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Greely junior Jake MacDonald (7) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the first run of Monday’s 8-0 victory at Cape Elizabeth.
John Ewing / Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
G- 200 140 1- 8 8 1
CE- 000 000 0- 0 5 2
MacDonald stole home. Nolin doubled to center, Lyman scored.
Wyman scored on wild pitch.
Whiting doubled to center, McFarland and Nolin scored. Whiting scored on an error. Walker scored on wild pitch.
Cimino scored on Williams’ ground out.
G- Cimino, Lyden, MacDonald, McFarland, Nolin, Walker, Whiting, Wyman
G- Whiting 2, Nolin, Williams
G- Cimino, MacDonald, Nolin, Whiting
CE- Concannon, Tinsman
G- McFarland, Wyman 2, Lyden, MacDonald, Nolin, Walker
Left on base:
Sullivan and Smith; Smith, MacKenzie (4), Lee (5), Bakke (7) and Tinsman.
Sullivan (W, 2-0) 7 IP 5 H 0 R 0 BB 11 K 1 HBP 1 WP
Smith (L, 0-1) 3 IP 6 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 3 K
* MacKenzie 1+ IP 1 H 4 R 3 ER 6 BB 0 K 2 WP
Lee 2 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 3 K
Bakke 1 IP 0 H 1 R 1 ER 3 BB 0 K 2 WP
MacKenzie faced five batters in the fifth.
CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s Holman Field hasn’t always been kind to Greely’s baseball team, but the Rangers enjoyed their two visits a year ago and Monday afternoon, despite challenging weather conditions, the Rangers again got the best of their rival.
After a frustrating preseason which saw Greely unable to play a single scrimmage, the Rangers continued their fast regular season start, thanks to a gem from senior ace Connor Sullivan, aggressive base-running and timely hitting.
Junior leftfielder Jake MacDonald scored on a double steal and sophomore rightfielder Brady Nolin hit an RBI double to make it 2-0 Greely after one half-inning.
After Sullivan escaped a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first, then got out of a runner-at-third-no-out situation in the third, the Rangers tacked on a run in the top of the fourth, as senior centerfielder Evan Wyman, walked, stole second, moved up on a passed ball, then scored on a wild pitch.
Greely broke it open in the fifth, as senior third baseman Jacob Whiting hit a two-run double, Whiting scored on an error and senior junior pinch-runner Rick Walker came home on a wild pitch for a 7-0 advantage.
Senior first baseman Joe Cimino then scored a final run in the seventh, on freshman Brooks Williams’ RBI ground ball, and Sullivan slammed the door from there, going the distance to lead the Rangers to an 8-0 victory.
Nolin had two hits and an RBI, Whiting drove in a pair of runs and Sullivan allowed just five hits and no walks, while striking out 11, as Greely improved to 2-0, dropping Cape Elizabeth to 0-2 in the process.
“The coaches really do a good job getting us ready,” said Sullivan. “They tell us no matter what to be ready to play. It was really good to play today. It’s always a battle at Cape.”
Entering play Monday, the teams had met 40 times since the start of the 2002 season, with each winning on 20 occasions (see sidebar, below). Seven of those contests, including one last year, came in the playoffs.
The most recent encounter saw Greely ended higher-seeded Cape Elizabeth’s season a year ago, 8-2, in the Class B South semifinals.
The Rangers went on to play in the Class B South Final, but lost to Wells.
This year, each team has a new look, but remains confident that they’ll make another run at the top spot in the region.
Cape Elizabeth, under new coach Glenn Reeves, opened with a 3-2 home loss to Lake Region, while Greely started with a 9-2 “home” win over Fryeburg Academy, in a game played at Old Orchard Beach.
For much of the day Monday, it wasn’t a certainty that the game would be played, as rain was forecast around the time it was due to begin, but the powers that be elected to play ball and despite some intermittent rain during the first half of the game, Greely was happy to play and made the most of its opportunity to get back on the field.
“We are thrilled just to get a game in and to be on a baseball field,” said longtime Rangers coach Derek Soule. “We’re 0-for-7 (trying to play) scrimmage games. We didn’t have one. We haven’t set foot on our Greely Road field because it hasn’t been playable. Not one practice. We’ve used part of our Middle School field, our parking lot and our gym, so we’re thrilled to play.”
MacDonald got things started by ripping the second pitch from Cape Elizabeth freshman starter Colin Smith to deep centerfield for a double.
