YORK — You can’t really blame York for coming out flat in its Western Maine Conference baseball opener Thursday. After all, the temperature was in the high 30s and the defending Class B champ has five new starters.
But after falling behind early, the Wildcats pulled together and defeated Traip Academy, a Class C opponent, 9-3.
After trailing 2-0 through three innings, York recovered behind the strong pitching of Danny Bock and some timely hitting to take control in the middle innings.
The Wildcats benefited from nine walks served up by three pitchers from Traip, which also is a young team.
While it was cold, the sun was bright and there was hardly any wind. York responded by scoring three runs each in the fourth, fifth and six innings.
“You come out in the freezing cold and try to play, and it’s not easy,” said York Coach Chuck Chadbourne. “Traip came out with a lot of energy and we didn’t. We have some young kids and I forget that they don’t have as much experience as our players last season. Some of them were quite nervous.
“Danny Bock did his thing. Give Traip credit, they came in with a nothing-to-lose attitude. If we’re not playing our best baseball and still find a way to win 9-3, that’s pretty good.”
Bock, a left-hander who had a 5-1 record last season, pitched six innings before giving way to Sam Johnson in the top of the seventh.
Bock gave up four hits in the first three innings, then spaced out three more over his last three innings, finishing with five strikeouts.
His most important move might have come in the sixth after the leadoff batter reached on an error, then was picked off.
Why so important? The next two Traip batters reached before Bock ended the half-inning with a strikeout and a groundout.
Asked if it was tough to pitch in the conditions, Bock said: “You can’t use the weather as an excuse. We’re in New England. You have to be able to pitch in the weather we’ve got.
“I didn’t throw like I wanted to. My velocity was a little down and I wanted to change speeds more than I did. I thought my teammates played well behind me. For several of them, it was their first varsity games. I thought they played well under the situation. They all hit the ball well. This is a completely different team from last year. I have as much faith in them as I did with last year’s team. We’ve all been focused in practice.”
Trailing 2-0, the Wildcats took the lead with three runs in the fourth after two outs.
Forrest Kelley walked, pinch-runner Steve Reid stole second, then moved to third as Adam Legg beat out an infield grounder.
Traip pitcher Josh Schneier threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt and Reid scored from third. Bock singled to right to make it 2-2 and Matt Pratt singled in Bock to break the tie.
Traip tied it in the top of the fifth when Jonathan Davis led off with a single, stole second and scored on Schneier’s double to left.
Three runs in both the fifth and sixth put it away for York. The three runs in the fifth were without a hit; the Wildcats loaded the bases on walks. A groundout scored the first one, a squeeze by Bock scored another and the third run came across on an error.
Legg had an RBI single in the sixth.
Schneier, Traip’s starter, allowed one hit in the first three innings, then got the first two outs in the fourth before the game turned around.
“I thought our guys fought hard,” said Traip Coach Seth Cole. “We’re a young team and one or two walks will do it to you. I liked what I saw. If we can hang with a team like York, we should do pretty well because York is one of the best teams that we’ll face.”
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: