KENNEBUNK — The fans who made the trip to Kennebunk High on Tuesday for a Southwestern Maine Activities Association baseball showdown between Kennebunk and Thornton Academy were treated to an episode of The Brogan Searle-Belanger Show.

The Thornton Academy senior allowed just one hit on the hill and drove home three runs to lead the Golden Trojans to a 12-0 win in a five-inning game.

Thornton Coach Jason Lariviere removed Searle-Belanger after 3 2/3 innings to save him for Saturday’s game against rival Biddeford.

“I thought he looked good,” Lariviere said of Searle-Belanger’s first start of the season. “His velocity was really good. We didn’t have to throw much breaking stuff, but at the end he started mixing it in a little bit.

“He’s going to be an important piece, so we wanted to make sure he got some work.”

Searle-Belanger went 3 for 3 with three doubles as the Trojans gave him and reliever Matt Merrill plenty of run support.

“It gives you a lot more confidence as a pitcher,” Searle-Belanger said about having a big lead. “It makes you think (about throwing) more strikes instead of trying to hit the corners and stuff, because you know your guys will make the plays – and even if they do score a couple runs it won’t really matter because we scored so many.”

The Trojans (3-1) won for the second time in as many days after dropping an 8-1 decision to Portland on Saturday.

“The cure to losing is playing again. It’s not sitting around and kind of dwelling on it,” said Lariviere. “It’s good to be busy, and we knew when we got back from Florida that there’s going to be a stretch where it’s going to be nonstop and we’ve got to play well.

“We are happy that we’re staying busy, and the more we play, it seems like the more we gel.”

Lariviere, who is in his first year with the Trojans, has been stressing the importance of fundamental baseball.

“I don’t know any of these teams (on our schedule), so we always go in with a philosophy of playing clean baseball, playing good defense, throwing strikes and having a good approach at the plate,” Lariviere said. “On Saturday, when we lost to Portland, we didn’t execute at all. We looked horrible and we just said ‘hey, let’s go into every game with a good approach, not assuming anything,’ and I think we played really good defense today. We hit the ball, we took walks when we needed to, and that’s what you need to do to win.”

Thornton jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second inning. Luke Chessie had two hits and an RBI, Tim Smith drove in two runs, and Calvin Christoforo had a single and an RBI.

“We are a tough team when we play well, but you know this league’s tough. There’s a lot of good teams and we are just trying to play well every game,” Lariviere said.

Derek Smith had the lone hit for Kennebunk (1-2).

“We knew they’re one of the better teams in the conference, so we knew we had to play really well just to stay with them,” said Kennebunk Coach Brian Dill. “We didn’t play well in the beginning of the game, made some mistakes in the field, but you know, we are young.”

Dill knew his team would take some lumps as they rejoined the SMAA after several years in the Western Maine Conference.

“It’s part of the learning process for us because we have a lot of new guys, a lot of younger guys where it’s a big step up. We went from the Western Maine Conference, which is a good conference, to a better conference,” Dill said.

The Kennebunk coach is hoping his players will have a short memory as the Rams get ready for a game at Cheverus on Thursday.

“You try to keep their heads up. You try to keep it positive. You can’t change today, you’ve just got to try to go to the next one and keep getting better,” said Dill.


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