JACKSON WALKER of the Morse High School baseball team winds up and readies to pitch during Thursday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game against Erskine Academy. Walker was one of five Shipbuilders that hit the mound on the way to a 1-0 win.

JACKSON WALKER of the Morse High School baseball team winds up and readies to pitch during Thursday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game against Erskine Academy. Walker was one of five Shipbuilders that hit the mound on the way to a 1-0 win.

BATH

It was just one run and it was narrowly scored, but it was all the Morse High School baseball team needed in Thursday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game against Erskine Academy.

Five different pitchers got the job done for the hosts in a game of solid contact, tidy defense and close calls on the basepaths. It started with two base-knocks on two pitches and ended with a tight call at first base, but ultimately, Morse coach Garrett Olsen isn’t concerned with how it happens. This team is about getting it done.

The Shipbuilders moved to 4-0 on the season with a 1- 0 win.

“It’s a mindset,” Olsen said. “We’ve got a bunch of kids, they like to compete. They’re all athletes. You saw fire in everybody’s eyes today and they’re competing for every last base. They’re taking those little extra steps to compete and win ball games.”

In the bottom of the first, Parker Onorato ripped a first-pitch fastball up the middle and then watched Tucker Banger do the same in the two spot while he swiped second and made it over to third. Banger was thrown out trying to steal second, but with two outs, Taylor Shaw came up and knocked in the game’s only run. His dribbler down the third-base line skipped over the bag and remained fair as he beat out a late throw and Onorato crossed home.

It was all Morse needed, but the first three batters in the lineup almost made it more. Banger singled again in the third and turned a sixth-inning single into a double with speed, while Onorato had two sharply hit balls fielded. In the first inning, Tait Nygaard tattooed a liner right back to Erskine (4-1) pitcher Dylan Presby, who didn’t even realize he had caught the ball at first.

Olsen has already gotten used to the strong contact at the top of the order.

“They’re competing,” he said. “Parker Onorato and Tucker Banger, those two guys alone, they’re so fast. Even a weak ground ball on their part is challenging. Any time they’re on base, it’s usually a double or triple for ’em because they’re stealing. We’ve, straight up, been able to hit the ball nice this year. It’s great to see them just blistering the ball like that.”

“Me and Parker led off the first inning, first two pitches we both got hits,” Banger said. “The past couple days, we’ve both been hitting from the beginning of the lineup. I think I’ve hit my stride for hitting because I hit well the last game, hit well this game and everyone’s hitting well, putting it all together.”

Presby went six full innings for Erskine and didn’t give up a hit outside of the top four batters. He struck out three, walked one and tossed just 10 pitches from the third to fifth frame. It was a very clean outing, but the Morse stable matched it on the other side.

New pitcher

Jackson Walker started on the bump for the Shipbuilders, leaving a batter on third base in the first frame and tossing 52 pitches before handing it off to Riley Lamarre in the fourth. Despite a walk, Lamarre got through the inning in just 12 pitches, and then it was Tait Nygaard’s turn. He struck out two and left two more runners on before Chase Smith’s wild sixth frame.

Back-to-back singles from Andrew Browne and Nate Howard left Smith in a one-out jam for Morse, and very briefly, it looked like the Eagles were going to break through. Nick Howard came off the bench and lined a single into right field that sent Browne headed for home. Onorato picked up the ball and launched it directly into the glove of catcher Isaiah Cogswell, who tagged Browne and then whipped it over to third base to complete the double play on a second tag-out. Inning over.

“Lot of big plays,” Olsen said. “We work hard on defense. Parker Onorato in right field, that’s exactly why we put him out there, because he’s the left fielder, but he’s a tremendous outfielder. All our tough plays seem to be coming right field, right field. We moved him over there last minute and he’s got an absolute cannon. He threw him out by 20 feet.”

Banger, a lefty, came on to close out the game in the seventh, and earned two quick outs before things got interesting. Erskine lead-off man Cody Taylor reached on an error in the infield and then Presby appeared to beat out a throw to first base. Lammare’s foot was dragged off the bag, but an umpire discussion switched the call in his favor and the game was iced.

Five different pitchers, seven innings of work, and a fresh set of arms ready for the next game.

“That’s kind of something I had toyed around with a little while ago,” Olsen said. “This is the first year we’ve got enough guys that we can do it with. I’ve got two, three guys that will extend out a little longer than that and then I’ve got a bunch of guys that have just gotten the role, they come in and know they’ve got to throw one inning. They can pitch a lot different, they can give it everything they’ve got.

“To be honest, it actually keeps us in it a lot more. Guys are excited because guys are bouncing around on the field. They kind of know what innings they’re pitching. Couple guys flip flop here and there, but we’ve got our set-up and our closer guy. I think it works out great. Their hitters don’t get to see the same pitcher twice, at all, so that’s a big advantage on our part.”

It’s also beneficial for scheduling. The Shipbuilders are slated to visit Maranacook today at 3 p.m., but with heavy rain expected, things might get jumbled yet again. With this setup, they’ll be ready.

“There’s a new rule where you can only pitch 19 pitches before you can’t throw the next day, so we’ve been trying to get our rotation in every game to only pitch a couple each pitcher so we can throw a pitcher the next day,” Banger said, “We did that today because we have a game tomorrow, so we got to save some pitchers for tomorrow.”

Morse 1, Erskine Academy 0

At Morse High School

Erskine — 000 000 0 0 5 0
Morse 100 000 X 1 4 1

Dylan Presby and Nick Turcotte; Jackson Walker, Riley Lamarre (4), Tait Nygaard (5), Chase Smith (6), Tucker Banger (7) and Isaiah Cogswell. WP — Jackson Walker. LP — Dylan Presby. SV — Tucker Banger. Repeat hitters — (Mo) Tucker Banger. Doubles — (Mo) Tucker Banger. Records — Morse 4-0, Erskine 4-1. Up next for the Shipbuilders — Today at Maranacook, 3 p.m.


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