Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
CUMBERLAND - Greely pitcher Jonah Normandeau didn't need any extra motivation to get up for Falmouth.
Will D’Agostino of Falmouth makes a diving stop on a grounder Friday during the fifth inning of the 5-1 loss to Greely. It was the first loss of the season for the Yachtsmen, the defending Class B state champions.
Photos by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
Jonah Normandeau of Greely was ready for this start and it showed. Normandeau was in control of all his pitches and stopped Falmouth on five hits to keep the Rangers undefeated.
The rivalry and the fact Falmouth captured the Class B state championship last season was plenty of fuel for Normandeau and his teammates, who earned a 5-1 victory Friday in a Western Maine Conference game between unbeaten baseball teams.
The Rangers, the heavy preseason favorites last year, felt the state title should have belonged to them, but the season instead ended with an upset loss early in the regionals.
"We're still a little bitter from last season," said Normandeau, who arrived for pregame preparations a little earlier than usual. "I just felt really loose coming out of the bullpen. My two-seam fastball was really working along with my curve and slider. I mixed them up nicely and had command of them at any time."
Normandeau not only did it with his arm but with his bat. He checked Falmouth on five hits.
The Rangers (6-0) scored two runs in the second and three in the fifth. Falmouth (4-1) could manage only a run in the fifth.
Leadoff batter Drew Hodge broke out of an early-season slump with three hits and a run for Greely. Designated hitter Bailey Train had two hits and two runs.
Falmouth threatened in the second when Andrew Emple and Addison Foltmer dumped singles into right field. Emple ended up on third but Foltmer was forced at second.
Thomas Fortier reached on the forceout and stole second to put runners on second and third with one out for Falmouth.
Normandeau then got the next two outs on a pop to first and a called third strike.
"Normandeau got in trouble a little bit but he pitched his way out of it," said Falmouth Coach Kevin Winship. "He's one of the top pitchers in our league and in southern Maine.
"I thought it was a good game. I didn't think the final score was an indication of how the game went. I thought the turning point was in the second inning when we got runners on second and third. He pitched his way out of it. If we come up with the big hit, get up 2-0, maybe it's a different game.
"We had that one inning when it kind of got away from us. I told the guys this game is just a measuring stick."
Back-to-back wild pitches gave Greely a 1-0 lead in the third. Normandeau drove in Train with a single to make it 2-0.
The Yachtsmen cut it to 2-1 in the top of the fifth. Connor Aube led off with a double to left-center, went to third on a groundout and scored on Drew Proctor's groundout.
Greely sent nine men to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs after the first three batters reached.
Normandeau singled home one run. Pinch-hitter Tom Buchholz singled in another and the third scored on a throwing error.
With two outs in the sixth, Fortier doubled to right-center and stole third. Normandeau struck out the next batter to end the threat.
Normandeau got the Yachtsmen in order in the seventh.
"Jonah had a nice rhythm," said Greely Coach Derek Soule. "He looked very relaxed even with men on base. This was a big game for us."
Greely and Falmouth play each other only once in the regular season so if they meet again, it would be in the Western Class B playoffs.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:
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Luke Velas of Falmouth finds the third-base bag before a diving Pat Finnegan of Greely can get there, registering a forceout Friday to end the fifth inning. Greely won the Western Maine Conference baseball game between the two contenders, 5-1.
Derek Davis/Staff Photographer