YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s baseball team has been flying under the radar in Western Class B, but that’s about to change.
That’s because the Clippers appear to be hitting their stride.
At just the right time.
Wednesday afternoon, Yarmouth got the signature victory it had been seeking when Falmouth, which was ranked first in Western Class A heading into the game, paid a visit.
The Yachtsmen took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but behind sophomore Andrew Kinsman, making just his second varsity start, the Clippers held Falmouth at bay over the next four innings and when junior rightfielder Jordan Brown doubled in a pair of runs in the bottom of the third and sophomore C.J. Cawley followed with an RBI single, Yarmouth had a 3-1 lead.
Cawley singled home two more runs in the fifth and while the Yachtsmen scored twice in the sixth, a baserunning gaffe prevented any more damage and Kinsman slammed the door in the seventh as the Clippers prevailed, 5-3.
Kinsman earned his first victory after going the distance, Cawley drove in three runs and Brown added two RBI and scored twice as Yarmouth won its third game in a row, improved to 8-4 and dropped Falmouth to 7-5 in the process.
“We wanted to get a big win against a powerhouse team like Falmouth,” said Kinsman. “Personally, I feel like we’re the best team in the conference. Other teams have better records, but we compete.”
Falmouth and Yarmouth have battled the best that the Western Maine Conference has to offer, but didn’t get to square off until the latter part of the season. Wednesday’s meeting was the first of two in a 10-day span between squads right in the thick of the playoff hunt.
The Yachtsmen blanked visiting York in their opener, 4-0, then let a three-run seventh inning slip away in a 9-6 home loss to Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth bounced back with wins at Freeport (5-2) and Fryeburg Academy (16-6), then edged visiting Gray-New Gloucester, 3-2 and earned a key 7-1 victory at Greely. The Yachtsmen have struggled since, losing home games to Kennebunk (3-1) and Lake Region (6-2) and after winning at Wells (4-1) and Kennebunk (8-2), they fell at home again, 5-3, to Wells Monday.
The Clippers beat visiting Poland in the opener, 3-2, then lost at home to Cape Elizabeth, 4-3, before beating visiting Freeport (7-3), host Fryeburg Academy (17-3 in six innings) and host Gray-New Gloucester (19-6). Losses to visiting Greely (11-2) and at Cape Elizabeth (6-1) followed. After a 10-1 win at Lake Region, Yarmouth fell at Poland, 8-3, but Friday, the Clippers got back in the win column, 7-4, over visiting Wells, and Monday, Yarmouth beat visiting Old Orchard Beach, 10-0, in five innings.
Falmouth won both meetings between the ancient rivals last season (see sidebar, below).
Wednesday, the Clippers got a measure of revenge.
Kinsman got off to an inauspicious start when he hit the leadoff batter in the first inning, Yachtsmen junior centerfielder Connor Aube. Aube immediately stole second and took third when sophomore second baseman Colin Coyne grounded out. Sophomore shortstop Robbie Armitage followed with a single to center and just like that, Falmouth had a 1-0 lead. Freshman first baseman Colby Emmertz reached on an error, but junior leftfielder Tyler Gee lined out to center, with senior Grant Gilman making a nice play to record the out and Kinsman escaped the frame by getting senior third baseman Caleb Lydick to ground out to short.
Yachtsmen junior starter Hogan Tracy got junior first baseman Conor O’Donnell to ground out to short and junior shortstop Cody Cook to pop to short to start the bottom half, but junior designated hitter Luke Klenda lined a single to right and Brown drew a walk. Cawley then struck out to end the threat.
Falmouth threatened again in the second, as senior catcher Connor MacDowell led off with an infield single and after sophomore rightfielder Reece Armitage flew out to right, MacDowell stole second and was wild pitched to third. Senior designated hitter Patrick Horgan then hit a sharp grounder to third. MacDowell broke for home on contact, but Clippers senior third baseman Connor Lainey threw home to junior catcher Jack Snyder for the out. Aube was hit by a pitch again, but Coyne grounded into a third-to-second force play to keep it 1-0.
Tracy kept Yarmouth off balance in the bottom of the inning, fanning Snyder, getting Lainey to fly deep to center and getting sophomore second baseman Chris Romano to ground weakly back to the mound.
In the top of the third, Robbie Armitage lined to center and Emmertz lined out to first, but Gee followed with a deep double to center. Kinsman then got Lydick to line out to center.
The Clippers got to Tracy in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a sparkplug of a hit that probably didn’t travel more than 15 feet.
After Kinsman flew out to center, O’Donnell laid down a bunt and beat it out to get things going.
“The spark was Conor’s bunt,” said Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted. “I didn’t call it. He saw the third baseman playing back and dropped it down. He’s very cerebral.”
