STANDISH—The Patriots managed to defeat the undefeated Nor’easters at St. Joseph’s on Thursday, June 29, hashing four runs in the uphill innings then holding steady as the Nor’easters strove to turn things around.

It was the Nor’easters first loss of the season. “All the teams should be playing at a pretty similar level,” said Max Salevsky, sr., an assistant coach for the Nor’easters. “And these other teams are starting to come into their own. They’re all good teams; the Nor’easters maybe just found their [chemistry] a little earlier than some.”

Jack Bean mans second base for the Patriots. Adam Birt / The American Journal

The Patriots grabbed an early lead 1-0 in the top of the first. Nor’easters starting pitcher Josh Joy (Smithfield, Maine/University of Southern Maine) walked Chris Romano (Yarmouth, Maine/Colby) to kick things off; Romano then stole second during Justin Coppeta’s (Westbrook, Maine/Assumption) at-bat and zipped over to third when Coppeta sac bunted. Jack Lynch (Portland, Maine/Merrimack) followed Coppeta to the plate and brought Romano home, sac grounding to second.

The Patriots proceeded to put two more men on – Arlo Pike (Buxton, Maine/USM) singled to third and Joy walked T.J. Carney-DeBord (Granville, Ohio/DePauw) – but neither got around, with Jake Plikus (Oakdale, Connecticut/Nichols) grounding out to end the inning.

Patriot Justin Coppeta watches a pitch sail past in an at-bat vs. the Nor’easters. Adam Birt / The American Journal

Jake Barresi (Wakefield, Maine/Nichols) started on the mound for the Patriots, and struck out the first Nor’easter he faced, Ryan Lavalle (Long Meadow, Massachusetts/Franklin Pierce). Chad Lavelle next grounded out to Coppeta (manning second for the Patriots), but Barresi gave up two straight walks after that, one to Ben Nelson (Gorham, Maine/Merrimack) and one to Tim Brigham (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Suffolk). Nelson stole third during Max Salevsky, jr.’s (Hollis, Maine/Plymouth State) at-bat, but Salevsky struck out swinging and the first came to a close.

Joy found a groove in the top of the second, hashing three straight Ks, but the Nor’easters had no luck putting up offense in the bottom of the stretch. The score stayed stuck at 1-0.

In the top of the third, the Patriots lunged ahead 4-0. Joy delivered strike one to lead-off hitter Romano, but delivered four consecutive balls after that and put Romano on. Coppeta bunted, reaching on an error – an overthrow to first – by Nor’easters third baseman Wade Sansone (Cumberland, Maine/Sewanee); Romano scooted over to second.

“They’re a very aggressive team,” Salevsky, sr. said of the Patriots. “They’ve got some good guys, some quick baserunners, guys that can put the bat on the ball. And you know what? In baseball – and I don’t mean to sound like Yogi Berra – when you put the bat on the ball, anything can happen. They made good things happen; they had three or four guys that really contributed.”

Ben Nelson arrives home for the Nor’easters as they attempt to come back from down 4-0. Adam Birt / The American Journal

Lynch then lined towards left: A second Sansone error and a Salevsky, jr. error at first allowed Romano and Coppeta to score and Lynch to reach safely. 3-0. A big Pike double – a standing double to deep left-center – brought Lynch home again for the crucial Patriots run, their fourth run, the run their opponents wouldn’t be able to dig out from under.

Oh, the Nor’easters tried, and tried like hell, to come back – they nearly did, too, falling just short. The team snagged their first run in the bottom of the fourth: Salevsky, jr. singled into right, dashed around to third when Alex George doubled into center and scored when Sansone sac-flied, also to center.

Arlo Pike recorded a critical big hit for the Patriots in the third. Adam Birt / The American Journal

The Nor’easters snagged two more in the bottom of the sixth, beginning with a first-pitch Nelson single grounder past Plikus, at third for the Patriots. Brigham followed Nelson into the box and smashed another grounder towards third; he reached first, and Nelson reached third, on a Plikus error. Salevsky, jr. ushered Nelson home with a sac fly to center, but Brigham held up at first, biding his time.

That time came soon: George walked, pushing Brigham to second, and Brigham zipped around to home on a Sansone single to center: 4-3.

“We had several opportunities,” Coach Salevsky said. “It could’ve gone either way. But they’re a super-good team.”

The Nor’easters looked hot to start the bottom of the seventh, when Chad Lavelle led off with a hard grounder single into left-center. Nelson golfed a shot, one that looked like it would drop in right, during his at-bat, but Patriot outfielder Ian Westphal (Portland, Maine/Southern Maine Community College) dove and reeled in the catch. From there, the Nor’easters’ momentum ebbed, their hopes collapsed and the game ended on a strikeout and a groundout.

The Nor’easters slipped on the loss to 7-1 this year. They reversed their fortunes vs. the Patriots in the second game of the teams’ double-header that night, winning 6-5 to advance to 8-1 on the summer. They’ve since dropped to 8-2, suffering a 7-4 defeat vs. the Norsemen.

The pair of games pushed the Patriots’ record to 7-3. Two days later, the team bested the Lightning 13-2 to jump to 8-3.

Kolby Lambert bats for the Nor’easters early in the second game of the team’s double-header with the Patriots. Adam Birt / The American Journal