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Falmouth junior Colin Coyne, left, and senior Connor Aube celebrate one of the Yachtsmen’s runs during Monday’s 5-1 victory at Yarmouth. Falmouth improved to 11-0.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
F- 200 300 0- 5 9 2
Y- 100 000 0- 1 6 2
Coyne singled to center, C. Aube and Ro. Armitage scored.
Klenda grounded out to first, Cawley scored.
Melchiskey and Tracy scored on error. Ro. Armitage singled to center, C. Aube scored.
F-Ro. Armitage 3, C. Aube, Coyne
Y- Harnett, O’Donnell
F- C. Aube 2, Ro. Armitage, Melchiskey, Tracy
F- Coyne 2, Ro. Armitage
F- C. Aube
Left on base:
Guarino and Ga. Aube; Klenda and Snyder
Guarino (W, 5-0) 7 IP 6 H 1 R 0 ER 2 BB 5 K
Klenda (L, 2-1) 7 IP 9 H 5 R 4 ER 2 BB 4 K
YARMOUTH—Falmouth’s baseball team is relaxed and confident and why shouldn’t it be?
The Yachtsmen have had no peer this spring when it comes to consistent excellence and that was once more on display Monday afternoon at rival Yarmouth.
Falmouth got all the runs it would need when junior second baseman Colin Coyne hit a two-run single in the top of the first inning against Clippers senior starter Luke Klenda.
While Yachtsmen junior ace Cam Guarino gave a run back in the bottom half, when Klenda’s ground ball plated senior rightfielder C.J. Cawley, Falmouth got some breathing room in the fourth, when two runs scored on an error and junior shortstop Robbie Armitage added an RBI single.
Guarino did the rest, scattering six hits, and the Yachtsmen went on to a 5-1 victory.
Guarino improved to 5-0, Armitage had three hits and Falmouth improved to 11-0, handed Yarmouth its third straight loss and dropped to Clippers to 6-3-1 in the process.
“The chemistry on the team is great,” said Yachtsmen coach Kevin Winship. “When you’re winning, everyone’s happy, but we talk about keeping it loose and having fun and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
In a year of superb play from local baseball teams, Falmouth and Yarmouth have been nearly flawless.
The Yachtsmen rode their dominant pitching staff, powerful hitting, speed on the bases and steady defense to an undefeated start. After starting with a 14-0, five-inning home win over Poland in a game which saw Guarino throw a no-hitter. Falmouth beat host Kennebunk, 5-3, won at Cape Elizabeth (8-2), downed visiting Freeport (11-2), mercy ruled host Fryeburg Academy (16-0, behind Max Fortier’s no-hitter), then shut out host Gray-New Gloucester, 7-0, beat visiting Greely (5-2), won at Lake Region (12-6) and Poland (18-1, in five-innings) and downed visiting Wells Friday, 9-3.
The Clippers had to go nine innings to take the opener at Wells, 4-2, then won at home over Freeport (4-1) and Fryeburg Academy (9-0) and at Gray-New Gloucester (8-5). After settling for a 4-4 tie at Greely, Yarmouth won, 9-7, at Lake Region and downed visiting Poland, 13-3. The Clippers hit a rough stretch last week, letting a seventh inning lead slip away in an 8-7, 10-inning home loss to Wells and failing to score in a 1-0 home setback to York.
Entering play Monday, since the start of the 2002 season, Falmouth had won 16 of 26 meetings (see sidebar below). Last year, each team won at home (the Clippers by a 5-3 margin and the Yachtsmen in a romp, 11-1).
This time around, with the wind gusting over 20 miles per hour at times, Falmouth took care of business yet again.
Senior centerfielder Connor Aube led off hitting the ball under the glove of Yarmouth senior third baseman Joe DeFusco and when the ball died in shallow leftfield, Aube raced into second with a hustle double to set the table. Leftfielder Tyler Gee grounded back to the mound, but Robbie Armitage blooped a single to center (Aube had to hold at second). Junior rightfielder Reece Armitage then grounded the ball to Clippers senior second baseman Andrew Kinsman, who bobbled the ball for an error, loading the bases.
That brought up Coyne, who jumped on Klenda’s first pitch and lined a single to left, scoring Aube and Robbie Armitage for a 2-0 lead.
“When they make an error or a mistake, we jump on it every time,” Guarino said.
Third baseman Chris Camelio struck out swinging and first baseman Jesse Melchiskey grounded out back to the mound, but the damage had been done.
Yarmouth made some noise in its half of the inning.
Senior first baseman Conor O’Donnell led off with a solid single to center. After Cawley grounded into a force out, junior leftfielder Gibson Harnett singled to center and senior catcher Jack Snyder reached on a Coyne error to load the bases.
While Falmouth got the big hit after an error, the Clippers weren’t able to do the same.
Klenda did score Cawley with a soft grounder to first to cut the deficit to 2-1, but with runners at second and third, DeFusco grounded back to Guarino to end the threat.
Designated hitter Hogan Tracy started the second with a ground out to short and sophomore catcher Garrett Aube bounced back to the mound, but Connor Aube singled off DeFusco’s glove to keep the inning alive. Klenda then slammed the door by getting Gee to pop out to third.
Guarino made quick work of the Clippers in the bottom half, getting Kinsman to pop out to short, catching junior shortstop Chris Romano looking at strike three, then fanning senior designated hitter Tyler Waaler swinging.
Robbie Armitage led off the third with an infield single, but he was caught stealing. Reece Armitage looked at strike three, but Coyne singled to left. Camelio then grounded out to short to end the inning.
Guarino continued to befuddle Yarmouth in the bottom half, fanning O’Donnell, getting Cawley to look at strike three, then getting Harnett to ground out to short.
Falmouth then got some breathing room in the fourth.
Melchiskey led off and beat out a chopper to third. Tracy lined a single to left and Garrett Aube moved the runners up with a nicely executed sacrifice bunt. Connor Aube was walked intentionally and when Klenda got Gee to ground to Kinsman, the Clippers had a chance to turn a double play and escape the jam, but Kinsman couldn’t handle to ball, Melchiskey scored easily on the play and when the ball got away from Kinsman for an error, Tracy came home too to make it 4-1. Robbie Armitage then lined a shot past Klenda up the middle to score Connor Aube. After Reece Armitage grounded out to O’Donnell unassisted, Coyne walked to reload the bases, but Camelio popped out to second to keep the score 5-1.
The Clippers threatened to cut into the deficit in the bottom half, but were left frustrated.
Snyder reached when his grounder to Robbie Armitage resulted in a low throw and an error. Klenda flew out to center, but DeFusco walked to put runners at first and second.
That set the tone for the bittersweet return of senior Cody Cook, the standout who suffered a knee injury in the football regional final, ultimately missed the state game, all of basketball season and the first nine games of baseball before he was cleared to return.
Cook made solid contact in his first at-bat of the season, but his ground ball was hit sharply to Robbie Armitage at short, who atoned for his previous error by stepping on second for one out, then throwing to Cook to complete the inning-ending double play.
“I just wanted to get a ground ball,” said Guarino. “I rely on Robbie to get me those double plays.”
Despite the double play, Cook’s return was a highlight.
“Even against the toughest pitcher we’ll face all year, (Cody) came in and hit the ball hard up the middle,” said Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted. “He wasn’t fast down the line, but he wasn’t slow. We’ve got options with him, but I’m going to be more cautious than he wants me to be. He’s been a freak in rehabbing. It’s huge emotionally getting him back. No matter what he does in the dugout being positive and energetic, he can’t make as positive an impact as he does in the field. He’s such a wonderful human being. He lifts people up.”
Klenda was sharp in the fifth, getting Melchiskey to ground to third, fanning Tracy and inducing a soft grounder to first off the bat of Garrett Aube.
In the bottom half, Romano grounded out to second, Waaler bounced out to short and after O’Donnell singled down the rightfield line, Guarino struck out Cawley.
The Yachtsmen went quietly in the top of the sixth, as Connor Aube flew to right, Gee grounded out to the pitcher and Robbie Armitage lined to right.
Yarmouth threatened in the bottom half, as Harnett singled to center and after Snyder grounded into a force out, Klenda singled off Melchiskey’s glove to put runners at first and second. The Clippers weren’t able to take advantage, however, as DeFusco flew to right and junior pinch-hitter John Thoma grounded into a Coyne-to-Robbie Armitage force out.
Klenda made quick work of Falmouth in the seventh, striking out Reece Armitage, getting Coyne to fly to left and Camelio to bounce back to the mound.
Yarmouth made some more noise in the bottom half, but ultimately couldn’t rally.
Romano led off by flying to center. Senior centerfielder Noah Pellerin beat out a bunt single and after O’Donnell hit into a force out, Cawley walked. Harnett had a chance to keep the game alive and bring the potential tying run to the plate, but he grounded out to Camelio, who stepped on third to end the contest in a tidy hour and 33 minutes as the Yachtsmen prevailed, 5-1.
“Right now, for us it’s just hitting, staying focused and staying relaxed, which is really key,” Robbie Armitage said. “A lot of teams we see are really serious, but we stay relaxed in practice and in games.”
“We just have really good team chemistry,” Guarino said. “We’re always having fun and laughing on the bench.”
“It was nice to see Klenda on the mound,” Winship added. “He mixed his curveball and fastball. We wanted to have quality at-bats. Seeing a pitcher like that was great for us.”
Guarino continued to stake his claim as one of the state’s finest hurlers, impressing the scouts from St. Anselm College and St. Joseph’s College who were on hand, improving to 5-0 by allowing one unearned run on six hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.
“It was a little windy and it made it so I couldn’t grip the ball that well, but no complaints,” Guarino said. “Every game, my goal is to go all seven innings. I don’t want anyone else to throw.”
“Honestly, we can get one run and (Cam would) be fine,” Robbie Armitage said. “He’s so calm and composed. It’s good to have him on the mound. He’ll get a ground ball or strike someone out. If we make an error, he’ll come right back.”
“Cam’s just a complete pitcher,” Winship added. “He keeps everybody off balance. We got him a few runs and we think we have a good chance of winning. He hasn’t given up an earned run all year. He just battles. He was a little jittery there a few batters, but when he needs a strike, he throws one. He doesn’t back down. Yarmouth is a very aggressive team. When they get guys on, it makes you nervous because you don’t know what they’ll do, but Cam really negated that and slowed them down.”
The offense was paced by three hits, a run scored and an RBI from Robbie Armitage.
“Klenda’s probably the best pitcher we’ve seen,” Armitage said. “He’s got a nice curveball. We just hunted the fastball early and often. We had a good approach at the plate and stayed positive.”
“I can’t say enough about Robbie this year,” said Winship. “He’s crushing the ball. He’s having a career year. Having him in the middle of the diamond, he’s just solid.”
Connor Aube had two hits and scored twice and Coyne also had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Melchiskey and Tracy scored the other runs.
Falmouth stranded seven runners.
Yarmouth got two hits apiece from Harnett and O’Donnell, a run from Cawley and an RBI from Klenda, but the Clippers left eight runners on base.
“On Friday, our compete level wasn’t very good,” Halsted said. “We had leadoff runners on in four of seven innings and first and second with no one out in two innings. Today, we came out against one of the better pitchers we’ll face all year, we got baserunners, our lefty leadoff guy had two hits and our junior leftfielder had two hits and we competed, but we made errors and didn’t get to balls we should have gotten to. This could have easily been a 2-1, 3-1 game where a couple sac bunts would have had us in it. We had no running game down 5-1 against a lefty who works runners effectively. We weren’t able to do what we needed to do.”
Klenda fell to 2-1 after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out four.
“They didn’t hit rockets into the gap,” Halsted said. “I think (Falmouth’s) one of the best teams in Class A, but I’m happy with how Luke competed. He located his curveball.”
Yarmouth (now sixth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) has four tough road tests in succession. After playing at Kennebunk Wednesday, the Clippers go to Cape Elizabeth Friday, Falmouth Monday of next week and Poland two days later. Home games versus Gray-New Gloucester and Cape Elizabeth finish the regular season.
“We’re loose and charismatic and excited no matter what,” Halsted said. “I’m not worried about us mentally. It’s taking care of foolish mistakes and making the decision to be locked in from pitch one. If we do, we’ll be fine.”
Falmouth (first in Class A South), conversely, will play mostly at home to finish up. After welcoming York Wednesday, the Yachtsmen will be tested at Greely Friday. Home tilts versus Yarmouth, Kennebunk and Gray-New Gloucester close the schedule.
“We’re just trying to get a first round bye and keep playing our best baseball,” said Robbie Armitage. “We’ll get on the train, keep it going and see how far we can go.”
“We’d like to finish in the top four,” said Winship. “A bye is a huge advantage. Playing home or away doesn’t bother me.”
Falmouth junior ace Cam Guarino shows his form. Guarino improved to 5-0 by allowing just one run on six hits.
Falmouth junior shortstop Robbie Armitage lines an RBI single in the fourth inning. Armitage had three hits on the day.
Yarmouth senior third baseman Joe DeFusco catches a pop fly.
Falmouth sophomore Garrett Aube successfully lays down a sacrifice bunt.
Falmouth first baseman Jesse Melchiskey makes contact.
Yarmouth senior third baseman Joe DeFusco barehands a ground ball.
Falmouth junior shortstop Robbie Armitage fields a ground ball.
@ Yarmouth 5 Falmouth 3
@ Falmouth 11 Yarmouth 1
@ Falmouth 12 Yarmouth 2
Falmouth 5 @ Yarmouth 4
@ Falmouth 4 Yarmouth 1
@ Yarmouth 6 Falmouth 3
Yarmouth 7 @ Falmouth 5
Falmouth 9 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Yarmouth 13 Falmouth 5
Yarmouth 5 @ Falmouth 2
Falmouth 3 @ Yarmouth 2
@ Falmouth 8 Yarmouth 7
@ Falmouth 9 Yarmouth 8
@ Yarmouth 4 Falmouth 3
Falmouth 8 @ Yarmouth 5
@ Falmouth 9 Yarmouth 2
Yarmouth 9 @ Falmouth 5
Falmouth 14 @ Yarmouth 1 (5 innings)
@ Yarmouth 2 Falmouth 0
Falmouth 6 @ Yarmouth 5
@ Falmouth 9 Yarmouth 8
@ Yarmouth 8 Falmouth 2
Falmouth 6 @ Yarmouth 3
@ Falmouth 10 Yarmouth 4