Last spring, the Falmouth baseball team made history, winning the Class B state championship for the first time.
Leading the way was the left arm of Thomas Fortier, who blanked Morse in the semifinals, then shut out Foxcroft Academy in the state game, performances which led to him being chosen Falmouth’s Spring Male Athlete of the Year.
A new season began Wednesday for Fortier and the Yachtsmen and if anyone wondered if they were capable of raising the bar, the answer was a resounding yes.
Not only did Fortier pitch Falmouth to a 2-0 win at Cape Elizabeth, in a rematch of last year’s palpitating regional final, but he did so without allowing a single hit.
“I was just feeling it,” said Fortier, who did walk four hitters. “The game just flew by. It was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. My fastball was working and my curve too. It was all there.”
Due to an earlier postponement, it was the Yachtsmen’s first countable game and did Fortier even make it count, a feat which didn’t exactly surprise Falmouth coach Kevin Winship.
“(Thomas) had a great performance in Florida (during our vacation week trip),” Winship said. “He allowed just one hit in the last game. I thought he pitched great (against Cape). He seemed to hit the inside corner really well. His breaking ball was sharp. He threw strikes got ahead of hitters and kept them off-balance. Overall, it was another great performance. He’s coming off a great season. He and (pitching coach Craig Pendleton) have worked really hard to make him of the best pitchers around.”
Fortier admitted that he was aware of not having given up a hit early in the game.
“I thought about it a little bit in the third or fourth inning,” he said. “I told myself not to think about it.”
Classmate Drew Proctor broke the ice and alleviated the pressure a bit late in the contest.
“The final inning was hard,” Fortier said. “I was rattled, but I heard Proctor say that if I threw a no-hitter, they all had to jump on me.”
Fittingly, Fortier had to retire Cape Elizabeth senior Sam Kozlowski to end it.
Last June, it was Kozlowski who no-hit Falmouth in the regional final, but he was the hard luck loser.
Kozlowski was no match for Fortier, who struck him out to end it.
“It was an inside fastball, swinging strike three,” Fortier said.
The Yachtsmen, who have become no strangers to celebratory pigpiles over the past year, then engaged in another.
As good as Fortier was in 2012, he feels he’s even better this spring.
“Last year, I was more lucky than skilled,” Fortier said. “This year, I have a lot more command and I’m a lot faster.”
Fortier, who will attend local power St. Joseph’s College next year, expects to start again Monday at home versus Gray-New Gloucester.
There’s still a long season ahead, but it appears Falmouth has the pieces in place to produce memories again.
Well, Fortier hasn’t yet thrown a perfect game.
Just something to think about.
Falmouth senior ace Thomas Fortier picked right up where he left off last spring, throwing a no-hitter in his first start Wednesday, beating Cape Elizabeth, 2-0.