Senior second baseman Will Lyden followed with a single to center to put runners at the corners and after Smith caught junior shortstop Nick Butler looking at strike three, with Sullivan at the plate, Lyden took off and stole second and on the throw down, MacDonald raced home for a 1-0 lead.
After Sullivan grounded out to shortstop, with Lyden taking third, Nolin crushed a pitch off the base off the centerfield wall for another double and Lyden scored easily to make it 2-0.
Whiting popped out to first, but Greely had the jump.
“Our guys came out swinging early on,” said Soule. “I thought we should have scored more runs, but I was a little conservative because they were locked in and I was playing for a big inning. They were chomping at the bit just get to get out of the gym and parking lot. Some years, that would be a major issue, but because of our experience, we were ready to roll.”
Sullivan then worked out of a serious jam in the bottom half.
After centerfielder Mike MacKenzie led off with a single to center, second baseman Sean O’Sullivan looked at strike three. Third baseman Jameson Bakke followed with a ground ball to the hole between short and third which he beat out for an infield single. Sullivan got catcher Jake Tinsman to fly out to left, but he hit first baseman Ryan Oberholtzer with a pitch to load the bases for shortstop Will Altenburg. Sullivan then caught Altenburg looking at strike three to escape.
Smith allowed a leadoff double to center off the bat of Cimino to start the top of the second, but he got designated hitter Max Cloutier to line back to the mound and after Wyman beat out an infield single and stole second and MacDonald walked to load the bases, he caught Lyden looking at strike three and got Butler to ground into a force out to end the frame.
In the bottom half, Sullivan settled in and got Smith to look at strike three, rightfielder Luke Stephen to line out to short and leftfielder Cole Hoffman to ground out to first.
Sullivan struck out looking leading off the top of the third. After Nolin beat out an infield single through the hole, then went to second on Hoffman’s throwing error, Whiting grounded out to first and Cimino popped out to short to keep the score 2-0.
The Capers appeared primed to rally when MacKenzie led off the bottom of the third with a double to center when Wyman slipped trying to run it down and he was wild pitched to third, but Sullivan got O’Sullivan to pop out to short before fanning Bakke and Tinsman to get out of harm’s way again.
“We squandered some opportunities,” lamented Reeves. “We had bases loaded and couldn’t get them in. We had a runner at third with no out one other time and couldn’t get him in either. If you want to win, you have to score.”
Greely tacked on a run in the top of the fourth after MacKenzie came on to relieve Smith.
Cloutier bounced out to third, but Wyman walked, stole second and after MacDonald flew out to left, Wyman moved to third on a passed ball and with Lyden at the plate, a wild pitch scored the run. Lyden walked and stole second, but Butler lined out to third to keep the Rangers’ lead at 3-0.
Sullivan got Oberholtzer to pop out to second leading off the bottom half of the fourth and after Altenburg reached on an error by Lyden, Sullivan got new centerfielder Liam Concannon to chase strike three and Stephen to ground back to the mound.
Greely then ended all doubt in the top of the fifth, with a four-run uprising.
Sullivan got things started by drawing a walk, then junior pinch-runner Harry McFarland stole second. After Nolin walked, McFarland and Nolin executed a double steal which was followed by Whiting doubling over Concannon’s head in center, scoring two runs in the process. Whiting moved to third on a wild pitch, then after Cimino walked, he was pinch-run for by junior Rick Walker. Walker stole second and on the play, Tinsman’s throw got away for an error, allowing Whiting to score and Walker to take third. With Cloutier at the plate, MacKenzie threw a wild pitch and Walker scored for a 7-0 lead.
Cloutier eventually walked and MacKenzie was replaced by Aidan Lee, who fanned Wyman, got MacDonald to fly out deep to right and got Lyden to foul out to Tinsman to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lee led off with a single to left, but Sullivan fanned MacKenzie looking, got Ted Choi to chase strike three and got Bakke to ground out to second.
Lee was sharp in the top of the sixth, fanning Butler looking and after Sullivan singled to center, Lee got Nolin to chase strike three and junior pinch-hitter Ben Rosenthal to ground out to third.
Tinsman led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to deep left, but Sullivan fanned the side, getting Oberholtzer, Altenburg and Concannon to all chase strike three.
The Rangers added a final run in the top of the seventh off Bakke, who took over on the mound.
Cimino drew a walk leading off, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground out by freshman pinch-hitter Ryan Kolben and scored when Williams bounced out to third. MacDonald and Lyden kept the inning alive with walks, but Butler flew out to center to end it.
