OLD ORCHARD BEACH—Nor’easter Ben Gravel (Rochester, New Hampshire/St. Joseph’s) drove in rostermate Kolby Lambert (Naples/University of Southern Maine) in the bottom of the second at the Ballpark on Thursday evening, Aug. 1, stealing the last lead of the game for the team and securing an eventual 6-4 W.

“This team is solid,” said Nor’easters head coach Tony Miner. “One through – our whole roster. We can put anybody out there and they’re going to compete, they’re going to hit the ball really well. We’re actually short-staffed on the mound right now.”

The Norsemen jumped on top to begin the game, notching a pair of runs in the top of the first. Riley Bartell (Portland/University of Maine Farmington) drove in the first of the two with a line-drive single over leaping Nor’easters shortstop Ben Nelson (Gorham/Merrimack). Brody Dupuis (Hooksett, New Hampshire/Bridgton Academy/University of Maryland, Baltimore County) drove in the second with a single grounder into wide left that bounced over the glove of Nor’easters third baseman Tim Brigham (Cape Elizabeth/Suffolk).

Kolby Lambert slides into second on a safe steal. Adam Birt / American Journal

2-0 Norsemen to start things off, but the Nor’easters responded in a big way in the bottom of the first. Nelson blasted a ball into left to begin the push. He maybe should’ve stopped at first, but he tried for second – and somehow got it, beating the throw-out attempt from leftfield by dodging the tag with a flounce mid-slide. One spectator (not this one, who only wishes he could claim credit for such on-point language) described the maneuver as “doing the worm.”

Hey, whatever works.

Norsemen starting pitcher Mike Doherty (Scarborough/St. Joe’s) next walked Nor’easter Logan LaRochelle (Rochester, New Hampshire/Great Bay Community College) onto base. Lambert then singled into left for bases loaded.

Doherty walked Brigham to shove Nelson across the plate: 2-1. Gravel grounded to third – where the Norseman infielder bobbled, giving Gravel time to reach first and LaRochelle time to reach home: 2-2. Max Salevsky (Hollis/Plymouth State) sacrificed, ushering Lambert his final 90 feet. 3-2. Lastly, Wade Sansone (Cumberland/Sewanee) grounded to third, where the Norseman baseman opted to catch Gravel on his way in, allowing Brigham to score.

4-2. But the Nor’easters’ advantage didn’t last long, as the Norsemen balanced the books in the top of the second. Will Barnard (Portland/USM) kicked off the process with a short club, an infield grounder that pulled Salevsky a dozen or so feet away from his post at first. Salevsky fielded the ball, and underhanded it to LaRochelle – the Nor’easters’ starter on the mound – as LaRochelle zipped in to cover the base. LaRochelle grabbed the lob no problem, but missed the bag as he strode. Barnard was safe.

Garrett Fosher (Stratham, New Hampshire/Curry) reached base behind Barnard, and both zoomed around to home when Peter Stauber (Greely/SMCC) volleyed a deep-right piece of contact. 4-4.

Max Salevsky leans out to grab a throw, at first for the Nor’easters. Adam Birt / American Journal

At the pace it was going, the game looked like it would escalate on the scoreboard for all seven innings, the sides neck-and-neck. But the Norsemen’s offense dried up entirely after Barnard and Fosher scored, while the Nor’easters’ bats churned out a couple more runs.

Lambert singled in the bottom of the second – another shot into left for him – then advanced a base on a wild pitch during Brigham’s at-bat. Brigham walked, but never got around. Lambert scored for 5-4 on a Gravel shot into right, but after that, Gravel got caught out at second on a fielder’s choice and so did Salevsky: outs two and three for the team.

“For us, it’s just about getting guys on base,” Miner said. “Once we get guys on base, our guys are patient at the plate and they produce runs. Especially when we’ve got guys in scoring position. We’ve had success all year getting guys in when we needed to. You don’t go 19-4 without being able to produce.”

The Nor’easters added one more in the bottom of the fourth: once again, Lambert did the honors. Lambert grounded to third, reaching safely when the crossfield throw pulled Norseman first baseman Evan Balzano (Saco/Wake Tech Community College) off the bag. Lambert then stole second, and gained third on a passed ball, during Brigham’s at-bat. Brigham soon blasted a shot into center: Fosher, the Norseman outfielder there, grabbed it and hurled it home, hoping to catch Lambert out. But Fosher’s throw came in a bit too late: Lambert hit the dirt, then sprang up into the air as he crossed the plate. 6-4.

Both teams got further men on as the later innings unfolded, but neither would hash another point. 6-4 the final.

“It was more of a team thing tonight,” Miner said, asked which of his boys played well. “I think it was scattered around a little bit. We hit the ball well tonight, we got hits when we needed to. Impatient at the plate earlier in the game; typically, I think, in games like this, we put up 12, 14 runs.”

Will Barnard mans short for the Norsemen. Adam Birt / American Journal

Miner did applaud both his pitchers, Emery Dinsmore (Waldo/Colby) and LaRochelle, who’s not really a pitcher by trade. “Emery came in and did a great job on the mound to finish,” Miner said. “He’s been consistent all year. He’s one of the top pitchers in the League, if not the top. Ultimately it came down to him, kept us in the ballgame. And Logan kept us in there for a few innings, did what he had to do. Our sticks did enough. But Emery came in and really shut the door.”

The Nor’easters spent the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League’s regular season atop the standings, so they earned a bye through the first round of the League’s playoffs, which began on Sunday, Aug. 4. Their first bout in the bracketing will be a rematch with the Norsemen (ranked fifth) on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The Norsemen, for their part, powered through the quarterfinals, defeating the No. 4 Lightning 7-0 to earn their semis berth vs. the Nor’easters on Tuesday.

The GNCBL was established a couple years back as an affordable, quality developmental option for college players from around New England and beyond. The League is online at www.gncbl.com, and on Twitter and Instagram both at @GNCBLBaseball. It’s also easily searchable on Facebook.

Ben Nelson, at short for the Nor’easters, watches the pitch. Adam Birt / American Journal

Drew Healey reels in a throw for an out at second. Adam Birt / American Journal

Nolan Brown leads off second for the Nor’easters. Adam Birt / American Journal


Comments are not available on this story.