Falmouth's rally falls short against TA

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Falmouth freshman pitcher Dom Tracy delivers to Thornton Academy’s Cam Seymour during the Golden Trojans’ 3-2 victory Monday.

BOX SCORE

Thornton Academy 3 Falmouth 2

TA- 300 000 0- 3 4 1
F- 020 000 0- 2 2 1

Top 1st
Smith reached on infield single, Chessie scored. Christoforo bounced out to first, Bowker scored. Cross singled to center, Smith scored.

Bottom 2nd
S. Kidder scored on error. Quinn singled to right, G. Tracy scored.

Multiple hits:
TA- Cross

Runs:
TA- Bowker, Chessie, Smith
F- S. Kidder, G. Tracy

RBI:
TA- Christoforo, Cross, Smith
F- Quinn

Doubles:
TA- Bowker, Cross

Stolen bases:
TA- Reny, Smith
F- Kiely, Quinn

Left on base:
TA- 4
F- 4

Chessie, Griffin (3), Seymour (7) and Seymour and Christoforo (7); D. Tracy and Kiely

TA:
Chessie 2.2 IP 2 H 2 R 1 ER 2 BB 6 K
Griffin (W, 4-0) 3.1 IP 1 H o R 2 BB 2 K 1 HBP
Seymour (Save, 12) 1 IP 0 H 0 R 1 BB 3 K

F:
D. Tracy (L, 0-1) 7 IP 4 H 3 R 3 ER 3 BB 0 K 

Time: 1:34

FALMOUTH—A quick start proved to be just enough to get Thornton Academy’s baseball team in the win column Saturday at Falmouth.

In the Golden Trojans’ regular season finale, they took a 3-0 first inning lead behind an infield single, an RBI ground out and a clutch two-out single from senior rightfielder Cameron Cross.

Yachtsmen freshmen starter Dom Tracy then settled down and retired 15 batters in a row and his teammates got back in the game.

In the bottom of the second, Falmouth got on the board after an error, then pulled within one when junior designated hitter Jackson Quinn hit an RBI single.

The Yachtsmen weren’t able to produce the tying run, however, as they bunted into a double play in the sixth inning with runners at the corners and senior Luke Chessie, junior Nick Griffin and senior Cam Seymour combined to give Thornton Academy a 3-2 victory.

The Golden Trojans won their eighth game in a row, finished the regular season 14-2 and in the process, dropped Falmouth to 8-6.

“I didn’t think it would end the way that it did the way the game started for us, but we made it interesting,” said Yachtsmen coach Kevin Winship.

Beautiful day

Each team has been in contention all year in a deep and balanced Class A South.

The Yachtsmen started with a 2-0 loss at Portland, then dropped a 9-4 home decision to Windham and lost, 2-0, at South Portland, before getting in the win column at Massabesic, 10-0, in six-innings. Falmouth followed that up by edging visiting Deering (2-1), downing host Marshwood (7-3) and outlasting visiting Gorham in 12-innings, 2-1. After letting a late lead slip away in an 8-3, eight-inning home loss to Scarborough, the Yachtsmen bounced back and downed host Westbrook (13-6) and Biddeford (8-0). Last week, Falmouth lost, 8-7, at Cheverus, then downed visiting Bonny Eagle (3-1) and Sanford (15-0, in five-innings, behind senior Garrett Tracy’s no-hitter). 

Thornton Academy won its first three outings, 5-2 at Gorham, 7-4 at home over Marshwood and 4-1 at Noble before falling at home, 1-0, to Kennebunk. After a 4-2 win at Portland, the Golden Trojans defeated visiting Deering (5-3) and edged visiting Cheverus (9-8) before falling at South Portland, 11-1. Thornton Academy then downed visiting Bonny Eagle (10-8), host Massabesic (14-4), visiting Westbrook (6-4), visiting Scarborough (5-4), host Sanford (13-3), host Windham (4-2) and visiting Biddeford (8-5).

Last year, in the teams’ lone prior countable meeting, Thornton Academy prevailed, 6-4, in Saco.

Monday, on a Chamber of Commerce holiday morning/afternoon (72 degrees at first pitch), the Golden Trojans did just enough to win again.

Chessie got things off to an auspicious start for Thornton Academy, getting Tracy to throw him ball four on a full count pitch. Freshman centerfielder Cody Bowker then lined a double down the leftfield line to put two runners in scoring position. Tracy got Seymour, who began the game at catcher, to pop out to short, but senior shortstop Tim Smith hit a little cue ball down the first base line, which barely stayed fair, and Smith reached on an infield single, scoring Chessie and putting runners at the corners. Smith immediately stole second and senior designated hitter Calvin Christoforo followed with a ground ball out to first, but Bowker came home to score on the play and Smith took third. Cross then came up with a clutch two-out single to center and Smith came home to make it 3-0. Tracy got senior first baseman Toby Pydych to fly out deep to right for the final out, but the damage was done.

Chessie was dominant in the bottom of the first, catching freshman second baseman Brady Coyne looking at strike three, fanning junior shortstop Connor Coffin on an off-speed pitch, then getting junior catcher Ike Kiely to chase a 3-2 pitch to end the frame.

Tracy began the top of the second by walking junior third baseman Joe Reny on a 3-2 pitch, a walk which brought Winship out to the mound.

“(Dom) struggled a little bit in the first inning with his command,” Winship said. “I went out there and I told him it wasn’t the sixth inning, just the second, and to settle down and to just throw strikes.”

Tracy then got junior second baseman Christopher Balzano to pop out to left, Chessie to hit into a second-to-shortstop force out and Bowker to ground out to third.

The Yachtsmen then got right back in the game in the bottom of the second.

