ELIOT — Nick Deveau had three hits, including an eighth-inning single to score Jack Verrill in a controversial play at the plate, to give top-ranked Marshwood a 3-2 victory against Sanford in a Telegram League regular-season finale Tuesday.

Verrill slid around catcher Ethan Gouin to win the game.

Marshwood (14-2) felt Verrill avoided the tag to get the safe sign from the umpire. Sanford (5-11) thought otherwise.

“He tagged him right on the arm and shoulder,” said Sanford Coach Mark Boissonneault. “It’s not like the umpire made the call against us on purpose, but you hate to have a play like that take away from our effort.

“That’s been our season in a nutshell. We’ve lost five games in similar fashion. A win would have gotten us into the playoffs. The kids knew it. We win, we’re in.”

Verrill, who was the winning pitcher in relief of Luke Fernandes, felt he was safe.

“I think I got under his tag,” he said.

Marshwood can secure the top seed for the Western Class A playoffs if Cheverus, at home, beats No. 2 Windham today.

Windham, which beat Marshwood in the opener, will become the No. 1 seed with a victory.

Their game was postponed because of rain Tuesday.

Sanford, ranked 13th with the top 11 teams making the playoffs, nearly pulled off the effort behind gutsy pitching by Ryan Camire. Sanford would have leaped past Portland and Deering, who are tied for the 11th spot.

Sanford led 2-0 after four innings. The Hawks scored one in the fifth and an unearned run in the sixth to tie it.

Marshwood then took advantage of shaky Sanford defense to win it in the eighth.

Verrill reached on an infield error leading off the inning, then Matt Brenner dumped a single into right-center that could have been caught with a better jump on the ball.

After a pop to first, the Hawks ended it in dramatic fashion when Deveau lined a single to right-center. Sanford made a strong relay for the play at the plate.

Deveau wasn’t going to play baseball this spring because he wanted to focus on his hockey career. He hopes to play for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs next winter.

“It wasn’t because I didn’t want to play baseball,” said Deveau, a senior. “It’s because I’m pursuing a hockey career. I’ve played baseball since my freshman year. Coach (Eric) Fernandes made a strong case for playing and I’m so glad I decided to. We’ve bonded so well as a team,” said Deveau, who said this was his biggest moment in a Hawks baseball uniform.

Deveau, who didn’t become a starter until midway through the season, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and the winning hit. All of his hits went to right-center.

“Deveau came up big,” said Verrill. “It’s good for us to have a tough game going into the tournament. Camire pitched really well.

“We’ve been swinging the bats pretty well of late, but he kept us off balance by mixing up his pitches.”

Verrill relieved Fernandes to start the fourth inning. That was the plan, said Coach Fernandes, who wanted his son to pitch three innings.

Fernandes had eight strikeouts and allowed only one hit.

After allowing two runs in the fourth, Verrill settled down, allowing only two hits and striking out six.

The Hawks will play in the one-day Telegram League playoffs Saturday at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach involving the league’s top four teams.

The only remaining question is whether the Hawks will be the the first or second seed.

Marshwood beat Sanford 10-3 earlier in the season. This one had a different tone.

“The way we played in our first game and the way Sanford played this time – those kids are gutsy,” said Coach Fernandes. “No one deserved to lose.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH