Falmouth senior Max Fortier congratulates his teammates following Monday’s 2-0 win at Cape Elizabeth.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
F- 011 000 0- 2 6 1
CE- 000 000 0- 0 4 2
Cady lined to right, Gr. Aube scored.
Armitage singled to left, Ga. Aube scored.
F- Ga. Aube
F- Ga. Aube, Gr. Aube
F- Armitage, Cady
Left on base:
Guarino and G. Aube; Agrodnia, Peterson (7), Sullivan (7) and Tinsman
Guarino (W, 2-0) 7 IP 4 H 0 R 0 ER 1 BB 6 K 1 HBP
Agrodnia (L, 0-1) 6 IP 5 H 2 R 1 ER 2 BB 4 K
Peterson 0.2 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 2 K
Sullivan 0.1 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K
CAPE ELIZABETH—Though it has yet to play at home or in ideal conditions, Falmouth’s highly touted baseball team is off to an expected fast start this spring.
Monday afternoon at Holman Field, in their final visit as a member of the Western Maine Conference, the Yachtsmen did just enough with the bats and got yet another stellar pitching performance to improve to 3-0 on the young season.
Falmouth got the only run it would need in the top of the second inning, unearned, as senior rightfielder Marcus Cady hit a sacrifice fly to score junior first Griffin Aube for a 1-0 lead.
The Yachtsmen doubled their lead in the third inning, as after junior catcher Garret Aube singled and moved up on a ground out, senior shortstop Robbie Armitage cracked a single to left to make it 2-0.
Senior ace Cam Guarino did the rest, with a big assist from his defense, most notably junior third baseman Will Blum, who made a crucial lead-preserving play in the sixth inning, and Falmouth went on to a 2-0 victory, handing the Capers a loss in their opener.
“(Cape’s) a solid team,” said Yachtsmen coach Kevin Winship. “They’ll win a lot of games. Until we get into the groove, this is what will happen. We’ll have to manufacture runs. We’re trying to find ourselves offensively. It’s just taking a little time.”
Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth have done battle on the diamond for decades and as both programs have enjoyed tremendous success, they’ve produced some classic head-to-head memories over the years.
This season will be the final time the squads will play in a countable game for the foreseeable future, as Falmouth is leaving the Western Maine Conference for the Southwestern Maine Activities Association next school year (the Yachtsmen have played in Class A for the playoffs the past three seasons).
Heading into play Monday, since the start of the 2002 season, Falmouth had won 16 meetings and Cape Elizabeth 14 and the Yachtsmen had taken two of three postseason encounters in that stretch (see sidebar, below).
Both teams expect to play deep into June this spring.
The Yachtsmen, the defending Class A South champions, have already been anointed as the favorite by most pundits and opened with a 3-0 victory at Gray-New Gloucester (giving Winship his 100th win with the program) and a 12-2 triumph at Fryeburg Academy Saturday.
The Capers, who have gotten to the Class B South Final each of the past two seasons and are looking to get over the hump this year and win their first state title since 2004, were scheduled to open at Greely Friday, but rain moved the game to Saturday and poor field conditions forced it to be postponed again.
Monday, on a surprisingly pleasant 53-degree afternoon, Falmouth dug deep and won its 21st straight regular season contest.
The Yachtsmen went quietly in the top of the first inning against Cape Elizabeth junior pitcher Sean Agrodnia, as Garret Aube struck out swinging, senior second baseman Colin Coyne grounded out back to the mound and Armitage flew out to left.
In the bottom half, the Capers threatened, but couldn’t take the lead.
Junior catcher Brendan Tinsman led off by grounding out sharply to Armitage at short and senior second Pat Macdonald grounded back to Guarino, but senior third baseman Marshall Peterson walked and Agrodnia singled to center on a 3-2 pitch. Guarino then got out of the jam by getting junior third baseman Carson Sullivan to fly harmlessly to left.
Falmouth then took the lead in the top of the second.
Senior centerfielder Max Fortier grounded out to second, but Griffin Aube lined a single to left and Blum walked. Guarino then hit a foul pop fly that Sullivan dropped, allowing Guarino to stay at the plate. Guarino then grounded to Macdonald at second, but he bobbled the ball, loading the bases. That brought up Cady, who lined to right. Junior rightfielder Jack Glanville caught the ball for the out, but Griffin Aube raced home for the game’s first run.