Sullivan wasted no time bringing the game to its conclusion in the bottom of the seventh, getting Stephen to ground out to second, Lee to bounce out to short, then MacKenzie to pop out to short to bring the curtain down on Greely’s 8-0 victory in exactly two hours.
Sullivan was superb, allowing five hits and no walks in seven innings. He hit a batter and threw a wild pitch, but struck out 11, as he improved to 2-0 on the young season.
“Having a lead really takes pressure off a pitcher,” said Sullivan. “(The conditions weren’t) too bad. I’ve dealt with a lot of situations like this. You just have to embrace it. My curve ball really worked today, even with the weather.”
“Connor is an experienced pitcher,” Soule said. “He has the experience and composure to deal with a slick mound and wet balls and to adjust to that and not get overwhelmed. You could see him feeling that out the first couple of innings. That’s an experienced pitcher for you. Once he found his comfort zone on the mound, where he had to start on the pitching rubber and where he had to land, he found a rhythm. That was the difference.”
The Rangers’ offense was paced by two hits from Nolin. Cimino, Lyden, MacDonald, McFarland, Nolin, Walker, Whiting and Wyman all scored runs. Whiting had two RBI, while Nolin and Williams finished with once apiece.
Greely had four doubles and stole eight bases (McFarland and Wyman had two apiece).
The Rangers stranded 10 runners.
Cape Elizabeth got doubles from Concannon and Tinsman, but stranded seven on the basepaths.
Smith (0-1) took the loss, allowing two earned runs on six hits in three innings. He walked one and struck out three.
“We’re young pitching,” Reeves said. “We threw a freshman out there and he did a great job with three solid innings.”
MacKenzie went one-plus inning, giving up four runs (three earned) on one. He walked six and threw a pair of wild pitches.
Lee didn’t allow a run in two innings of relief. He allowed a hit and fanned three.
Bakke’s one inning of work saw him give up an earned run. He didn’t allow a hit, but he walked three and threw two wild pitches.
Cape Elizabeth returns to action Friday at Fryeburg Academy, when it tries again for its first victory.
“Things are going well,” said Reeves. “We’re better this week than last week. That will be the plan all year, get better week-to-week and see where we are in June. We’ll have to find some guys to pitch. We’re getting some JV guys some experience and we’ll utilize guys toward the end of year.”
Greely goes to Yarmouth Wednesday and finally plays at home Friday when Gray-New Gloucester pays a visit.
“I think we can be really good this year,” Sullivan said.
“It’s a good group,” Soule said. “They’re fun, they work hard, they have great attitudes. I’m looking forward to being out on the diamond for a couple months to come with this group of guys.”
Greely senior ace Connor Sullivan throws a strike. Sullivan went the distance and scattered five hits in a shutout effort. Sullivan struck out 11.
Cape Elizabeth freshman starter Colin Smith prepares to deliver a pitch.
Greely junior shortstop Nick Butler catches a line drive.
Cape Elizabeth shortstop Will Altenburg catches a pop-up.
Cape Elizabeth’s Mike MacKenzie slides into second base as Greely shortstop Nick Butler takes the throw.
Greely senior Joe Cimino gets back to second base before Cape Elizabeth shortstop Will Altenburg after Altenburg catches a line drive.
Cape Elizabeth 4 @ Greely 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1 (8)
Class B South quarterfinals
@ Cape Elizabeth 5 Greely 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Greely 0
@ Greely 8 Cape Elizabeth 4
Greely 5 @ Cape Elizabeth 4
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 0
Western B Final
Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 1 (8)
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 1
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (8)
@ Cape Elizabeth 6 Greely 4
@ Greely 8 Cape Elizabeth 0
Western B quarterfinals
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ Greely 6
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Greely 4 (9)
Cape Elizabeth 7 Greely 4 (@ OOB)
@ Cape Elizabeth 6 Greely 5
Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 2
Western B semifianls
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Greely 3 (8)
Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Greely 3
Western B semifinals
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (10)
Cape Elizabeth 6 @ Greely 1
Greely 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 5
@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Greely 7 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Greely 3
@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 11 Cape Elizabeth 10
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 4 Greely 1
@ Greely 7 Cape Elizabeth 6
Greely 8 @ Cape Elizabeth 4
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 7 Cape Elizabeth 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Greely 0
@ Greely 13 Cape Elizabeth 3 (5)