Sanford starter Darren Williams delivers a pitch. Williams pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings to lead the Mainers to a 2-0 win over the Valley Blue Sox Friday night.

SANFORD — After a tough season opening loss to North Adams Wednesday night, Sanford starter Darren Williams wanted to make sure the Mainers left that baseball game behind Friday night at Goodall Park.

Williams did that and more as the right-hander pitched 6 ⅔ scoreless innings, striking out four, as the Mainers combined for a three-hit shutout to beat the Valley Blue Sox, 2-0.

“We scraped (the season opener),” Williams said. “We had a five-hour bus ride there … We just wanted to throw it behind us.”

Williams allowed only three hits and a walk, and needed just 71 pitches (52 for strikes) to earn the win. Mainers coach Cejay Suarez lauded his starter’s effort.

“(Darren) was great for us tonight,” said Suarez. “We didn’t want to overuse him with it being his first start and all. We also had some timely hitting behind him. Overall, I was proud of the way we played tonight.”

After Williams breezed through the first, striking out the first two batters then reiting Danny Ryan on a fly out, the Mainers broke into the scoring column in the bottom of the inning.

Leadoff hitter Shane Marshall drew a four-pitch walk from Valley starter Trey Shaffer, then Drew DeMartino followed with a double to left, scoring Marhsall to make it 1-0. On the ensuing at-bat, third baseman Elliott Curtis singled to left center to score DeMartino to extend Sanford’s lead.

That was all Sanford would need. 

“I thought the team did a good job of responding from Wednesday,” Suarez said. “It’s still early, the second game of the season, but to respond like this at home is always a good feeling.”

The only drama Williams faced was in the fifth when he walked leadoff hitter Cody Littlejohn. Zachary Ardito hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out, but then stole second with Michael Wroth at bat who represented the tying run. Williams battled, though, and struck out Worth swinging, then got Dakota Mulcay to ground out to second to end the inning. 

Sanford first basemen Jack Van Remortel of Carmel, Indiana heads to cover first on a groundout.

“I really did feel great,” Williams said. “I think just coming in mentally prepared helped.”

In the seventh, Williams retired Ryan and Richard Constantine on groundouts before Suarez went to left-hander Pat Petteruti. Petteruti got Cody Littlejohn to line out to second basemen Drew DeMartino, then needed just 10 pitches in the eighth to retire the side and hand-off to closer Jacob Parker.

Parker took over in the ninth and struck out all three batters he faced to secure the win. For William’s, he’s confident he can build on this start. ‘“I was on a pitch count because I haven’t started all year,” he said “I just want to build the arm up. I went 6 and ⅔ tonight, and hopefully I go seven or eight (innings) next time.”

And he hopes more of his wins can come at Goodall Park.

“I feel right at home,” Williams said. “I feel comfortable for sure.”

UP NEXT

The Mainers host the Mystic Schooners Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

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