Sophomore centerfielder Sam Kidder got things started by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Garrett Tracy, the rightfielder, then singled to right to put runners at the corners. Senior first baseman Sam Manganello looked at strike three, but with Quinn at the plate, Chessie tried to pick off Tracy and threw wildly, allowing Kidder to score Falmouth’s first run and Tracy to move all the way to third base. Quinn then hit a sharp grounder past Balzano to cut the deficit to one. Quinn stole second and moved to third when junior third baseman Josh Lefevre grounded out to short, but he’d be stranded as sophomore leftfielder Gus Ford bounced out to second, keeping the score 3-2.

And that’s how things would remain, even though there were still five innings to play.

Dom Tracy set Thornton Academy down quickly in the top of the third, getting Seymour to line to right, Smith to ground out to second and Christoforo to ground out to short.

In the bottom of the third, Chessie caught Coyne looking at strike three, then fired strike three past Coffin, but Kiely kept the inning alive with a walk and Chessie’s day was done, as he was replaced by junior Nick Griffin.

“I’ve tried not to overwork Luke,” said Thornton Academy coach Jason Lariviere. “He pitched Thursday. We need him in the playoffs.”

With Kidder at the plate, Kiely stole second and Kidder drew a walk, but Kiely tried to steal third and was gunned down by Seymour to end the threat.

In the top of the fourth, Dom Tracy got Cross to bounce out to second, Pydych to fly to left and Reny to pop out to short.

Griffin made quick work of the Yachtsmen in the bottom half, as Garrett Tracy swung at the first pitch and lined out to center, Manganello grounded out to second and Quinn did the same.

Dom Tracy remained in control in the fifth, getting Balzano to ground out to second, Chessie to pop out to Kiely and Bowker to line out deep to left.

In the bottom half, Griffin struck out Lefevre, got Ford to ground out to short and got Coyne to watch strike three.

Dom Tracy kept the deficit at one in the top of the sixth, as he induced Seymour to line out to short, Smith to line out to right and Christoforo to fly to center.

Falmouth then had a great chance to pull even in the bottom of the frame, but ran itself out of it.

Coffin led off with a slow roller to short, where Smith threw him out. Kiely then took a 2-2 pitch off his back, putting the tying run on. Kiely stole second and when Seymour’s throw was wild, Kiely went to third. Kidder drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, setting the stage for Garrett Tracy. Tracy then tried to lay down a bunt with Kidder on the move, but Griffin did a nice job coming off the mound to catch the ball just inches off the ground, then he easily doubled off Kidder to end the frame.

“I thought we were just going to let Sam steal the base, but I changed my mind and then we had a mis-communication on the signs,” Winship said. “I take responsibility for that. It happens. Their pitcher made a great diving play.”

“I knew (Falmouth) may do some untraditional stuff.,” Lariviere said. “We were lucky how that turned out.”

Cross led off the seventh with a double to deep left and moved up to third when Ford juggled the ball for an error, ending Dom Tracy’s string of 15 straight batters retired. Cross would be stranded, however, as Pydych lined out to second and after Reny walked and stole second, Balzano lined out to shallow center and Chessie hit a fly ball to center for the final out.

The Yachtsmen would again put the tying run on in the bottom of the seventh and again, couldn’t bring him home.

Seymour came on to close and promptly caught Manganello looking at strike three, before blowing strike three past Quinn. Lefevre drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to keep hope alive, but Ford watched strike three and the Golden Trojans had a 3-2 victory in 1 hour, 34 minutes.

“We battled,” said Lariviere. “You’ll have games where things don’t go your way. Give their pitcher credit. He threw strikes and kept us off balance.” 

Griffin earned the win in relief, allowing just one hit and two walks in 3.1 shutout innings. He fanned two and hit a batter.

“Nick came in and did a really good job,” Lariviere said. “He let them hit it and we played great defense.”

Chessie gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in 2.2 innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Seymour walked one and struck out the side in his one inning as he earned his 12th save of the year.

“We feel like if have a lead in the sixth or seventh, with Cam coming on, there’s a good chance we’ll win the game,” Lariviere said.

Cross paced the offense with two hits and an RBI.

Bowker, Chessie and Smith all scored runs and Christoforo and Smith also had RBI.

Reny and Smith stole bases.

Thornton Academy stranded four runners.

For Falmouth, Dom Tracy was the hard-luck loser, as he allowed just three runs on four hits in a complete game effort. Tracy walked three.

“You have to tip your cap to Dom,” Winship said. “He’s a freshman who didn’t know he’d get the ball until just before the game. He settled down and I thought he pitched a great game and gave us an opportunity to win.”

Kidder and Garrett Tracy scored the Falmouth runs, while Quinn had an RBI.

Kiely and Quinn stole bases.

The Yachtsmen stranded four baserunners.

“I didn’t want to see Seymour in the end,” Winship said. “If we scored in the sixth, we’d have gotten away from seeing him. He came in and shut the door.”

Time to get serious

Thornton Academy projects to be the No. 2 seed in the Class A South tournament and will host a quarterfinal Thursday of next week against a foe to be determined.

“It’s anyone’s league,” said Lariviere. “I’m glad we get a first-round bye. We could have two home games, then if we’re lucky to get to the regional final, it’s at a neutral site. We’ll try to keep the kids focused. We’ve hit really well all year, which puts pressure on defenses. Our pitching staff is very good. We play good defense too.”

Falmouth (currently ranked eighth in Class A South) plays at Kennebunk Tuesday and closes the regular season at home with a makeup game versus Noble Wednesday.

“I think we’re in (the playoffs),” Winship said. “We’re just trying to move up. We just want to get in. We’ve played all the top teams tough. We might be able to repeat what we did last year (when we made it to the semifinals).”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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