O’Donnell stole second, but Cook flew out deep to center with O’Donnell moving up to third on the play. Klenda was walked intentionally and junior pinch-runner Caleb Gray moved to second on a passed ball. Brown then came through, lining a double to the gap in left-center, scoring both O’Donnell and Gray to put Yarmouth ahead to stay.
“We just needed to wait for our pitch and drive it,” Brown said. “(Tracy) had a good off-speed pitch that was slower than usual. We had to sit back and wait. (The count) was 3-2 and I knew I had to swing with guys on base. I waited on it and hit it to left.”
“That was a great piece of hitting by Jordan,” said Halsted.
Cawley was next and he singled to right, scoring Brown to make it 3-1. Snyder almost delivered another run, but Aube ran down his deep drive to end the frame.
In the fourth, Kinsman hit his third batter, MacDowell, leading off. MacDowell moved up a base on a passed ball and took third when Reece Armitage grounded out to first. When Horgan hit a grounder to third, this time MacDowell held and Lainey threw to first for out number two. Aube was intentionally walked and stole second, but Coyne grounded out to third to strand both runners.
Tracy got the first two outs of the bottom half with ease, as he induced Lainey to fly to left and senior pinch-hitter Matt Ingalls line deep to right, but both Kinsman and O’Donnell drew walks. Cook couldn’t bring them home, however, as he struck out.
Kinsman had his first 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, getting Robbie Armitage to fly to right, Emmertz to ground out to short and Gee to ground out to third.
Yarmouth built on its lead in the bottom half.
Leading off, Klenda singled to right. Brown then drew a walk and that was it for Tracy, who was replaced by freshman Griffin Aube. Aube threw a wild pitch to move the runners up, then gave up a soft hit to center off the bat of Cawley, which scored both Klenda and Brown to make it 5-1. Snyder lined out to second, junior pinch-runner Lucas Uhl was caught stealing and Lainey flew out to right.
Falmouth made things very interesting in the sixth, but ultimately shot itself in the foot.
After Lydick grounded out to short, MacDowell cranked a double to deep center. Reece Armitage followed with a single to center to put runners at the corners and senior pinch-hitter Cal Inlow followed with a deep fly to left, which brought MacDowell home. After a Snyder throwing error moved Armitage to second, Connor Aube beat out an infield hit to put runners at the corners. Aube then stole second, or so we thought.
Instead, confusion reigned as Aube headed back toward first. Kinsman stepped off the mound and ran at Aube, who headed back to second. Armitage came home to score before Kinsman threw to Cook for the out, but the Clippers were happy to trade the run for the out and instead of having Coyne at the plate as the tying run, the inning was over.
“(Connor) heard me yell, ‘Back!’ to Reece,” said Falmouth coach Kevin Winship. “I thought they’d throw to third. They faked a throw. Connor went back. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, it was just a fluke thing that happened.”
“I was really fortunate,” Kinsman said. “I really don’t know what happened. I just stepped off the mound and made the play.”
“I’m sure everyone heard me yelling, ‘Get the out!'” Halsted added. “We just wanted to get out of the inning. That’s baseball. Even major league players make that mistake.”
In the bottom half, Romano singled, but Kinsman popped to second and O’Donnell grounded to Coyne, who threw to Robbie Armitage for a force and when Romano was called for runner’s interference, a double play ensued to end the frame.
Kinsman came out to close out the game and did so efficiently, getting Coyne to line to left, Robbie Armitage to ground out to short and Emmertz to ground out to third to end it.
“Today was probably one of the best games we’ve had all year,” Brown said. “Falmouth’s a great team. We knew it would be tough to win. We came out with intensity and focus. We knew we needed some big wins. We need to get on a roll. We’ve worked hard as a team. We’re focusing on little things.”
“This is as big a win as we’ve had in a long time here,” Halsted said. “Wells was high-quality, but to beat the top team in Class A was huge. It means a lot. The kids have a lot of respect for Falmouth, but we thought we could compete.”
Kinsman’s first victory came virtue of a three-run, six-hit, one-walk (intentional) complete game performance. Kinsman didn’t strike out a batter, hit three and threw a wild pitch, but he did what he needed to do to get the job done.
“I was feeling pretty good all through the seven innings,” said Kinsman. “My arm never got tired. I have to credit my teammates. They made plays all around. All eight guys, from fly balls to great plays at short and third. Not just fielding but hitting too. We had clutch RBIs. They did a great job. “
“We didn’t know how he’d do, but I have confidence in him,” Brown said. “He went out there and competed.”
“We’ve got pitchers who give us a chance to win,” Halsted added. “Andrew allowed our defense to make plays for us. It was only his second career start, but he threw only 90 pitches. He used his defense. Walks take away from our defense.”
Offensively, Cawley and Klenda had two hits apiece, Brown scored twice, while Gray, Klenda and O’Donnell had one run apiece. Cawley drove in three runs and Brown had two RBI. Yarmouth left five runners on base.
