YARMOUTH—If this near-end-of-the-regular-season matchup between the Greely Rangers and Yarmouth Clippers was any indication of what the Western Class B playoffs will look like, everybody is in for a real treat.
In an intense see-saw momentum game at Yarmouth High, the Clippers were able to shake off an early 5-0 deficit and rally to win 6-5 over the Rangers thanks to a clutch two-run single in the sixth inning by Dustin McCrossin.
Bryce Snyder was the starting pitcher for Yarmouth and was making just his second varsity start. After throwing a lot of pitches in the first two innings and allowing five runs (only one earned), senior Campbell Haley came in and pitched shutout ball for the final five innings to earn the win.
“Our coach came out yesterday and said, ‘this team is in your hands. You guys need to compete, you guys need to come out’ and that was the rallying cry for us, that we just needed to compete as a team,” said Haley. “We needed to rally. We needed this game.”
From the early going, it looked like Greely was going to have an easy victory. But like the last meeting with these squads, a 5-4 Greely win on May 17, nothing proved to be easy.
“I was happy that it was a close game because we need those high pressure at-bats and we need to have that experience making those high pressure pitches and defensive plays,” said Greely coach Derek Soule.
Matt Labbe put Greely on the scoreboard in the first inning with a single up the middle, scoring Ben Shain for the Rangers’ only earned run of the game.
The top of second inning started out fine for Synder, as he retired the first two batters on routine grounders. But with two outs, chaos ensued.
Sophomore Jonah Normandeau hit a grounder to shortstop Ryan Cody, whose throw to first was in the dirt and went out of play, allowing Normandeau second base. Freshman Bailey Train, who was the starting pitcher for Greely, then walked. Junior catcher Pete Stauber then hit a hard liner to rightfield and the bases were loaded for junior Liam Maker. On an 0-2 pitch, Snyder left a curveball up in the zone and Maker sent it into centerfield, scoring Normandeau for a 2-0 Greely lead. With the bases still loaded, Shain blasted a double into the right-centerfield gap bringing everybody home to make it 5-0.
The long second inning was Snyder’s last on the hill.
“He only had a 50 pitch count anyway. He went out and he competed,” said Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted of Snyder. “And then we go to Campbell, who is our veteran. The thing with him is his absolute passion to compete. He wants so badly to beat that other guy, and that carries him as an athlete, from watching him play basketball and soccer, too.”
Train struggled with his control throughout the game, especially with his curveball. The Clippers chipped away in the third inning as Cody led off with a single and Haley then reached on an error by first baseman Dan McKersie. Train then walked Luke Pierce and Aiden Sullivan on eight straight pitches, with Sullivan getting an RBI because the bases were loaded. Surprisingly, McCrossin then swung at the first pitch and hit into a 4-6-3 double play, but Haley still scored making it 5-2 Greely.
Train only went four innings in the game allowing four earned runs, four hits, four walks, and one hit batsman.
Train once again showed his wild side in the fourth inning, as the Clippers got to him for two more runs. Nick Proscia led off with a walk and Joey King was hit by a pitch. Eamon Costello then sacrifice bunted the runners up to second and third. Cody followed with a hard groundball up the middle scoring Proscia easily, but King’s slide home resulted in controversy.
The throw from centerfielder Jimmy Whittaker got to Stauber in good position at the plate. King attempted to slide around him, but it appeared that Stauber applied a tag. However, the only man whose opinion matters shouted “safe” and it was now 5-4.
After the tag, Stauber alertly threw to second base and retired Cody who was trying to grab an extra base. Greely coach Derek Soule immediately came out of the dugout and argued briefly with the home plate umpire, but there was no reversing the call. Haley then popped up in foul territory to end the frame, but the Clippers certainly gained a ton of momentum.
“Stauber has told me all year whether I missed a call. He lets me know and he has been really honest all year,” said Soule. “On that play, he told me he got him. But unfortunately the umpire was behind the play and didn’t have a good view, so it was a tough call for him.”
Shain, Greely’s main relief pitcher, came on to pitch the fifth inning. After issuing a walk, a single, and a hit batter, Shain found himself in a bases loaded one out jam. However, he was able to escape with no damage done. Shain worked a full count on Proscia and then struck him out with a great curveball and then promptly overpowered King with high fastballs for another strikeout.
The sixth inning was the rally inning for Yarmouth. Once again, crucial runs were scored with two outs.
Costello led off the inning with a long fly out to leftfield and Cody then grounded out to second. Haley then hit single and Pierce sliced a soft liner into shallow left field just out of the reach of Labbe at short. Sullivan walked to load the bases for McCrossin, who jumped on the first pitch and smoked a line drive up the middle scoring Haley and Pierce to give Yarmouth a 6-5 lead. Snyder then grounded out to end the inning, but McCrossin’s clutch hit had given the Clippers their first lead of the game.
“Ben pitched well. He just hasn’t been stretched out that far as a reliever,” said Soule. “It is usually just one inning.”
“One through nine, we had every guy contributing,” said Halsted. “Dustin McCrossin was having a tough day and he comes back and gets the big hit.”
With three outs left, the Rangers had plenty of fight left in them, though
Labbe lead off with a single and Evan Campbell came in to pinch-run. Next up was pinch hitting Will McAdoo, who tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but popped it up, putting Campbell in a tough situation. Snyder jumped out from behind the plate and almost caught the bunt along the first base line, but it dropped and he tossed it to second base for the easy force out. Pinch hitting Luke Saffian then drew a walk, as did Brad McKenney, loading the bases with only one out for Normandeau.
After McKenney walked, Halsted had a meeting on the mound to calm Haley down.
Whatever was said certainly helped, as he quickly mowed down Normandeau with three straight fastballs. Train stepped to the dish looking to be a hero for Greely, but it didn’t pan out. He grounded out to the second baseman who flipped to the covering shortstop and it was ballgame over.
Haley threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and four walks (one intentional).
“I give Campbell all the credit in the world,” Soule said. “For a guy who hasn’t had a lot of innings this year because of arm problems, he went out there and just competed and battled. He is a great competitor. He was the player of the game in my mind.”
Both teams battled throughout the contest and gave everybody a good preview of the excitement that is soon to come in the Western B playoffs.
Pierce and Cody both had two hits for Yarmouth. Haley scored two runs.
Labbe had three singles for Greely.
“It’s so dog-eat-dog at the top of the division,” said Haley. “I have so much respect for Greely, Falmouth, and Cape, and all those teams and on any given day we can come out and lose 9-1 to Falmouth, or we can come out and rally hard against Greely.”
Greely(first in the Western B Heals) plays Cape Elizabeth at the Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach in their season finale on Tuesday.
Yarmouth (second in the region) ends its season hosting North Yarmouth Academy Wednesday.
Don’t be surprised if these two rivals meet again.
Greely senior Sean Ross gets a face full of dirt with no benefit as Yarmouth senior Nick Proscia gets the force at home.
Yarmouth senior first baseman Aidan Sullivan looks to handle the throw as Greely junior Brad McKenney hits the bag.
Greely senior Dan McKersie digs out a throw at first to retire Yarmouth junior Eamon Costello.
Greely freshman Bailey Train delivers a strike Friday.
After the final out, the Clippers celebrate a much-needed win
Yarmouth senior Joey King eludes Greely junior catcher Pete Stauber to score a pivotal fourth inning run during the teams’ thriller Friday afternoon. The Clippers rallied from five-runs down to beat the Rangers, 6-5.
More photos below.
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