BIDDEFORD — As Biddeford’s leadoff hitter, Corey Creeger has just one mindset when he reaches base: be aggressive.

Creeger was just that on the base paths against Marshwood on Thursday night, and the Tigers are now in first place in the SMAA because of it.

Leading off the seventh inning with an infield single, Creeger got to second on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a pitch in the dirt and then took advantage when Zach Quintal’s high fastball went off the top of catcher Luke Stankovich’s glove and bounced a few feet away from home plate, creating plenty of time for Creeger to charge home as the Tigers took a 2-1 walk-off victory in a game between two of the top teams in Western Class A at St. Louis Field.

It was the second time Creeger’s speed had created a run in the game for Biddeford (13-2), which won its ninth-straight game while halting Marshwood’s (11-3) eight-game streak in the process.

“I like to make plays and I was just saying to myself, ”˜Come on, passed ball,” Creeger said. “I saw (the pitch) come out of his hand weird. I was at least probably, if not half, really close to halfway down the line. It was just a matter of the catcher not making a play. I had it in my mind I was gone. Any chance I got, I was going.”

Creeger’s was just the kind of play the Tigers needed to decide an exquisitely pitched duel between Quintal and Biddeford starter Nate Huot, both juniors.

Quintal, who entered the game with a 5-0 record and an earned run average under 1.00, struck out 10 while walking three and allowing six hits, all singles. Huot was even better, allowing just two hits ”“ both ground-ball singles to Hawks eight-hole hitter C.J. Davis ”“ and one walk while striking out four. He improved to 7-0 on the year to go along with a minuscule 0.81 ERA.

“That was the best pitching match that I’ve seen this year,” Marshwood coach Eric Fernandes said. “Biddeford’s just a fabulous team. That pitcher didn’t flinch.”

“He pitched as well as I’ve seen him pitch as long as I’ve known him,” Biddeford coach Keith Leblanc said of Huot. “He’s pitched good all season, but this was the best he’s pitched. His command was outstanding.”

The one time Huot’s command got slightly away from him, the Hawks capitalized. After leading off the fourth inning with a walk, Zach Hodges advanced to second on a passed ball, got to third on Noah McDaniel’s sacrifice bunt and then scored as Jake Lebel lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to put Marshwood up 1-0.

Biddeford had gotten runners on base in each of the first four innings, but was finally able to get a run on the board in the fifth, as Creeger walked with one out. The senior then went to work, stealing second and third on back-to-back pitches and trotting home when Stankovich’s throw down to third went off Patrick Fallon’s glove and into left field.

“When you walk guys and you can run like Biddeford can, then something’s going to happen,” Fernandes said.

The Tigers had a chance to take the lead later in the fifth, thanks to two more Hawks errors. Kerry Crepeau singled and advanced to second when second baseman Nick Landis fielded Casey Twomey’s grounder but made a low throw that couldn’t be handled by shortstop McDaniel.

Biddeford was then gifted a bases-loaded situation when Corey Brown’s pop fly to right field was dropped by Zach Doyon, but Quintal maneuvered out of the inning without any further damage, getting Huot to ground to Landis for a force play at home and then Brady Crepeau to ground out to first to end the threat.

“I thought after the fifth inning that was going to be enough momentum,” Fernandes said. “But there was no getting (to Huot).”

Huot went on to retire the Hawks in order in both the sixth and seventh to set the stage for Creeger, who reached base for the third time when a high bounce on a grounder to shortstop left McDaniel with no shot to throw him out at first.

After Kerry Crepeau’s sacrifice bunt, Twomey was intentionally walked to get to Brown. Quintal got the strikeout he needed thanks to his curveball, but the third strike was in the dirt, allowing Creeger to scamper to third with two outs.

Huot then worked a walk to load the bases, bringing up Brady Crepeau, 0-for-3 up to that point with two strikeouts. But Crepeau never had to lift the bat off his shoulder as Quintal’s first pitch popped out of the glove of Stankovich, who couldn’t find it behind him as Creeger dashed in with the winning run.

“I was just yelling, ”˜Go, go, go,’” LeBlanc said. “It felt like it was a situation where he’s fast enough to get there pretty quickly, and we had to make a play, because their pitcher was over 100 pitches and still dealing. Corey made something happen with his legs and that was the game.”

Despite the loss, with two games left to play Marshwood remains in solid position to get a top-four position in the final conference standings and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Biddeford all but locked up that bye with the win, and with next Tuesday’s regular-season finale against Bonny Eagle, the only game left on the schedule, the Tigers are right where they want to be.

“This puts us in first,” said Huot. “That’s all that needs to be said.”

Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected]

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