Tracy fell to 0-1 after giviing up five runs on five hits and five walks in four-plus innings. He struck out three batters. Griffin Aube allowed two hits and no runs in two innings.
“I thought (Hogan) did a great job,” Winship said. “He got tired, but it’s his first varsity start in the regular season. I thought Griffin did an excellent job. He pitched great.”
MacDowell had two hits, Reece Armitage, Connor Aube and MacDowell scored runs and Robbie Armitage and Inlow had RBI. The Yachtsmen left eight runners on base.
“We didn’t get the job done today,” Winship said. “Tip your hat, Yarmouth got the hits when they needed to, they played good defense and they got good pitching. They did what they needed to do to win and we didn’t.”
Falmouth (still first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) looks to bounce back when it returns home Friday to battle Greely. After going to Cape Elizabeth and hosting Yarmouth, the Yachtsmen close at home against Poland June 2.
“We’re struggling a little bit at the plate,” said Winship. “We’ll get back to work tomorrow and we have a big game against Greely Friday.”
Yarmouth (which moved up to fourth in Western B by virtue of Wednesday’s victory) hopes to keep the good times rolling Friday when York pays a visit. After playing at Freeport and Falmouth next week, the Clippers close the regular season June 2 at Kennebunk.
“We had a good start, then the wheels fell off the wagon toward the middle, “Kinsman said. “We lost some games, but we’ve really picked it up.”
“I assume York will be in first place (Friday),” Halsted said. “That will be a great game. We’re now playing the way we did in Florida (in April). We have kids who are All-Conference in other sports and won a state championship in soccer. That speaks to our athleticism and to when you play three sports, you get better in all three.”
Yarmouth sophomore pitcher Andrew Kinsman throws a strike. Kinsman went the distance to earn his first varsity victory.
Falmouth junior starter Hogan Tracy delivers a pitch.
Yarmouth junior Luke Klenda lines a hit.
Falmouth sophomore second baseman Colin Coyne soars to snare a line drive.
Falmouth sophomore Reece Armitage makes contact.
Falmouth senior Connor MacDowell rounds third and heads for home in the sixth inning.
In a pivotal play, Falmouth junior Connor Aube is tagged out to end the sixth inning.
Falmouth sophomore Robbie Armitage prepares to make a throw after recording a force out on Yarmouth sophomore Chris Romano. Romano was called for runner’s interference and the Yachtsmen were awarded a double play to end the bottom of the sixth inning.
@ Falmouth 12 Yarmouth 2
Falmouth 5 @ Yarmouth 4
@ Falmouth 4 Yarmouth 1
@ Yarmouth 6 Falmouth 3
Falmouth 5 @ Yarmouth 0
Yarmouth 6 @ Falmouth 4
Yarmouth 7 @ Falmouth 5
Falmouth 9 @ Yarmouth 1
Falmouth 3 @ Yarmouth 2
@ Falmouth 8 Yarmouth 7
@ Falmouth 9 Yarmouth 8
@ Yarmouth 4 Falmouth 3
Falmouth 8 @ Yarmouth 5
@ Falmouth 9 Yarmouth 2
Yarmouth 9 @ Falmouth 5
Falmouth 14 @ Yarmouth 1 (5 innings)
@ Yarmouth 2 Falmouth 0
Falmouth 6 @ Yarmouth 5
@ Falmouth 9 Yarmouth 8
@ Yarmouth 8 Falmouth 2
Falmouth 6 @ Yarmouth 3
@ Falmouth 10 Yarmouth 4
Yarmouth junior Jordan Brown (23) is congratulated by Joe DeFusco after scoring a run during the Clippers’ 5-3 home win over Falmouth Wednesday.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
F- 100 002 0- 3 6 0
Y- 003 020 X- 5 7 2
Robbie Armitage singled to center, Aube scored.
Brown doubled to center, O’Donnell and Gray scored. Cawley singled to right, Brown scored.
Cawley singled to center, Klenda and Brown scored.
Inlow hit sacrifice fly to left, MacDowell scored. Reece Armitage scored during rundown.
Y- Cawley, Klenda
F- Reece Armitage, Aube, MacDowell
Y- Brown 2, Gray, Klenda, O’Donnell
F- Robbie Armitage, Inlow
Y- Cawley 3, Brown 2
F- Gee, MacDowell
F- Aube 2, MacDowell
Left on base:
Hogan, G. Aube (5) and MacDowell; Kinsman and O’Donnell
Tracy (L, 0-1) 4 IP 5 H 5 R 5 ER 5 BB 3 K
G. Aube 2 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K 1 WP
Kinsman (W, 1-1) 7 IP 6 H 3 R 3 ER 1 BB 0 K 1 WP 3 HBP