OLD ORCHARD BEACH—The Nor’easters surged ahead of the Norsemen 6-1 in the bottom of the third on Sunday afternoon, July 14. Drew Healey (Rochester, New Hampshire/St. Joseph’s) scored the last run of the stretch, after which the Nor’easters held on to ultimately best their opponents 7-3.

“I’ve told these guys that, right now, we’re in the second half of the season, and coming into the second half is when you want to start hitting your crescendo,” Nor’easters assistant coach Max Salevsky said. “First half of the season is getting reacclimated to ball, and then, after the Fourth of July, it’s about getting yourself ready to stand on the field when you get to your college program.”

The Nor’easters made quick work of the Norsemen in the top of the first: Starting pitcher Emery Dinsmore (Waldo, Maine/Colby) struck out the first batter he faced, then coaxed the next two into an infield fly and a line-out.

Nolan Brown (Gorham, Maine/Husson) takes a cut at the plate. Adam Birt / The American Journal

Dinsmore’s teammates then took full advantage of their own initial ups: Ben Nelson (Gorham, Maine/Merrimack) led off for the team, singling a hard grounder into right field. Ryan Lavelle (Long Meadow, Massachusetts/Franklin Pierce) followed Nelson to the plate and promptly smashed a two-RBI homer over the wall in left.

Healey and Kolby Lambert (Naples, Maine/USM) both picked up singles as the bottom of the first wore on, but neither would get around.

Salevsky took a moment to applaud a few of his boys by name. “Ryan Lavelle,” he said, asked who played well. “Kolby Lambert is coming along very well – and he’s happy about that, because he’s been working a lot. A lot of these guys, they work a lot of hours, so they don’t have a lot of time, in their off time, to work at baseball. And it takes reps to come back.”

The Norsemen got one back in the top of the second: Riley Bartell (Portland, Maine/University of Maine Farmington) began the push with a deep triple almost to the centerfield wall. Bartell came home again momentarily, when Evan Balzano (Saco, Maine/Wake Tech Community College) sacrificed to first. 2-1.

The Nor’easters stumbled in the bottom of the second, going down one-two-three on a trio of flyouts, one each to rightfield, centerfield and leftfield.

Norsemen Will Barnard (Portland, Maine/USM) grounded to kick off the third, but beat the throw and arrived safely on first; Barnard eventually made his way to third, but his teammates’ efforts at the plate stalled out after that, stranding him.

The Nor’easters’ Kolby Lambert steals second. Adam Birt / The American Journal

That’s when the Nor’easters broke things open: Lavelle reached first, hit by a pitch; Tim Brigham (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Suffolk) followed him onto base on a walk; Alex George (Hollis, New Hampshire/Southern New Hampshire University) RBI-doubled to the wall; and Healey two-RBI-doubled into center. 5-1. Finally, Healey advanced to third on a passed ball during Lambert’s at-bat and home when Lambert grounded out to second.

Up 6-1, the Nor’easters needed only a bit of luck and some respectable defense to wrap up the W. And while the Norsemen did hash two more points – Balzano scored in the top of the fourth and the top of the fifth – things settled out in the Nor’easters’ favor. Lavelle added the team’s last run of the day in the sixth: 7-3 the result.

“Defensively, we’re very strong,” Salevskey said. “We’re a very good team. Really, all the teams are. The Norsemen are coming along, the Patriots are coming along.”

The Nor’easters currently own first place in the GNCBL (that’s the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League); the Norsemen reside in fourth at. But not every team in the League has played the same number of games to this point, a fact which renders those standings tentative.

The GNCBL is enjoying its third summer as a developmental option for talented college athletes from Maine, elsewhere in New England and even beyond.

“Now’s the time, you want to be standing next to the guy that wants to take your place on the field and show why you’re better prepared than he is,” Salevsky said of the season’s picking up steam. “You want to have crisper at-bats, you want to be playing well in the field and you want to have that dynamic of teamwork.”

Mike Doherty (Scarborough, Maine/St. Joe’s) logged some time on the mound for the Norsemen. Adam Birt / The American Journal