SACO — After wild seventh and eighth innings, Biddeford held on Thursday to defeat Thornton Academy 5-4 in an SMAA baseball game.

Thornton (5-4) led 3-1 in the seventh and was one out from victory before Biddeford recovered.

The Tigers had two runners on when Thornton Coach Greg Paradis decided to let starter Brogan Searle-Belanger – who had pitched a strong game – try and finish it.

Joey Curit then singled to load the bases for Logan Magnant, who jumped on the first pitch and drove a shot over the center fielder’s head for a bases-clearing double, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.

“I was waiting for a nice, flat fastball, which I got on the first pitch,” said Magnant. “I was hopping on it right away. I knew it was coming.”

In the bottom of the seventh, it was Thornton’s turn to come back, tying the game when Brandon Hall drove in a run with an infield single off reliever Brice Springer.

Hall finished with three hits, two doubles and three RBI.

Biddeford (4-4) loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth, forcing Searle-Belanger out of the game.

Brady Crepeau knocked in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to right that scored Colin Lavigne from third base.

“This team, we seem to be pretty mentally tough. I feel like they’re doing a nice job staying focused, staying competitive, staying into the game and who knows. Keeping it close, that’s important,” said Biddeford Coach Keith Leblanc.

Searle-Belanger lasted 71/3 innings, allowing five runs and striking out five.

Thornton threatened in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Owen Sullivan.

Back-to-back walks to lead off, followed by Luke Chessie’s sacrifice, gave the Trojans runners on second and third with one out.

But Sullivan responded with a strikeout on a called third strike followed by a groundout to third to end it.

“(Sullivan) had only pitched one inning so far this year. Sometimes those guys don’t get as much work as you’d like them to, but kudos to him for coming in and battling,” said Leblanc.

Nick Gallant started for Biddeford, throwing five innings and allowing three runs.

With two outs in the top of the third, Crepeau lined a single to left-center, then went to second when the ball was misplayed.

Crepeau went to third on a passed ball and scored when Carter Edgerton singled up the middle to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

“That was (Biddeford’s) first run and (the misplay in center field) could be the difference in the game,” said Paradis.

Searle-Belanger answered for Thornton with a liner to shortstop that one-hopped off Edgerton’s shoulder, scoring Luke Chessie from third to make it 1-1.

The Trojans pulled ahead 3-1 when Hall ripped a two-run double in the right-center field gap.

“That’s our M.O. All season long we’ve had really good innings early on (in the game) and then we kind of coast,” said Paradis.

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