Scarborough finds a way to win again, downs Massabesic

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Scarborough junior Tim Carion is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the game’s first run during Thursday’s 4-3 victory over Massabesic.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

Scarborough 4 Massabesic 3

M- 003 000 0- 3 8 3
S- 200 011 x- 4 9 1

Bottom 1st
Reed doubled to right, Carion scored. Kelly reached on infield single, Reed scored.

Top 3rd
Renaud singled to center, Roberts scored. Sprague-Ripley scored on error. Coulombe doubled to right-center,  Renaud scored.

Bottom 5th
Kelly singled to center, Lomontague scored.

Bottom 6th
Lorello singled to right, Welsh scored. 

Repeat hitters:
M- Renaud, Sprague-Ripley 
S- Kelly, Welsh

Runs:
M- Renaud, Roberts, Sprague-Ripley
S- Carion, Lomontague, Reed, Welsh

RBI:
M- Coulombe, Renaud
S- Kelley 2, Lorello, Reed

Doubles:
M- Coulombe, Dyer
S- Reed

Stolen bases:
M- Gullikson, Roberts, Sprague-Ripley
S- Carion, Kelly

Left on base:
M- 3
S- 6

Dyer, Gregoire (6) and Renaud; Wedge and Welsh

M:
Dyer (L, 1-3) 5.2 IP 9 H 4 R 2 ER 2 BB 2 K
Gregoire 0.1 IP 0 H 0 R

S:
Wedge (W, 3-1) 7 IP 8 H 3 R 3 ER  0 BB 5 K 

Time: 1:43

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s baseball team is no longer a mirage or a fluke.

The Red Storm are pretty darn good and if the rest of league is smart, it will take them seriously as we roll into the second half of the 2016 campaign.

Scarborough, which has responded to legendary coach Mike D’Andrea even better than anyone expected, found yet another way to win a down-to-the-final-out contest Thursday evening against visiting Massabesic at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, as the team’s highwire act continued.

The Red Storm took a 2-0 first inning lead when senior first baseman Josh Reed continued his recent torrid hitting with an RBI double, then scored on an infield single by sophomore rightfielder Connor Kelly.

Scarborough senior Mitchell Wedge walked a tightrope most of the night, but did surrender three runs in the third, as the Mustangs got RBI hits from senior catcher Dawson Renaud and senior second baseman Derek Coulombe and scored another run on an error for a 3-2 lead.

The Red Storm, who have already won two extra inning contests this spring, didn’t fold and pulled even in the fifth, when Kelly produced a clutch two-out, RBI single to score pinch-runner Nolan Lomontague.

In the bottom of the sixth, senior catcher Bayley Welsh singled leading off, moved to second base with two outs and that set the stage for senior shortstop Nick Lorello to play the hero.

Lorello, who failed to produce with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, lined a single down the rightfield line to score Welsh and Scarborough was back in the lead.

That left it up to Wedge to close it out and despite some anxious moments in the seventh, he did just that, stranding the tying run at second and the Red Storm held on for a 4-3 victory.

Kelly and Welsh had multiple hits, Wedge went the distance, scattering eight hits and Scarborough improved to a surprising 7-1, dropping Massabesic to 3-6 in the process.

“We’re pleased to be 7-1, but we also realize we could be 3-5,” D’Andrea said. “The one-run wins could go the other way, but we’re starting to believe a little bit.” 

D’Andrea Magic

Scarborough also won seven games last year, but failed to qualify for the playoffs.

This spring, the addition of D’Andrea, who coached some of the finest players the state has produced during a dominant stint at Deering which resulted in seven state titles in a 10-year span between 1999 and 2008, has reinvigorated the program.

“(Coach has) been tremendous,” Lorello said. “I learn so much every day. It’s great having him.” 

The Red Storm opened with wins over host Sanford (8-3), visiting Noble (15-1, in five innings), host Marshwood (4-2), visiting Windham (2-1, in eight innings) and host Biddeford (4-3, in 11 innings). Scarborough finally suffered a loss Saturday, falling at home to Bonny Eagle, 3-1, but bounced back Tuesday to win at Deering, 7-1

Massabesic opened with a 3-0 home win over Gorham, then lost at Marshwood (6-1) and Windham (2-0) and at home to Portland (6-3), before squeaking past visiting Sanford (1-0). After losing at home to Cheverus, 5-0, the Mustangs won at Deering (5-2) and Tuesday lost a mercy rule 16-4 decision to defending Western A champion South Portland.

