layer of guys to stand up when they’re struggling,” Ridge said. “I think that’s what happened in that inning. Everyone sort of looked to the next guy to make the play.”

Heathco (three innings, 43 pitches) got through two frames before the Yachtsman added four more in the fifth. Aube hit an infield single to start it and Coyne reached on an error in the two spot. He made it around to third on a walk and a grounder before Armitage blasted a fastball over the right-field wall.

In acrobatic fashion, Bennett Hight leapt up and rolled over the fence but came up without the ball.

Wrong place

Colby Wagner was the bright spot for the Freeport offense, stroking a single through the infield in his first at-bat and lacing a double down the right-field line in the fourth. He advanced to third on a grounder but was left stranded in the Falcons’ closest scoring chance.

Hight also poked a deep double into the gap, but for the most part, Falmouth starter Griffin Aube was in cruise control. The righty went four innings on 45 pitches and struck out four.

“I thought we hit the ball all right today,” Ridge said. “We didn’t look over-matched and those were two good pitchers we saw. We obviously didn’t get the runs on the board. But I don’t feel bad about the bats right now — I thought we had some good at-bats. We had some long at-bats.”

In the fifth, Robbie Armitage came in to promptly strike out the side and close out the game.

“We were hitting it pretty good, just hitting it in the wrong spots, really,” Burke said.

After a game like Wednesday’s, there’s really only one thing to do.

“You’ve got to bounce back, go to practice, practice twice as hard every time,” Burke said.

Falmouth 14, Freeport 0

At Freeport High School

Falmouth — 0(10)0 04 — 14 9 0
Freeport 000 00 0 3 7

Griffin Aube, Robbie Armitage (5) and Garrett Aube; Shea Wagner, Max Heathco (3) and Colby Wagner. WP — Griffin Aube. LP — Shea Wagner. Repeat hitters — (Fal) Garrett Aube, Max Fourtier, Will Blum; (Free) Colby Wagner. Doubles — (Free) Colby Wagner, Bennett Hight. Home Run — (Fal) Reece Armitage. Records — Falmouth 6-0, Freeport 2-3. Up next for the Falcons — Friday at Wells, 4 p.m.

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