“We had an injury during warmups,” Winship said. “(Sophomore) Garrett Tracy hurt him arm. Marcus Cady stepped in and got that sacrifice fly. He took advantage of his opportunity.”
Junior leftfielder Will Bopp looked at strike three, but the Yachtsmen were on top to stay.
Glanville led off the bottom of the second by looking at strike three and junior designated hitter Ryan Weare grounded out to first. Senior centerfielder Bretton McAlister followed with a single to center, but sophomore leftfielder Garrett Mello struck out to end the frame.
In the top of the third, Falmouth pushed across another run.
Garrett Aube led off by beating out a slow grounder to shortstop for an infield hit. He moved up when Coyne grounded out to third and Armitage followed with a single over the head of Sullivan at third and Aube raced home to make it 2-0. Armitage was caught stealing by Tinsman with a strong throw to junior shortstop Finn Bowe and Fortier lined out to Peterson at third to end the inning.
In the bottom half, Tinsman grounded out to Armitage, Macdonald flew deep to left and Peterson struck out.
Agrodnia retired the first two hitters he faced in the top of the fourth, as Griffin Aube grounded out to short and Blum bounced out to second. After Guarino singled to right, Cady lined out to short for the third out.
Guarino remained in command in the bottom half, getting Agrodnia to bounce back to the mound, fanning junior pinch-hitter Val Murphy and getting Glanville to ground back to the mound.
Bopp and Garret Aube started the top of the fifth by grounding out to third. Coyne drew a walk, but Armitage grounded into a force out to end the frame.
In the bottom half, Weare led off with a slow roller up the third base line, but Blum pounced on it and threw him out on a close play. That loomed large, as McAlister followed with a single to center. Falmouth’s defense then came up big, as Mello grounded to Coyne, who threw to Armitage for a force out and Armitage threw on to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
The Yachtsmen had a chance to add to their lead in the top of the sixth when Fortier led off with a single to left on a full count pitch, but Agrodnia struck out Griffin Aube looking and fanned Blum swinging, then got Guarino to ground out to second.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Capers had their best threat of the game, but Falmouth made key play when it had to.
Tinsman led off by ripping a double down the leftfield line. When Griffin Aube couldn’t handle Macdonald’s grounder, Cape Elizabeth had the tying runs on, but Peterson grounded back to Guarino, who forced Tinsman at third, then Agrodnia grounded out to Blum, whose low throw to first was dug out by Griffin Aube for the second out. Sullivan then hit a slow grounder to Blum, who handled it cleanly before delivering a pinpoint throw to first to retire the side.
“This was my first start, but I wasn’t really nervous,” said Blum. “Coach told me to make the routine plays and that’s what I tried to do. That was a tough play, but I tried to focus and get the ball in my glove, try not to drop it, and make a good throw.”
“Will had to step up and make those plays,” said Guarino. “I trust my defense a lot to make the plays.”
“Will Blum had been DHing and we decided to give him a shot at third and he came up with what I’d say were two game-saving plays,” Winship said. “He was huge defensively. He was ready.”
“That was the first time we had a leadoff batter on day, but we couldn’t make a play,” lamented Cape Elizabeth coach Andy Wood. “That could have changed the ballgame, but that’s the way it goes. Their third baseman made two great plays.”
Agrodnia was replaced by Peterson to start the seventh and Peterson, the Capers’ ace who is seeing limited time in the early going with the hopes he’ll be able to handle a heavier load later in the season, dazzled by fanning Cady swinging and Bopp looking.
Wood then brought on Sullivan to get the final out of the inning and after Garret Aube singled to right-center, Coyne flew deep to center.
Guarino then slammed the door, even if he did let one pitch get away.
Glanville struck out leading off, but Guarino then hit Weare on the knee. He quickly bounced back by fanning McAlister looking and getting Mello to ground out to first to end it, bringing the curtain down on Falmouth’s 2-0 victory.
“We had to come ready and we got the runs we needed,” Winship said.
Guarino improved to 2-0 by throwing a four-hit shutout. He walked just one batter, hit another and struck out six.
“I felt pretty good,” Guarino said. “I felt like I was on point. It wasn’t a bone-chilling cold. My hands stayed warm and dry and that helped me throw strikes.”
“(Cam’s) great. He doesn’t overthrow,” Blum said. “It’s good to have that as a fielder.”
“Cam is a competitor,” Winship added. “We comes ready to pitch and you had better be ready to hit because he brings his best stuff.”
Falmouth got a pair of hits from Garret Aube and runs from Garret and Griffin Aube. Armitage and Cady had RBI. The Yachtsmen stranded six base runners.
Cape Elizabeth got two hits from McAlister and an extra base hit from Tinsman, but stranded five runners.
Agrodnia was the tough-luck loser, falling to 0-1, after giving up two runs (just one earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out four.
“Our pitcher threw great for his first time out,” Wood said. “He’ll probably be our go-to guy until Marshall comes back.”
“We tip our cap to him,” said Winship. “He did a great job. He kept our guys off balance. He threw his breaking ball for strikes. We had some bad swings out there. Seeing a guy like him really hurt.”
Peterson struck out both batters he faced.
“We just wanted to give him a little work,” Wood said. “He threw 11 pitches and struck out two guys.”
Sullivan allowed one hit in his 0.1 inning of work.
“I think we competed,” Wood said. “(Falmouth) already had their feet wet.”
Friday, Falmouth will get to play a countable game on its home field for the first time since beating Portland June 11 of last year in the Class A South semifinals when it welcomes Kennebunk.
“There’s been a lot of talk about us going back to the state championship, but we’ll just focus game by game,” Blum said.
Cape Elizabeth is scheduled to play at Greely Tuesday, but that game is in jeopardy with predicted bad weather, as will be the case with the Capers’ home tilt versus Poland Wednesday. Friday, Fryeburg Academy pays a visit.
“It’s fun playing games every day instead of going to practice,” Wood said.
Monday, Cape Elizabeth plays at Falmouth in the final countable meeting between the schools.
“Facing Marshall pretty much every time we’ve played was a challenge,” Guarino said. “I’ll miss that. Cape was a fun game to play every time.”
“It was nice to end here on a sunny day when the wind wasn’t howling,” Winship said. “We’ve had some big wins and some tough losses here.”
“There are only so many games you get up for during a season and (Falmouth) games are always fun to play,” Wood said.
Falmouth senior Cam Guarino delivers a strike. Guarino threw his second complete game shutout of the season.
Cape Elizabeth junior pitcher Sean Agrodnia shows his form. Agrodnia only allowed one earned run, but took the loss.
Cape Elizabeth senior centerfielder Bretton McAlister lines one of his two hits.
Cape Elizabeth junior shortstop Finn Bowe tags out Falmouth senior Robbie Armitage on a steal attempt.
After recording a force out on Cape Elizabeth senior Bretton McAlister, Falmouth senior shortstop Robbie Armitage throws on to first to complete a double play.
Falmouth senior third baseman Will Blum makes the throw to first to end the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ Falmouth 6
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Falmouth 1
Falmouth 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Falmouth 10 Cape Elizabeth 0 (5)
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 4 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 10 Cape Elizabeth 5
Falmouth 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 2
Western B Final
Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0 (8)
Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Falmouth 2
Falmouth 8 @ Cape Elizabeth 3
Western B quarterfinals
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Falmouth 2
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Falmouth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 1
Cape Elizabeth 4 @ Falmouth 2
@ Falmouth 8 Cape Elizabeth 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 7 Falmouth 2
@ Falmouth 8 Cape Elizabeth 4
Falmouth 8 @ Cape Elizabeth 2
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Falmouth 3
@ Falmouth 10 Cape Elizabeth 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Falmouth 0
Cape Elizabeth 7 @ Falmouth 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 1 (5)
@ Falmouth 6 Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 13 Falmouth 3 (5)
@ Falmouth 11 Cape Elizabeth 10
Western B SW Divisional prelim
Cape Elizabeth 7 @ Falmouth 4