GORHAM—Bonny Eagle pitcher Mason Ryan controlled Gorham thoroughly on Tuesday evening, July 16, leading his boys to a 3-1 victory.

“Pitching was a huge part of it,” Scots head coach Rick Hession said of his boys’ win. “Mason threw very well, kept hitters off balance, kept his composure when he hit adversity and threw his off-speed stuff for strikes.”

Ryan pitched a complete game, giving up one run on two hits. He threw three walks, and finished with 13 strikeouts.

Bode Meader turned in an exceptional game at short: Here, he aims a throw at first as a BE runner tries to outrace him.

“Ryan had what most every very good pitcher has: a combination of a good fastball and off-speed pitch,” Gorham head coach Dan Morin said. “He was one of three very impressive pitchers we’ve faced this summer, along with Nick Thompson from Scarborough and Jake Goutreau from Yarmouth.”

“Each of them was effective at throwing first strikes,” Morin went on, “and when that happens they can really put hitters behind the eight ball. You don’t know what’s coming next at the plate, another fastball or an excellent off-speed pitch. It’s not about pitchers throwing 90 that makes it all work; it’s about speed differential and location. Ryan was outstanding.”

Bonny Eagle threatened at the outset of the contest, Shaun Brilliant reaching third and Cam Phinney reaching second in the top of the first. Neither got any further than that, however, and the Scots deployed from the dugout for a turn in the field.

Ryan struck out the first two Rams batters he faced – Nick Williams and Brandon Gordon – before Bode Meader logged a single, a grounder into left. Jake Polchies grounded straight to first after that though, ending the inning. Meader was stranded.

BE teased their offensive hunger again in the top of the second, Cam MacDonald getting all the way to third. But Meader’s defensive work at shortstop – he played a mean game there – shut the Scots down. Meader sparked all three outs in the stretch. He started things off with an on-the-move, backhanded snag to catch Ryan out on a line-drive. Then he scooped up, on the run again, a Reegan Thomas infield bloop for a throw-out at first. Lastly he beat runner Garison Emerson with another throw-out to first, this one a brute. Gorham first baseman Colin McDonald deserves credit on those latter two plays as well – especially on the second of them. Great stretch.

Gorham’s Colin McDonald flips the ball over to third as BE’s Garison Emerson – caught in a pickle – scrambles for safety. Adam Birt / American Journal

“I was more than encouraged by Bode’s play at shortstop,” Morin said. “He played second base during the varsity spring season…He’ll be the first to tell you the season at second didn’t go as well as planned, but, man, did he play a whale of game at short, as he’s done a couple times this summer. He was aggressive, made great throws, and took charge of the infield like the leader he can be.”

“Bode’s best play was on a slow grounder just to the second-base side of the mound,” Morin said. “He got a great jump and made the play, and throw, coming across during a critical phase in the game. There are kids that are simply great athletes. No matter what they try, they’re good at it. Bode is one of them. I can’t wait to see him develop on the diamond over his last two years of high school. He also had our only two hits.”

Peter Richards started on the mound for Gorham. Adam Birt / American Journal

Ryan continued to perform powerfully on the mound for the Scots in the bottom of the second, when he hashed two more Ks and lured a third Ram into a flyout. He added two Ks in the bottom of the third, too, before Bonny Eagle finally broke the 0-0 deadlock in the top of the fourth. Jake Humphrey lined a single into deep right to kick things off, then stole second during Brilliant’s at-bat. Brilliant soon grounded out to Meader, but Humphrey advanced another 90 feet; he dashed home on a Cam Phinney sac fly to right. 1-0.

The Rams evened things up in the bottom of the fourth: Meader walked onto first, stole second during Polchies’s at-bat and moved to third when Polchies grounded out. Meader lingered on third while Ryan loaded the bases with back-to-back hit batters; Meader eventually made it home on Sean Boylen contact.

“Mason was trying to go in on some guys and had good movement on his fastball,” Hession said, “so unfortunately he hit a few. But he did a very good job of not letting it affect what he was trying to do.”

