April 20, 2013

High school baseball: Defense makes the difference

Ben Greenberg pitches a two-hitter for Scarborough and is aided by two key double plays.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH - Two of the best high school pitchers in the state hooked up Friday in an SMAA baseball opener.

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Center fielder Greg Viola of Scarborough makes a sliding catch of a fly ball Friday in the fourth inning of the Red Storm’s 3-0 victory against Thornton Academy.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Ben Greenberg of Scarborough is greeted by teammates, including Trevor Sparda, right, after scoring in the sixth inning Friday, the final run in a 3-0 victory against Thornton Academy. Greenberg also pitched a two-hitter with eight strikeouts.

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There was little to choose between right-handers Ben Greenberg of Scarborough and Jeff Gelinas of Thornton Academy. In the end it came down to Scarborough, the defending Western Class A champion, playing better defensively and making two double plays in a 3-0 victory.

All of the runs were unearned. Greenberg, a junior, allowed two hits and struck out eight.

He retired 12 straight in the middle of the game, finishing the streak with three strikeouts in the sixth. He faced 22 batters, one over the minimum.

Gelinas, a senior, gave up three hits and struck out 11.

Gelinas, headed to the University of Maine on a baseball scholarship, was hurt early by his lack of control.

He walked one and had two wild pitches in the first inning, His second wild pitch brought in Scarborough's first run. He settled down after that, striking out the side in the fifth. In the third, he got the third out on a strikeout with runners on second and third.

Greenberg allowed a hit to Cam Jackman in the second and a hit to Drew Lavigne in the seventh.

"I thought I threw well today," said Greenberg. "My teammates made the plays behind me. We didn't hit much. Jeff threw well today and has always been very competitive."

Thornton threatened in the top of the seventh by getting the first two runners on.

Lavigne reached on an infield single and Gelinas walked. The Red Storm then turned their second double play.

Alex Fallon of Thornton bounced a ground ball to third baseman Kevin Dryzga, who stepped on third for the force out and threw to first baseman Jayme Lappin for the double play.

Greenberg got Jackman to fly out to short left field to end the game.

"The double play hurt," said Thornton Coach Ray Petit. "If it had been a one-run game, we might have tried something different with two runners on. We didn't hit the ball, but we had some good at-bats. Overall I'm happy with the way we played."

The Red Storm led 1-0 after one inning, as leadoff man Aaron Ravin walked, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on Nick Bagley's single and scored on another wild pitch.

Scarborough added a couple runs in the bottom of the sixth.

With one down, Bagley sent a low liner just inside the first-base bag. Jackman, the first baseman, knocked it down, but Bagley beat him to the bag.

After Greenberg walked, both runners moved up on a grounder and scored on an infield error.

"It was a great pitching effort by Ben," said Scarborough's first-year coach, Ryan Jones. "It was a battle of two good fireballers. Our defense played well."

Other than the seventh-inning threat, Thornton was held in check by Greenberg and his defense. No Golden Trojan runner reached third.

"We have some strong pitching and good defense," said Greenberg. "We have to hit better. If we do, we can be as good as anyone."

Center fielder Greg Viola of Scarborough made a sliding catch in the fourth to deny Fallon a base hit.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:


Twitter: TomChardPPH


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Additional Photos

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Sam Terry of Scarborough is tagged out by Thornton third baseman Drew Lavigne while attempting to steal in the fourth inning of their opener.


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