Deering's rally falls short against Massabesic

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Deering junior James Sinclair crushes a sixth inning home run during Saturday’s game against Massabesic. Despite Sinclair’s heroics, the Rams suffered their second loss in a row, 5-2.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

Massabesic 5 Deering 2

M- 230 000 0- 5 13 1
D- 000 002 0- 2 9 0

Top 1st
Coulombe singled to left, Bergeron scored. DeAngelis singled to left-center, Dyer scored.

Top 2nd
Dyer doubled to left-center, Roberts, Bergeron and Renaud scored. 

Bottom 6th
Sinclair homered to left-center, Sinclair scored. Dutton grounded out to second, Latini scored. 

Repeat hitters:
M- DeAngelis 3, Bergeron, Daigneault, Dyer, Renaud
D- Bernard, Todd, Westphal

Runs:
M-Bergeron 2, Dyer, Renaud, Roberts
D- Latini, Sinclair

RBI:
M- Dyer 3, Coulombe, DeAngelis 
D- Dutton, Sinclair

Doubles:
M- DeAngelis, Dyer
D- Todd

Triple:
M- Renaud

Home run:
D- Sinclair (1) 

Left on base:
M-10
D- 8

Gregoire, Bergeron (7) and Renaud; Bartell, Todd (6) and Minervino

M:
Gregoire (W, 1-1) 6.1 IP 9 H 2 R 2 ER 0 BB 4 K
Bergeron (Save, 1) 0.2 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K 

D:
Bartell (L, 1-1) 5 IP 11 H 5 R 5 ER 2 BB 3 K
Todd 2 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K 

Time: 1:40

PORTLAND—Deering’s baseball team rediscovered its offense Saturday morning at Hadlock Field, but it was too little, too late.

Hosting Massabesic, the Rams entered the contest not having scored a run in nine innings and when they fell behind, 5-0, after two frames, the mountain appeared too high to climb.

The Mustangs went up, 2-0, in the top of the first, thanks to RBI singles from senior second baseman Derek Coulombe and senior first baseman Adam DeAngelis.

Massabesic then extended its advantage to five in the second, when senior designated hitter Brandon Dyer crushed a two-out, three-run double.

Deering junior starting pitcher Riley Bartell didn’t allow another run, but his teammates weren’t able to get on the board, as five more scoreless innings extended the slump to 14.

Then, leading off the bottom of the sixth, Rams junior shortstop James Sinclair managed to do something rarely seen at the home of the Portland Sea Dogs, hit a home run over the fence, and that broke the spell. Deering added a second run on an RBI groundout from junior Orey Dutton, then got the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Sanford senior Weston Bergeron got the final two outs and the Spartans prevailed, 5-2, as they improved to 3-4 and dropped the Rams to 4-3 in the process.

“I thought from the third inning on, we hit the ball really well,” said Deering coach Josh Stowell. “We played a better game than they did after those first two innings. We just couldn’t quite get balls to fall in.”

Frustration

Deering dropped its opener, 9-2, to visiting Thornton Academy, then rattled off four straight victories: 4-1 at home over Windham, 2-1, thanks to a seventh inning rally, over visiting Biddeford, 4-2 at Bonny Eagle and 3-2 at Westbrook. Thursday, the Rams were blanked at Marshwood, 4-0.

Massabesic opened with a 3-0 home win over Gorham, then lost at Marshwood (6-1) and Windham (2-0) and at home to Portland (6-3), before squeaking past visiting Sanford (1-0). Thursday, the Mustangs were blanked by visiting Cheverus, 5-0.

Last spring, the teams played twice, as Massabesic won at home in the opener (5-3) and Deering repaid the favor on its home field (11-1, in six innings). 

Saturday, on another chilly (48 degrees) and windy day, the Mustangs got an early lead and held on late.

Massabesic came out hacking in the top of the first inning, as Bergeron, who began the contest at shortstop, lined the first pitch of the game up the middle for a single, senior leftfielder Tyus Sprague-Ripley flew out to center on the second pitch he saw and senior catcher Dawson Renaud lined the first pitch he saw to center for the second out. Dyer then showed that patience is a virtue by walking on four pitches. That set the stage for Coulombe, who lined a first-pitch single to left, scoring Bergeron for a 1-0 lead. DeAngelis added to the damage by ripping a single into the gap in left-center, scoring Dyer. Bartell escaped further damage by getting junior third baseman Ethan Daigneault to ground into a shortstop-to-second base force out.

In the bottom half, Mustangs sophomore starting pitcher Jake Gregoire made quick work of the Rams, getting senior leftfielder Ian Westphal to fly out deep to Sprague-Ripley in left, senior centerfielder Dom Bernard to loft a fly out to left, and Sinclair to look at strike three.

Massabesic returned to its aggressive ways in the top of the second, as Gregoire led off by grounding out to short on the first pitch. Sophomore rightfielder Simon Roberts grounded a full count single up the middle. Bergeron followed with a single to center and after Sprague-Ripley flew out to center, Renaud singled to left, loading the bases for Dyer, who fell behind 0-2, then crushed a Bartell offering deep to left-center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall for a double and all three runners scored easily. Coulombe grounded out to end it, but the Mustangs held a comfortable 5-0 lead.

In the bottom half, senior first baseman Jake Latini flew out to center and junior third baseman Spencer Todd popped out to second. Senior second baseman Pat Viola then grounded to Bergeron, whose throw appeared to pull DeAngelis off the bag at first, but Viola was called out to end the inning.

Or so we thought.

The umpires then discussed the play and the original call was overruled and Viola was safe at first on the throwing error, but Dutton, the designated hitter, struck out to officially end the frame.

Bartell walked DeAngelis to start the third. Daigneault followed with a single to center, but Gregoire struck out and Roberts popped out to short. That set the stage for Bergeron, who grounded a slow roller to third, which Todd managed to corral and despite stumbling, threw out the runner to end the frame.

In the bottom half, Deering finally got something going, but was left frustrated.

Senior catcher Luciano Minervino grounded out to short and Bartell struck out, but Westphal beat out a squibber down the third base line for an infield hit and Bernard followed with a sharp single into the hole between first and second, as Westphal took third. Then, Sinclair’s deep fly to right-center had just a little too much air under it and senior centerfielder Josh Daigle ran it down to retire the side.

Bartell had his best inning in the fourth, getting Sprague-Ripley to ground out to short, striking out Renaud and after Dyer singled to center, Bartell got Coulombe to ground to third, where Todd made a nice scoop before throwing across the diamond for out number three.

Deering again threatened in the bottom half, but couldn’t break through.

Latini grounded to short leading off, but Todd doubled into the gap in left-center. Viola ripped the next pitch, but it was right at Sprague-Ripley in left for the second out, and Dutton’s fly ball to left-center was caught by Sprague-Ripley as well to extend the Rams’ frustrations.

DeAngelis led off the fifth with a ringing double down the leftfield line. Daigneault singled sharply to left, with DeAngelis holding at third, but Massabesic couldn’t score.

After Gregoire flew out to shallow center with the runners holding, Roberts bounced back to the mound and with DeAngelis coming home, Bartell had an easy throw to Minervino for the out. Bergeron then struck out to end it.

Deering produced another two-out threat in the bottom half, as after Minervino grounded out to third (with DeAngelis making a nice scoop at first) and Bartell lined out to left, Westphal singled to left, but Bernard looked at strike three, making it 14 straight innings, or the equivalent of two games, without a run.

Todd replaced Bartell to start the sixth and got Sprague-Ripley to pop foul to Latini at first. Renaud then gave a pitch a ride all the way to the wall in left-center and he hustled all the way to third with a triple. Dyer looked to produce his fourth RBI, but his line drive was caught nicely by senior Mitchell York, who replaced Todd at third. Coulombe then popped to short to end the threat.

Deering’s drought ended with a bang, make that a big bang, in the sixth.

Sinclair led off and on a 3-1 pitch crushed a drive to deep left-center that carried over the Unum sign before bouncing back on to the field. Sinclair circled the bases and at last, the Rams were on the board.

“James is a guy who has some serious pop,” Stowell said. “He can swing the bat. He’s been in a bit of a funk. Hopefully that gets him going. It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen him do it in practice. Even before they changed to the new bats, I can’t remember the last time one got hit out of here.” 

The uprising continued, as Latini singled to left and Todd did the same, but Renaud made a nice play on Viola’s squibber in front of the plate, throwing him out at first, and after Dutton’s ground out to second scored Latini, Gregoire got Minervino to ground to first to end the inning with Deering still down by three.

In the top of the seventh, DeAngelis singled to left leading off, but Daigneault flew to left, Gregoire was out on a squibber in front of the plate and Roberts grounded to second.

Things got interesting in the bottom half.

Bartell led off and flared a single to right, but Westphal popped out to second. Bernard then lined a single to left, bringing Sinclair to the plate as the tying run.

Gregoire was replaced by Bergeron, who slammed the door, getting Sinclair to ground into a second-to-shortstop force out and Latini to ground out to Gregoire to short to end the game in 100 minutes flat.

Massabesic 5 Deering 2.

“We had our opportunities,” Stowell lamented. “The balls just didn’t find holes. Their leftfielder might be leading the league in putouts after today.”

The Mustangs’ offense was paced by DeAngelis, who had three hits. Bergeron, Daigneault, Dyer and Renaud all had two hits.

Bergeron scored twice, while Dyer, Renaud and Roberts also touched home.

Dyer drove in three runs, while Coulombe and DeAngelis also had RBI.

Massabesic could have won going away, but stranded 10 runners.

Gregoire evened his record at 1-1 after allowing two earned runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. Bergeron earned his first save by retiring both batters he faced.

For Deering, Bernard, Todd and Westphal all had two hits. Latini and Sinclair touched home and Dutton and Sinclair had RBI. The Rams couldn’t take advantage of several great opportunities, however. stranding eight runners.

Bartell fell to 1-1 after allowing five earned runs on 11 hits and two walks in five innings. He fanned two. 

“Riley’s going to compete,” Stowell said. “Even though he went down five runs, he’s got a lot of confidence and kept us in the game.”

Todd pitched two scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits.

Heavy lifting

Massabesic is back in action Tuesday, when South Portland pays a visit. Thursday, the Mustangs go to Scarborough.

Deering has a challenging upcoming stretch, which begins Tuesday when Scarborough (now led by former legendary Rams coach Mike D’Andrea) comes to Hadlock Field.

“It’ll be fun,” Stowell said. “(Coach D’Andrea will) have all kinds of tricks up his sleeve. He’ll find a way to have them in the best situation to win, so it’ll be interesting.”

The Rams are at South Portland Thursday and Gorham Saturday, then have a showdown with Portland May 19 and host Cheverus in a playoff rematch the following day.

“We have some tough games coming up, so we need to compete,” Stowell said. “We didn’t do that the first two innings today, then we turned it on. We have to keep that going because the schedule won’t get easier.”

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

Deering junior starter Riley Bartell delivers a strike.

Deering senior centerfielder Dom Bernard catches a fly ball.

Deering senior catcher Luciano Minervino tries to tag Massabesic’s Adam DeAngelis.

Deering junior shortstop James Sinclair fields a ground ball.

Deering senior Jake Latini greets junior James Sinclair at home plate after Sinclair’s home run.

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