Mariners rally, hang on for baseball win over rival WindjammersMidcoast neighbors open season with competitive, down-to-wire affair
Thomaston — One would expect nothing less than a tense, one-run game with the outcome hanging in the balance until the final pitch when a pair of longstanding Midcoast high school athletic rivals mix it up on the baseball diamond to start the regular season.
And fans of Camden Hills and Oceanside got exactly that — and then some — on Wednesday afternoon, April 23 as the Mariners, clinging to a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh inning and the visiting Windjammers with two runners in scoring position, got a game-ending strikeout on the hill from sophomore reliever Nick Mazurek as the hosts held on for the season-opening, school vacation-week victory.
The game saw the Windjammers (0-1) take a 2-0 lead through the top of the fifth inning, but the Mariners (1-0) responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame and two more in the sixth to pull ahead for good.
Camden Hills plated a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to close within a run, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs at third and second base to end the game.
The game was scoreless through the first three innings until the Windjammers scored a run in the top of the fourth and another in the top of the fifth. Both starting pitchers — Connor Graffam of Camden Hills and Ryan Allender of Oceanside — turned in strong performances before turning the game over to their respective bullpens.
Allender worked 6 2/3 innings for Oceanside, allowing five hits, one walk and one hit batter, along with seven strikeouts. Mazurek struck out the only batter he faced, throwing four pitches in a brief relief appearance.
Graffam went 5 1/3 on the mound for Camden Hills and allowed six hits and no walks, with nine strikeouts. Sam Berry retired the only two batters he faced, striking out one.
Leading the Mariners at the plate were Zach Peaco (2 singles, run), Travis Frye (single), Zac Roman (single), Mazurek (single, run), Thomas Curtis (single), Riley Sprague (run), Walker Ranney (run) and Jimmy Strong (run).
For the Windjammers, Graffam (double, single), Michael Wolff (double), Chandler Crans (single, run), John Hall (single), Joe Chamberlain (run) and Daulton Wickenden (run) paced the offense.
Crans singled to lead the top of the fourth inning prior to Graffam blasting an RBI-double over the center fielder's head to put the Windjammers on the board. The visitors added another run in the fifth when Chamberlain reached on an error, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Wickenden, moved up to third on a passed ball and scored on an error.
Peaco led off the bottom of the fifth inning with an infield single and moved to second base after Ranney was hit by a pitch. Strong then laid down a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher, but the throw from Graffam to Wolff was wide and went out of play as Peaco scored the first run for the Mariners.
Frye then hit a bloop single into left field to plate Ranney while Strong followed suit crossing the plate on a throwing error to put the hosts ahead 3-2.
Mazurek and Curtis rapped one-out singles in the bottom of the sixth inning, followed by an RBI-single by Peaco, which plated Mazurek to give Oceanside a 4-2 edge. Ranney then laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate Sprague, who pinch-ran for Curtis earlier in the inning, from third.
Camden Hills did not go quietly in the seventh, however, as Wickenden reached on an error, later moved to second base on a passed ball and moved to third on another passed ball as Ben Rollins drew a one-out walk.
Graffam plated Wickenden on an RBI-single followed by Berry's RBI-double, which plated Rollins, to bring the visitors within a run.
However, Mariner coach Don Shields then made the move to bring Mazurek to the mound, who struck out Sam Gimlewicz to end the game.