– By TOM CHARD

Staff Writer

CUMBERLAND – Mike Leeman allowed two hits in six innings, scored the game’s first run, then delivered a two-run single in the fifth Thursday as Greely shut out Gray-New Gloucester 7-0 in a mutual Western Maine Conference Class B baseball opener on a cold and blustery day.

Leeman, who struck out 11, started slowly, walking the second and third batters he faced before an infield hit loaded the bases with two outs.

Leeman got the third out on a strikeout.

“It took me a while for my pitches to settle in,” said Leeman, who led off with a double in the third and scored.

Leeman settled down after the first inning, making it tough for the the Patriots. Not only did they have to battle Leeman, the weather wasn’t conducive for hitting with the wind blowing in and temperatures in the low 40s.

“I tried not to think about the weather,” said Leeman. “The wind was a big factor. It was at my back so it kind of helped. My fastball and cutter were working well. We have good defense, pitching and hitting.”

Leeman allowed an infield squibbler by Tim Lerette for a hit in the first and a sharp single past third by Ryan Davala in the fourth.

Leeman was taken out after six innings because of the cold.

“I wished I could have finished,” he said.

Leeman scored to make it 1-0 in the third. After doubling, he moved to third on a sacrifice by Pete Stauber. After an infield pop, Leeman scored on a wild pitch.

Jeff Taylor of Gray-New Gloucester set the Rangers down in order in the fourth but ran into trouble in the fifth. The Rangers scored four runs to put it away.

Greely put the first two runners on and Leeman brought them home with a two-run single to right.

Stauber greeted reliever Adam Healy with a single, then Liam Maker singled to right to score Leeman and Stauber.

Another two-run base hit, this time by Stauber, made it 7-0 in the sixth.

“Considering the elements, it was a solid effort,” said Greely Coach Derek Soule. “It wasn’t easy to play in temperatures like these.

“I was happy later in the game how the guys were willing to stay back in the box and go up the middle. It took half the game for us to find it, but once we did it was nice to see.”

Leeman, perhaps the No. 1 pitcher on a deep staff for the Rangers, broke his ankle early last season and saw limited action.

“I was very happy for Mike,” said Soule.

“He was never 100 percent when he came back last season. No one worked harder in terms of conditioning over the winter. He was outstanding today. A very solid game.”

Stauber and Leeman had two hits apiece to lead Greely’s nine-hit offense.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]


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