Members of the Mainers congratulate each other on the field after Sanford’s 8-5 win over the North Adams SteepleCats at Goodall Park in the season finale. (SAM BONSEY/Journal Tribune)

SANFORD — For designated hitter Elliott Curtis, his time purpose in the New England Collegiate Baseball League this summer with the Sanford Mainers was to improve each day. 

His hard work paid off in the Mainers final game of the season Thursday night against North Adams in Sanford at Goodall Park. Curtis finished with two hits and launched a three-run home run to right field during a six-run third as the Mainers downed the SteepleCats 8-5.

“Getting a little more experience every day (this season) was huge,” Curtis said. “I feel like I got better as the season went on.”

Consecutive singles from Sterling Hayes and Drew DeMartino put Sanford (17-27) in business in the third off North Adams reliever Joe Guerette. Shane Marshall followed and hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Hayes, who advanced to third on DeMartino’s single, to make it 2-0.

After Connor Tate singled to right, Erik Stock hit a grounder to Andrew Pedone at short, who looked to turn a double play and get out of the inning, but second baseman Brian Picone couldn’t field the throw, which allowed DeMartino to cross the plate to extend the lead. 

Orlando Adams forced a walk and Nick Howie beat out a grounder which could’ve ended the inning again to score Tate and push Sanford’s lead to 4-0. 

Curtis then followed with his towering three-run shot over the right field wall to give the Mainers a commanding 7-0 lead. 

“(Hitting the home run) felt great,” Curtis said. “It’s kind of like you don’t feel contact sometimes when you hit it really well. I got up 2-0 in the count, and I was just looking for a fastball middle-in.”

The SteepleCats (24-18) got in the scoring column in the fourth when Anthony Clark doubled in Picone. A single from Scout Knotts, scoring Pedone, made it a five-run game in the fifth, but Sanford responded with a run in the sixth when Curtis scored on a throwing error from Pedone.

North Adams rallied for three runs in the ninth behind a two-run home run from Matthew Koperniak off Sanford reliever Jacob Parker. But Parker settled down to strike out the next two batters to end the game and the season for Sanford. 

“This is a great group of guys,” Elliott said. “I really enjoyed being here for the summer, and I love all these guys.”

Before the game, Shane Marshall was honored with the Neil Olson General Manager’s Award, which is given annually to the Mainer “who best exemplifies the spirit and enthusiasm of Sanford’s Organization.”

Marshall, who finished with a run scored and an RBI, was shocked with the honor.

“It was a surprise,” Marshall said. “I thought someone like Nick Howie or Darren Williams might get it … I was just overwhelmed.”

Marshall ended the season as one of Sanford’s hottest hitters, batting .380 (27 for 81) over his final 14 games, and he hopes to use that momentum as he heads into his sophomore year at Binghamton University. 

“I made some adjustments with my swing, and I hope that gets me in a grove again when we go play fall-ball,” Marshall said. “I’m pretty excited for this upcoming year at school.” 

While Marshall hopes to have a big second year with the Bearcats, he’ll cherish the time he spent in Sanford.

“I’m definitely going to miss the guys (on the team),” Marshall said. “The coaches and the fans were amazing, but this was really a great group of guys.”

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