Last spring, Scarborough won, 4-0, at Massabesic.

Thursday evening, under 64-degree skies, at least at first pitch, the Red Storm continued to figure out a way to prevail.

Wedge worked out of trouble in the top of the first.

Mustangs senior third baseman Weston Bergeron grounded out to third to start the game, but senior leftfielder Tyus Sprague-Ripley beat out an infield single to shortstop and Renaud lined a single to center. Wedge then threw to sophomore second baseman Morgan Pratt to pick off Sprague-Ripley, but Massabesic senior pitcher Brandon Dyer doubled off senior third baseman Matt Caron’s glove to put runners at second and third. That left it up to Coulombe, who grounded out to short to end the threat.

In the bottom half, the Red Storm scored twice.

Lorello popped out to the catcher and Caron grounded out to short, but junior centerfielder Tim Carion got the uprising started with a single to right, then stole second. Reed, who had a big game against Deering Tuesday, picked up where he left off with a double down the rightfield line to score Carion and when the ball was misplayed by sophomore rightfielder Simon Roberts, Reed took third. Kelly then grounded an infield single to hole between short and third and Reed scored for a 2-0 lead. Pratt flew out to right to end the frame.

Wedge was sharp in the top of the second, getting senior first baseman Adam DeAngelis to ground out to Reed at first, junior designated hitter Ethan Daigneault to bounce out to second and sophomore shortstop Jake Gregoire to chase strike three.

The Red Storm couldn’t add to their lead in the bottom half, as Welsh flew to right and after senior designated hitter Jack Hughes blooped a single to center and senior leftfielder John Timpson walked, Dyer escaped by getting Lorello to ground the ball up the middle where Coulombe grabbed it, stepped on second for a force, then threw on to first to complete the double play.

Massabesic had its one strong offensive inning in the third.

Roberts got things started with a single off Reed’s glove. Bergeron struck out swinging, but after Roberts stole second, Sprague-Ripley beat out a squibber, putting runners at the corners. Sprague-Ripley then stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Renaud singled to center to score Roberts to cut the deficit to 2-1. When Wedge tried to pick Renaud off and threw the ball away for an error, Sprague-Ripley came home to tie the score and Renaud took second base. Wedge battled back to fan Dyer, but Coulombe laced a double to right-center to score Renaud for a 3-2 lead. Coulombe was caught stealing, but the damage was done.

Scarborough tried to answer in its half of the third, but after a single up the middle from Caron, Carion bounced out to the pitcher with Caron taking second, Reed lined out to second and Caron was doubled off, ending the threat.

Wedge returned to form in the fourth, getting DeAngelis to chase strike three, Daigneault to look at strike three and Gregoire to ground out to short.

The Red Storm then had a golden opportunity to put up a crooked number in the bottom half, but they squandered it.

Kelly lined out to shortstop, but Pratt reached on an error by Gregoire. Welsh followed with a single and Hughes walked to load the bases. Timpson couldn’t deliver a run, however, as he popped out to third and Lorello grounded out meekly to DeAngelis at first to strand three runners.

He would get another chance, however.

Wedge continued to mow down the Mustangs in the fifth, getting Roberts to line out to left, Bergeron to ground out to third and Sprague-Ripley to bounce out to short.

Scarborough did manage to push across the tying run in the bottom half.

After Caron popped out foul to Renaud, who made a nice catch near the backstop, and Carion grounded out to second. Reed reached when his grounder to third was thrown away by Bergeron. Lomontague came on to run and run he did after Kelly singled up the middle, sending Lomontague home to tie the game, 3-3. Kelly stole second and got into scoring position, but Pratt struck out to keep the game deadlocked.

Wedge had another strong inning in the sixth, getting Renaud to ground out to third, Dyer to also ground out to third and Coulombe to bounce out to short.

The Red Storm then got the key hit in the bottom half to retake the lead.

Welsh got things started by lining a single off Coulombe’s glove. Hughes struck out swinging, but Timpson’s slow ground out back to the mound put Welsh in scoring position.

After failing to deliver a key hit with the bases loaded two innings prior, Lorello came to the plate with a second life and wasn’t to be denied, lining a shot down the rightfield line for a single which easily scored Welsh for a 4-3 lead.

