OLD ORCHARD BEACH—The Nor’easters skunked the Norsemen 9-0 on six hits in a makeup matchup at The Ballpark on Monday night, June 24.

Under the lights and surrounded by a thick cloud of insatiable mosquitos, a number of Nor’easters logged strong outings to lead the charge, including Cam Smith (Gorham, Maine/Clark), who manned the mound for two innings, and Max Salevsky (Hollis, Maine/Plymouth State), who tallied three RBIs.

“We have a lot of athletes on the team,” Nor’easters assistant coach Max Salevsky (sr.) said simply, asked what went right for his boys.

The two squads are members of the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League, founded in 2017 to provide college players from around New England with an affordable, high-quality, summer development opportunity. The University of Southern Maine’s standout lineup and St. Joseph’s as well are both amply represented in the League, and quite a few players hail originally from local schools like Bonny Eagle, Scarborough and Gorham.

Mike Doherty started on the mound for the Norsemen, and suffered the lion’s share of their hurt – though the defense behind him bears much of the responsibility for that. Adam Birt / The Forecaster

The Nor’easters chewed through the Norsemen’s first three batters with ease, Smith pitching; the team then took their first turns at the plate, and wasted little time racing to a 4-0 lead.

Ryan Lavalle (Long Meadow, Massachusetts/Franklin Pierce) kicked things off with a single drive into left field. Wade Sansone (Cumberland, Maine/Sewanee) followed him up with a grounder towards shortstop Ryan Young; Young erred on his backhand grab attempt, giving the Nor’easters two men on.

Lavalle and Sansone stole during Will Snyder’s (Portland, Maine/Skidmore) at-bat; both advanced 90 feet further – Lavalle crossed home – when Norsemen catcher Evan Balzano (Saco, Maine/Wake Tech Community College) tried to catch Lavalle out. Balzano’s throw to third got by basemen Patrick Sawyer (Saco, Maine/Nichols) and skittered down the leftfield line. 1-0.

Tim Brigham (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Suffolk) next belted a deep standing double for the Nor’easters, scoring Sansone. Brigham dashed over to third on a passed ball during Salevsky’s ups, then home when Salevsky sac grounded to short. 3-0.

“A lot of bloop hits, a lot of missed plays, some dropped balls – those things happen,” Mike Doherty (Scarborough, Maine/St. Joseph’s) said. Doherty started on the mound for the Norsemen, and battled there for the first couple innings as the Nor’easters wrung him and the boys behind him for a lot of offense.

“It’s baseball,” Doherty said. “But I only think I had two balls hit into the outfield on me. Other than that, lots of balls that just found holes.”

“What happens in that situation is your pitch count gets raised,” Salevsky, sr. said of Doherty’s effort. “You start pressing. There are some things that are beyond your control – there were some passed balls, things like that. No harm, no foul.”

Nick Liston (Springvale, Maine/Plymouth State) notched the Nor’easters’ fourth: Liston singled into left to reach first, stole second during Emery Dinsmore’s (Waldo, Maine/Colby) ups and moved over to third when Dinsmore clubbed a tricky single up the middle that somehow slipped between two Norsemen infielders without either erring. Liston scored on a passed ball during Caleb Burpee’s (Kennebunk, Maine/Southern Maine Community College) turn at the plate.

“They all played well,” Salevsky said. “Emery Dinsmore, he’s a consummate athlete. Ryan Pratt (New Sharon, Maine/University of Maine Farmington). Cam Smith threw really well; that’s the best outing all year for Cam. He kept everybody off-balance – although, the Norsemen actually hit the ball well, it just went to people. But Cam threw well; he got a lot of the good first-strikes, and got up in the count.”

4-0 would’ve sufficed to grab the Nor’easters the W, but they heaped ahead to 8-0 in the bottom of the second. Lavalle, Sansone, Snyder and Brigham all tallied in the stretch: Lavalle on a slippery Snyder chop to short, Sansone and Snyder on a Salevsky line single into left and Brigham on Liston contact to third that led to an error (a missed catch) at first.

Cam Smith turned in an excellent stretch on the mound for the Nor’easters. Adam Birt / The Forecaster

The Nor’easters capped their evening with a ninth run in the bottom of the fourth; the team improves to 7-0 on the triumph. The Norsemen, meanwhile, slip to 1-4.

Luke Klenda (Yarmouth, Maine/St. Joe’s) and Charlie Graffius (Portland, Maine/Colby-Sawyer) also pitched for the Norsemen. Dinsmore and Pratt saw time on the mound for the Nor’easters.

The GNCBL plays its regular games on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays, though this year’s aggressive precipitation patterns are piling makeups on makeups on makeups for the League’s half dozen teams.

“We’re already four games back with the weather,” Salevsky, sr. said, before noting the havoc an irregular schedule of makeups can play with teams’ lineups. “We have 17 guys on our squad; they have 18 or 19. And we could only have 10 show up or 11.”

“We have 49 innings between this game, through Sunday,” Salevsky, sr. said of the Nor’easters. “The Norsemen have six games. Everybody’s going to be stretched to the limit.”

The GNCBL plays at The Ballpark, at SMCC, at St. Joseph’s and elsewhere. The League is online at www.gncbl.com; they’re on twitter at @GNCBLBaseball and easily searchable on Facebook.

“I love the League,” Doherty said of the GNCBL. “It gives everyone a fair chance to play – we all get our innings in as pitchers, all the hitters get an equal opportunity for at-bats. It makes us better at the end of the day.”

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