Winslow hits, pitches way past Oceanside in playoff victoryNo. 3 Mariners cap strong season, No. 6 Black Raiders move onto semifinals
Thomaston — A few days ago, the Winslow baseball team needed a late-game rally to pull out a 9-7 win over No. 11 Ellsworth in an Eastern Class B prelim playoff game, but no such comeback was necessary on Thursday afternoon, June 12 as the No. 6 Black Raiders took control early en route to a convincing 9-1 quarterfinal victory over No. 3 Oceanside.
In fact, all Winslow needed to pull off the upset of the Mariners was solid, consistent at-bats against Oceanside ace pitcher Nick Mazurek and a solid performance on the hill from Dylan Hapworth to earn the win and advance in the single-elimination regional tournament.
Winslow (15-3) will host No. 7 Caribou (12-6), a quarterfinal winner over No. 2 Hermon (12-5), in the semifinals.
Oceanside capped its season at 12-5.
During the regular season, the Mariners handed the Black Raiders a 4-1 defeat.
The Mariners drew a tough first-round playoff opponent as Winslow was worthy, given its talent and record, of being a top-four team but the Black Raiders fell to sixth in the final Heal Point Standings.
The Black Raiders certainly came ready to play under gray, threatening skies Thursday, as the visitors had luck hitting Mazurek, a usually dominated sophomore right-hander who was the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B player of the year with a 6-1 record (in 44 1/3 innings on the hill, he had a 1.26 earned run average, allowed 25 hits, 15 runs, 8 earned runs, struck out 55 and walked 14 as opponents batted .152 against him).
But Thursday's game was simply another example of how anything can happen in a high school athletic contest, especially when one team comes into the affair with plenty of confidence from a recent clutch, late-game win, while the other squad was perhaps a bit rusty and out of synch after having not played a meaningful, countable game in nearly two weeks.
On Thursday, Winslow took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, 3-0 advantage after three, 4-0 cushion after four and 6-0 edge after 4 1/2 innings. Oceanside tallied its lone run in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Black Raiders added three insurance runs in the seventh.
Hapworth used a hard fastball and nasty curveball to keep Mariner batters off-balanced, while Winslow players found success against Mazurek. Jake Trask and Ryan Allender also saw action on the hill for the Black Raiders and Mariners respectively later in the game.
Mazurek (5 earned runs on 11 hits, walk, 6 strikeouts in 5 innings) and Allender (earned run on 2 hits, 3 walks in 2 innings) worked the hill for Oceanside, which made three errors.
Hapworth (earned run on hit, 3 walks, hit batter, 6 strikeouts in 5 innings) and Trask (hit, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts) toed the slab for Winslow, which also had three fielding miscues.
Keying the hard-hitting Black Raiders were Ben Smith (single, run), Trevor Lovely (single, 2 doubles, run), Ryan Dubois (run), Zach Guptill (3 singles, 2 runs), Alex Berard (2 doubles, 2 runs), Trask (3 singles, run) and Taylor Roy (single, run).
For the Mariners, Caleb Jacob smashed a double and had an RBI, J.T. Tobin singled and pinch runner Riley Sprague scored the team's lone run.
Oceanside must have known it was in for a long afternoon after three points in the game did not end how the Mariners had envisioned. One came in the first inning when the lead batter walked and was picked off first base. Another came in the fourth when Mazurek led with a walk and Tobin flew out to the fence in center field and Mazurek was doubled off first base. Also, in the sixth, the Mariners loaded the bases and could not score.
All in all, it was a frustrating game for the hosts and an enjoyable experience for the visitors, who live to swing, pitch, throw and run another day.
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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