YORK — With the fence just 310 feet from home plate all the way around the outfield, the York High School baseball field is a notorious paradise for Western Maine Conference hitters.

The host Wildcats showed off why on Monday, pounding out 15 hits on the way to scoring four runs in the third inning and five apiece in the fourth and fifth to beat error-prone Wells 15-5 in five innings.

All nine York (10-6) starters managed at least one hit during the final three innings of the game, during which time Wells (8-7) did little to help its own cause, committing four errors and allowing two passed balls, two wild pitches and three stolen bases.

“Up and down our lineup, we’ve got kids who are multiple-threat-type kids hitting-wise, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the eight-nine guys or the two-three guys, once we start swinging it, they swing with confidence,” York coach Chuck Chadbourne said. “We can swing it.”

After managing a lone single in the first two innings, York (10-6) started its rampage in the third as two walks and a single scored a run to tie the game at 2-2. Cleanup hitter Cole Merritt then took advantage of the dimensions, depositing a Shawn Ramsey fastball on a line just over the left-field wall to make it 5-2.

“The first two innings, we couldn’t have asked for much more from (Ramsey), Wells coach Todd Day said. “But they’re a pretty good hitting team, and that second time through, they jumped on the first pitch and were squaring everything up from the third inning on.

“They can hit the ball, so that’s not really a surprise, and we didn’t keep them off-balance as well as we should have.”

Charlie Bell relieved Ramsey after the first two York batters reached in the fourth, but the Wildcats continued their hit parade as a Matt Pratt single loaded the bases.

Bell then got Chris Neilson to ground into a force out at home, but Derek Neal’s double plated two runs. Merritt’s sacrifice fly added another, and Jordan Pidgeon, Forrest Kelly and Dan Bock all followed with singles early in the count brought home two more and make it 10-2.

“We preach aggression, and that can come back to bite you, but hitting a baseball is tough enough as it is,” Chadbourne said. “So I’d rather have our guys go up there, be aggressive and put the ball in play like today.”

Wells got three runs back in the fifth thanks to a Dan Quint RBI double and a balk by Wildcats starter Bock. But York got those three runs back thanks to a pair of back-breaking Warriors errors, and then brought about the early ending as Kelly’s single to left scored the final two runs for a 15-5 final.

“In the later innings, we kind of lost it mentally and made some mental errors that compounded into physical errors,” Day said. You can’t do that against any team.”

Wells had started off brightly, taking a 1-0 lead as Connor Pease and Bell led off the game with back-to-back doubles.

York got one back in the second without a hit as a walk and a throwing error led to a Kelly run-scoring sacrifice fly, but Wells retook the lead in the third as Bell and Quint reached on infield singles, with Bell scoring and Quint reaching third when York made an error on a pickoff play.

But Bock got out of the inning without any further damage, striking out Cody Cousins and Shawn Ramsey to keep it a 2-1 game ”“ the third time in as many innings the Warriors had left a runner in scoring position.

“We need to put the ball in play with runners in scoring position,” Day said. “We had a couple opportunities in the first inning and a couple opportunities in the third inning, and we didn’t get that big hit. That really would have changed the mindset of the game for both teams. From there, we were on our heels.”

York ended its regular season at 10-6 with the win, and will likely begin its defense of the Class B state title with a first-round matchup at Oak Hill in the quarterfinal round next Thursday.

Wells still has to travel to Lake Region for a makeup game today. A win over the 3-12 Lakers would likely give the Warriors the three-point bump in the Heal Points they need to leapfrog Gray-New Gloucester into eighth in the Western Class B standings, meaning Wells would host an opening-round game next Tuesday.

A loss, and the Warriors will have to travel for their first-round matchup as either the ninth or 10th and final seed.

“I expect this team to come out and really be focused tomorrow, because you never know if it’s going to be our last game,” Day said. “We’d like to think we’re in the tournament, but we’re going to have the mindset that tomorrow is a must-win. Hopefully, we’ll be a little smarter mentally.”

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

        Comments are not available on this story.

        filed under: