Cape realizes error of its ways, bounces back to down Wells

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Cape Elizabeth senior pitcher Nate Ingalls throws the final pitch in Saturday’s 5-2 home win over Wells.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 5 Wells 2

W- 110 000 0- 2 3 1
CE- 301 100 x- 5 7 2

Top 1st
L. Bell scored on error.

Bottom 1st
Roberts singled to left, Ingalls scored. Roberts and Peterson scored on error.

Top 2nd
Bridge grounded out to first, Ramsey scored.

Bottom 3rd
Peterson scored on Agrodnia squeeze bunt.

Bottom 4th
Roberts hit sacrifice fly to center, Ingalls scored. 

Repeat hitter:
CE- Tinsman

Runs:
W- L. Bell, Ramsey
CE- Ingalls, Peterson 2, Roberts

RBI:
W- Bridge
CE- Roberts 2, Agrodnia

Doubles:
W- C. Bell
CE- Tinsman

Left on base:
W- 3
CE- 5

C. Bell, Cody Cousins (4) and Wrigley; Ingalls and Tinsman

W:
C. Bell (W, 3-1) 3 IP 5 H 4 R 2 ER 0 BB 2 K 1 WP 1 HBP
Cody Cousins 3 IP 2 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 3 K 

CE:
Ingalls (W, 4-1) 7 IP 3 H 2 R 1 ER 3 BB 3 K 1 HBP 

Time: 1:27

CAPE ELIZABETH—Less than 24 hours after three errors cost Cape Elizabeth’s baseball team mightily in a loss at rival Greely, the Capers’ defense continued to struggle at the onset of Saturday afternoon’s Senior Day home tilt versus Wells at Holman Field.

After consecutive errors allowed the first two Warriors to reach base, Cape Elizabeth coach Andy Wood had to resort to desperate measures and mid-inning, he moved five different players to new spots.

The unorthodox move paid immediate dividends when new shortstop, sophomore Finn Bowe, started a double play, and while a run scored, order had been restored. 

In the bottom of the inning, the Capers got their bats going, as senior centerfielder Dylan Roberts hit a game-tying RBI single and two more runs scored on a Wells error.

The Warriors got a run back in the second, but Cape Elizabeth senior starter Nate Ingalls was fully in command from then on.

The Capers got some breathing room in the third, when designated hitter Sean Agrodnia executed a perfect squeeze bunt to score junior third baseman Marshall Peterson.

In the fourth, Roberts’ sacrifice fly brought home Ingalls for a three-run lead.

From there, Ingalls and his defense slammed the door and Cape Elizabeth got back on track with a 5-2 victory.

Ingalls allowed just three hits in earning his fourth victory, sophomore catcher Brendan Tinsman had two hits, Ingalls and Peterson both drove in two runs and the Capers improved to 11-4, dropped the Warriors to 7-8 and handed them their fourth successive defeat in the process.

“I have a lot of confidence in this team,” Roberts said. “We’ve played well all year. We’ve had some tough losses, but if we play our ‘A’ game, we can beat anyone.” 

Interchangeable parts

Wells has been very competitive this spring, especially against the traditional powers. The Warriors opened with a 4-2 (nine-inning) home loss to Yarmouth, then handled visiting Fryeburg Academy (9-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (8-0). After a 4-3 loss at Greely, Wells held off visiting Lake Region and Poland by identical 3-2 scores, then rallied for a dramatic 8-7, 10-inning win at Yarmouth. The Warriors then lost at York (4-3) and at home to Falmouth (9-3) before downing visiting Kennebunk (9-3) and Cape Elizabeth (3-2). Wells then ran into a tough patch, losing at Freeport (8-2), at home to Greely (2-1) and at Traip Academy (3-2).

The Capers, meanwhile, opened by defeating visiting Kennebunk, 6-1, then rolled to a 16-4, six-inning victory at York. After committing eight errors and falling at home to Falmouth, 8-2, Cape Elizabeth downed host Kennebunk (6-3, in 10 innings), Freeport (10-0), Fryeburg Academy (6-2) and Gray-New Gloucester (3-1) and beat visiting Greely (1-0), Lake Region (10-0, in five innings) and Poland (11-1), before losing at Wells (3-2). After a 3-1 home win over Yarmouth, the Capers stumbled at home against York (6-3) and lost at Greely (8-4).

In the May 18 meeting, Ingalls and Tinsman both had three hits and Cape Elizabeth managed 10 hits overall, but Warriors pitcher Charlie Bell found a way to prevail.

Bell started again Saturday and got an early lead.

Wells appeared destined to post a crooked number when both shortstop Liam Bell and Charlie Bell reached on errors by junior Pat Macdonald, who started the game at shortstop.

After the second error put runners at the corners, Wood was forced to act.

Wood sent Macdonald to left, sophomore second baseman Finn Bowe moved to short, senior third baseman Matt Riggle went from third to second, Peterson moved from first to third and senior leftfielder Bryce Hewitt came to first base.

“After the feeling of yesterday’s game, then having it happen again, I had to make the decision to do it,” Wood said. ‘I’m lucky to have guys who can go in and get the job done without practicing in that spot.”

Wells first baseman Cam Cousins then naturally hit a ground ball right at the new shortstop, Bowe, who fielded it and threw to Riggle for one out before Riggle threw on to first for a double play. Liam Bell scored for a 1-0 Warriors’ lead, but momentum had turned.

“I was warned (the change) might happen,” Bowe said. “It was pretty weird, but I’m used to playing shortstop. It’s just a bit of a longer throw, but I adjusted pretty well. Double plays are always big to shift momentum. That helped us.” 

“I just had to keep throwing strikes,” Ingalls said. “I tried not to think about it, since everybody has played every position this year. I felt comfortable. The double play settled us down.”

“As a senior, I try to tell everyone to forget about making errors,” Roberts said. “We had to put them behind us and play our game.” 

“Finn made the coaching staff look brilliant,” Wood added. “That was huge.”

Centerfielder Cody Cousins grounded to short to end the frame.

Cape Elizabeth roared right back in its half of the first.

Ingalls was plunked by a Bell off-speed pitch to get the rally started. Tinsman then lined a single to right-center to put runners at the corners. That brought up Roberts, who promptly tied the score with an RBI single to left. Peterson grounded to short, where Liam Bell made a nice throw to third baseman Andrew Skeats for a forceout, but Riggle singled to right to load the bases for Macdonald.

Macdonald hit a sharp grounder to Skeats, but he couldn’t handle it and both Roberts and Peterson came home for a 3-1 lead.

Agrodnia flew out to right and senior rightfielder Jack O’Rourke struck out looking to end the frame.

“Yesterday, Greely capitalized, so today, getting out of this first inning with just one run, then getting our bats going felt good,” Ingalls said. “That turned the momentum. It’s a lot easier to pitch with a lead than being down.” 

Wells kept the pressure on in the top of the second.

Second baseman Shawn Ramsey drew a walk leading off and moved to second when leftfielder Tim Barnard grounded out to second. That brought up rightfielder Nick Cousins, who singled off Bowe’s glove to put runners at the corners. Catcher Michael Wrigley was hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up designated hitter Tyler Bridge, who hit a grounder to first. Hewitt recorded the out, but Ramsey scored to cut the deficit to one. Liam Bell looked to continue the inning, but he hit a pop foul that Hewitt ran down for the third which kept the score 3-2.

Charlie Bell gave up an opposite field single to Hewitt leading off the bottom half of the second, but Ingalls flew out to left, Tinsman struck out swinging and Roberts grounded out to third to end the frame.

Ingalls settled down in the third, fanning Charlie Bell looking, getting Cam Cousins to fly out to right and Cody Cousins to hit a fly ball down the rightfield line which O’Rourke caught on the run in foul territory.

The Capers added to the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Peterson led off with a ringing single to left on the first pitch and Bell wild pitched him to second. Riggle then hit a grounder to Liam Bell at short and Bell tried to nail Peterson at third, but his throw was too late and the hosts had runners at the corners. Macdonald popped out to second, but Agrodnia came through, nicely laying down a bunt and while Bell threw to second for the force out, Peterson scored for a 4-2 advantage. O’Rourke popped out foul to the pitcher to end the frame.

Ramsey led off the fourth with a single to center, but Ingalls induced a Riggle-to-Bowe-to-Hewitt double play grounder and got Nick Cousins to fly out foul down the rightfield line with O’Rourke again making a nice running grab.

Cape Elizabeth kept the offensive pressure on in the bottom half against Cody Cousins, who replaced Charlie Bell on the hill.

Hewitt fanned leading off, but Ingalls reached out and poked a single to left, the opposite field. Tinsman then doubled down the leftfield line. That brought up Roberts, who hit a deep fly ball to center and Ingalls came home with another run.

“Guys always seem to get on and I try to get them in,” Roberts said.

Peterson struck out, but the Capers took a 5-2 lead to the fifth.

There, Ingalls made quick work of the Warriors, getting Wrigley to ground out to short and after walking Bridge, getting Liam Bell to ground up the middle, where Bowe fielded the ball, stepped on second base and threw on to first for another double play to end the frame.

Riggle lined out to first to start the bottom half, Macdonald was out on a slow roller to third and senior pinch-hitter Matt O’Neill lined out to second.

Wells threatened in the sixth, getting the tying run to the plate, but the uprising went for naught.

Charlie Bell led off with a double over Macdonald’s head in left. Cam Cousins grounded out to second, putting Bell at third base. Cody Cousins walked, but after Ramsey fouled out to Tinsman, Tinsman picked off Cody Cousins for the third out.

The Capers didn’t score in the bottom half, but there was a highlight moment.

O’Rourke struck out swinging and Hewitt was out Wrigley-to-Cam Cousins on a squibber in front of the plate.

Wood then gave Ingalls’ at-bat to senior Roman Medina, the team’s manager and stat man extraordinaire. Cody Cousins gave Medina something to hit and he bounced back to the mound, but the result of the at-bat was secondary.

“In my three years here, seeing Roman come up to bat, that was the best thing I’ve seen,” Wood said. “For their pitcher to let him make contact, that was a classy move. It was special. (Roman) loves keeping stats. He’s a special guy and we love having him around.”

Ingalls then came back out and slammed the door in the seventh.

After getting Jordan Cluff to fly to center, Ingalls fanned pinch-hitter Matt Morrero swinging and got pinch-hitter Ryan Sousa to look at strike three to end it in 1 hour, 27 minutes.

“It feels good to get the win on Senior Day,” Ingalls said. “It was awesome to see everyone play.”

Ingalls improved to 4-1 after surrendering two runs (one earned) on three hits in seven innings. Ingalls walked three, hit a batter and struck out three.

“I’ve been working on my change-up,” Ingalls said. “When you don’t have a change-up against good hitters, they can sit on your fastball, so having that was nice.” 

“Every time Nate is on the mound, I feel confident,” Roberts said. “I have trust in him.”

“Nate was solid,” Wood added. “For a senior to come out on Senior Day and want the ball like that, that was huge.”

Offensively, the Capers got two hits from Tinsman. Ingalls and Peterson both scored twice and Roberts also touched home. Roberts had two RBI and Agrodnia drove in a run.

Cape Elizabeth stranded five runners.

Wells got runs from Liam Bell and Ramsey and an RBI from Bridge. The Warriors left three runners on base.

Charlie Bell took the loss and dropped to 3-1 after giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits in three innings. He hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and fanned two. Cody Cousins gave up one earned run on two hits in three innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. 

Number one again

Wells was eighth in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time and needs to win at Kennebunk Wednesday to secure a home playoff game.

Cape Elizabeth, which closes at Yarmouth Tuesday, projects to the be the top seed in Class B South for the second year in a row. 

This time around, the Capers look to finish what last year’s squad (which dropped a painful extra inning regional final decision to eventual champion Greely) started.

“We still think about last year’s loss,” Roberts said. “We’re feeling good.” 

“I feel great,” Ingalls said. “The issues we’ve had are easy fixes.”

“I think it’s a mental thing,” Bowe said. “It’s important to be confident. If we can get our defense locked down for playoffs, I think we’ll be fine. We’d love to finish up with a win. That would be great for confidence.”

“I believe we’ll jump into first, I don’t think anybody can catch us,” Wood added. “We have the pitching and catching to do it. We’re excited.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth senior first baseman Bryce Hewitt tags out Wells’ Cody Cousins after Cousins strays too far off the bag.

Cape Elizabeth senior Matt Riggle turns a double play.

Cape Elizabeth junior Pat Macdonald makes contact.

Cape Elizabeth senior rightfielder Jack O’Rourke makes a running catch in foul ground.

In the feel-good moment of Saturday’s game, Cape Elizabeth senior Roman Medina, the team’s manager and statistician, pinch-hits in the sixth inning and makes contact.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.