The scoreboard remained stuck at 1-1 through the next two innings. Ryan continued to throw strikeouts for the Scots, piling on three in the bottom of the fifth and another in bottom of the sixth, and Meader reached third again for the Rams (with Polchies on his tail at second), also in the bottom of the sixth. Neither team, though, could seize the momentum.

Jake Humphrey, eager to get off third, scans the skies as a teammate connects at home. Adam Bir t / American Journal

In the top of the seventh, Bonny Eagle got two more boys around. Ryan Hale laid down a perfect, first-pitch bunt, a trickler down the third-base line, to reach; Hale stole second during Humphrey’s at-bat and zipped to third when Humphrey sacrificed.

Brilliant then bunted too; McDonald, on the mound in relief, dove forward in hopes of catching Brilliant’s ball, but came up just inches short. Had it been successful, McDonald’s bid would’ve led to a double-play and the end of the inning. Instead, Hale made it to home for 2-1, and Brilliant made it to first. Brilliant advanced to second when McDonald balked, and rounded all the way to home on a Nate Morse double into right. 3-1.

Gorhamite Bode Meader tries to sweep a tag on Scots base-stealer Ryan Hale. (Hale won the duel.) Adam Birt / American Journal

“I took Peter Richards out with the game tied and a runner on third and one out in the seventh,” Morin said. Richards started at pitcher for the Rams. “Bonny Eagle was into the meat of its order and they’d seen Peter a few times. It was time for a change.”

“I had Colin warming up; he’s a hard thrower that can be effective with a breaking ball,” Morin continued. “His fastball would also be a big change for their batters, and hopefully we could pick up a quick strikeout for two outs and then get out of the inning still tied. Rick Hession is a very good coach and while I was thinking about the pitcher-hitter battle he smartly called for a squeeze. The hitter popped it up and Colin made a great effort to snag it in the air, but missed it by just a hair.”

Gorham had one last chance to save their hides, but went down one-two-three in the bottom of the seventh. BE had won.

“It was a tough loss,” Morin said. “Peter pitched very well. He’s another guy with good mound presence. He doesn’t throw hard, but does a great job at keeping hitters off-balance and he’s one of the best pitchers I’ve seen at holding runners on base. Many lefties do a good job, but Peter has runners diving back when he goes to the plate and breaking for second when he sends it to first. I’ve rarely seen anything like it.”

The game was actually the first half of a double-header. Gorham took the second game 9-3, despite the Scots’ grabbing an early, 3-0 lead on runs by Bode Daycoombs, Colby Frost and John Bickford.Cam Phinney reels in a throw at first for BE. Adam Birt / American Journal

“We were able to put up 9 runs on 14 hits in the second game,” Morin. “The incoming freshman and sophomores have literally improved every game. They started off slowly this summer, mostly as the incoming freshman were adjusting to better pitching and the speed of the game in the field.”

First-year Rams Quinn Dillon and Noah Flynn had three and two hits, respectively. Cody Sellick and Charlie Gay, soon to be Gorham sophomores, each had two, as did Meader. Caleb Hendrix, also a sophomore, drove in two runs with a double.

“Gorham’s bats came alive and we struggled defensively,” Hession said of the second game. “I think we pitched the ball pretty well overall – Emerson and John Dugan – but had a few rough defensive innings. We also left a lot of guys on base, so that hurt us as well.”

Caleb Hendrix, at first for the Rams, grabs a throw; momentarily, he’ll tag out Scots runner Jake Humphrey. Adam Birt / American Journal

Ian Obrey gets beneath a flyball for the Rams. Adam Birt / American Journal

Scot Nate Morse inches off second. Adam Birt/ American Journal

Garison Emerson pitches for the Scots. Adam Birt / American Journal

Nick Williams mans second for the Rams. Adam Birt / American Journal

Gorham second baseman Josh Ball reaches out to grab a throw as Scot runner Bode Daycoombs slides in for a steal. Adam Birt / American Journal

Gorhamite Quinn Dillon chases a grounder. Adam Birt / American Journal

BE third baseman John Dugan delivers a fielded grounder cross-diamond to first. Adam Birt / American Journal

Gorham runner Ian Obrey can’t get to the plate before BE catcher Ethan Scott tags him out. Adam Birt / American Journal

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