“I knew I had to come up with a big hit after what I did so far,” Lorello said. “I was looking for a pitch middle-in. I got it and I hit it and got Bayley in.”

“I’m proud of Nick for stepping in there after he left the bases loaded,” D’Andrea said. “He took advantage of another opportunity.”

That ended Dyer’s evening and he was replaced by Gregoire, who didn’t even have to retire a batter, as Lorello was caught stealing.

Massabesic wouldn’t go quietly in the seventh, but Wedge slammed the door.

Wedge started the frame by getting DeAngelis to line out to short and after falling behind Daigneault, 3-0, he got him to ground back to the mound, making it 11 straight batters retired, but Gregoire’s squibber in front of the plate wasn’t reached in time by Welsh and Gregoire was safe at first with an infield single. Gregoire was replaced by senior Ryan Gullikson, who stole second, and the tying run was in scoring position.

He would stay there, as Wedge got Roberts to hit a ground ball to Lorello at short and after driving in the go-ahead run, Lorello made sure to record the final assist, as his throw to first retired Roberts and in an exciting 1 hour, 43 minutes, Scarborough had a 4-3 victory.

“I was just focusing on the batter,” Wedge said. “I just wanted to get him out. It felt great. It was a lot of pressure off our shoulders.”

“Tough innings happen in baseball,” D’Andrea said. “I was hoping we were over the hump, but I’m happy with how we bounced back. The guys were resilient. The rest of the guys did their job.”

The Red Storm’s offense featured two hits apiece from Kelly and Welsh, runs from Carion, Lomontague, Reed and Welsh, two RBI from Kelly and one apiece from Lorello and Reed and stolen bases from Carion and Kelly.

“Josh delivered for us again in the 4 hole and Connor had a nice night, some good at-bats,” D’Andrea said. “It was a team effort.”

Scarborough did strand six runners.

Wedge improved to 3-1 after allowing three earned runs on eight hits in seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.

“I didn’t really have all my stuff, but I had my fastball working,” Wedge said. “I couldn’t really find the curve. We had just one bad inning. After that, I just wanted to throw strikes, let them hit it and let the defense do their job.” 

“Mitchell has been amazing the entire year,” Lorello said. “It’s impressive when he get out of jams, especially when we make errors. He keeps his composure.” 

“Mitchell didn’t have his best stuff and could have gotten down and went south, but he battled and competed and kept us in the game,” D’Andrea added.

Massabesic got two hits from Renaud and Sprague-Ripley. Renaud, Roberts and Sprague-Ripley scored the runs and Coulombe and Renaud had RBI. Gullikson, Roberts and Sprague-Ripley stole bases.

The Mustangs left three runners on base.

Dyer fell to 1-3 after allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits in 5.2 innings. He had two walks and two strikeouts. Gregoire pitched a scoreless third of an inning.

Opportunity awaits

Massabesic (11th in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time) looks to bounce back Tuesday when Biddeford pays a visit.

Scarborough, meanwhile, has no breathers the rest of the way. The fifth-ranked Red Storm are at South Portland Saturday, then host Cheverus Monday. After going to Westbrook and Gorham, Scarborough is home against Marshwood, at Windham, then closes at home versus Thornton Academy and Portland.

“I don’t know how many one-run games we’ve won, but it’s a lot,” Lorello said. “We’ve found a way to win. The resilience of everyone on this team is amazing. To see us go up the standings builds confidence.”

“We come to practice every day and we work really hard,” said Wedge. “We love to play baseball and we love to get into it. It’s a very good team atmosphere. We haven’t played the top-tier teams, but they’re coming up. It’ll be a tough stretch. We’ll have to focus and we’ll be fine.”

“The big dogs are coming,” D’Andrea added. “We’ll see if we’re ready. We can play with anybody, but we’re not going to dominate.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter:@foresports.

Scarborough senior pitcher Mitchell Wedge delivers to the plate as Massabesic senior Dawson Renaud takes a lead off third base. Wedge earned the victory.

Scarborough senior shortstop Nick Lorello applies the tag to pick off Massabesic senior Tyus Sprague-Ripley.

Scarborough junior centerfielder Tim Carion lines a hit.

Scarborough senior catcher Bayley Welsh prepares to throw the ball to first.

Scarborough senior first baseman Josh Reed lines a first inning RBI double.

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