OLD ORCHARD BEACH — After beating North Yarmouth Academy by 10 runs twice already this season, the odds were in Old Orchard Beach’s favor to win again when the two teams met for a third time Tuesday.

The Seagulls were again victorious by a sizable margin, but the final score wasn’t indicative of how much the Panthers made OOB fight for a win.

NYA jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and the game was tied heading 4-4 after five innings, but the Seagulls broke the game open in the sixth for a 12-6 victory in a WMC baseball game at The Ballpark.

The Panthers (4-10) stormed out of the gates, as Haven Cutko led off with a single and scored when Brad Rockey followed with a double to deep left off OOB (6-7) starter Sam Custeau. Rockey came home two batters later on Galen Arnold’s double.

NYA added two more runs in the top of the third as OOB’s defense failed Custeau. Josh Chapman led off by reaching on a throwing error before Custeau got two quick outs on consecutive pop ups. Dana Nichols walked to keep the inning alive, then Arnold singled Chapman. Nichols scored when Johnny Busolin grounded into another Seagull error, but OOB recovered on the play by getting Arnold at second after rounding the base too far.

“NYA is a good fastball hitting team. Their first three or four guys can pound the ball pretty well, and that’s what they did,” OOB head coach Keil Martin said in regards to what allowed NYA to get off to a hot start. “We left it up in the zone a little bit and we allowed them to hit that.”

The offense across the first three innings equaled what NYA was able to produce in the two previous games against OOB ”“ both 12-2 defeats. But it proved to be just a head start.

OOB rallied all the way back to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. Brian Davis led off with a walk on a 3-2 pitch, then stole second. Two batters later, Mason Beaudoin singled to put runners at the corners. Thomas Fregeau then reached on a throwing error to score Davis, and Beaudoin scored after going all the way to third, where an off-target throw to gun him down allowed him to stroll home.

Fregeau and Matt Hurley later scored on a single by Jon Gillis and a throwing error on a grounder by Logan Melnik, respectively.

“We were a little quiet, but it only takes one hit to start it rolling, and a couple of good at-bats,” Martin said of his offense awakening.

“We just needed the energy in the dugout. That’s usually what gets us going,” said Beaudoin. “Once we start getting runs and stuff we’re all good. Get us rolling.”

The game stayed tied until the sixth, when Custeau got out of a jam but NYA starter Joey Hogan didn’t. Custeau loaded the bases in the top half of the frame before getting Chapman to pop up the first pitch he saw, and Custeau made a running catch in foul territory to end the threat.

“Sam wanted to get it himself,” said Martin. “And it showed that he wanted the game.”

Hogan, who had scattered five hits in five innings, ran into whole flock of hard-hitting Seagulls in the bottom of the sixth. Joe McCullum led off with a single, but was then caught trying to steal second. That was the last piece of good news Hogan would get.

The next three batters reached against the sophomore righty, scoring two runs. Arnold came on in relief but OOB kept its foot on the gas. The first four batters reached against the left-hander, with Fregeau and Gillis sandwiching singles around a pair of walks, as two more runs came in.

Gillis had the last hit of the game for OOB, but a walk, a hit by pitch and an unsuccessful fielder’s choice ”“ all with the bases loaded ”“ scored three more runs, and the eighth and final run of the frame came home on a wild pitch.

“I think once we got ahead, I think the guys saw that we had a victory in hand and they started getting a little more confidence at the plate,” said Martin. “And confidence is all that matters out there.”

“Just rallying. Our hitting is contagious. One hit, get a hit after that, bases juiced, keep on getting hits, roll in the runs. That’s all,” said Beaudoin, who admitted the team took NYA lightly at the start.

The Panthers plated two runs in the top of the seventh before Custeau got Hogan to strike out looking to end the game.

Beaudoin, the Seagulls’ leadoff hitter, was 3 for 5 in the game with two runs and two RBIs.

“Mason really battles up at the plate,” said Martin. “And that’s what it takes to be a leadoff hitter. You got to do that stuff. You got to make the pitcher throw pitches. And Mason did a good job with that today.”

Hurley and Gillis also had multi-hit games for OOB. Custeau scattered six runs ”“ four earned ”“ on nine hits, with two strikeouts and three walks.

The win was a big one for the Seagulls, who are fighting for one of the final playoff spots in Western Class C. OOB returns to action today when it travels Sacopee Valley ”“ a team it hasn’t beaten in two tries ”“ before the Seagulls finish up at home with Freeport and Traip Friday and Monday, respectively.

“This momentum, we need to keep it rolling,” said Beaudoin, who is one of five juniors on a team without any seniors on it.

“We got to win some of them to get in,” said Martin. “These guys will battle. Every time we show up we’re going to give a team a game, no matter what. So I can expect that at least.”

— Sports Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter


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