OLD ORCHARD BEACH—Windjammers Jake LaPlume (Old Orchard Beach/St. Joseph’s), Zack Mann (Gray/Central Maine Community College) and Caleb Burpee (Kennebunk/Southern Maine Community College) all scored in the top of the third on Thursday evening, Aug. 1, pushing the team to a 4-0 lead vs. the Lightning.

The ‘Jammers went on to claim a workmanlike, 7-2 W over the Lightning, a result that played out at The Ballpark, in OOB.

“We pitched well, first of all,” Windjammers assistant coach Ethan Wells said. “And we sparked some offense in the first couple innings, and our defense stood pat. And we were able to take advantage of a couple of miscues out on the field from [the Lightning].”

Jake LaPlume leads off second for the ‘Jammers. Adam Birt / American Journal

LaPlume put the ‘Jammers on the board early, scoring in the top of the first when Cam Cousins (Wells/SMCC) grounded to short. Cousins himself reached first safely on a low throw that got past the Lightning baseman there, but he didn’t make it home again before the inning concluded.

Derek Smith (Kennebunk/Bryant) threatened to balance things out in the bottom of the first, doubling to deep right-center and eventually gaining third. Smith found himself stranded when Caden Horton (South Portland/University of Southern Maine) popped out a few batters later, however.

The second elapsed uneventfully – and fairly quickly, with just seven batters total taking turns in the box – before the third proved pivotal.

LaPlume kicked off the third with a line single into center; he advanced to second when a bouncy Mann grounder hopped over Horton’s glove. LaPlume moved 90 feet further on a high Burpee single – a ball that somehow dropped in shallow center. He then raced home when Cousins sacrificed.

Finally, both Mann and Burpee crossed the plate thanks to Riley Hasson (South Portland/SMCC): Hasson singled into center, but the Lightning outfielder’s throw home – his attempt to prevent Mann from tallying – resulted in a misplay. Not only did Mann tally, but so did Burpee. Hasson rounded all the way to third (he would end up stranded).

The Windjammers added the 5-0 notch in the top of the fourth.

“I think we all contributed at the plate,” Wells said. “Everyone contributed with a hit or a walk or a timely hit. We had some two-out hitting in the first couple innings that helped us.”

Zack Mann gets beneath a fly ball for the Windjammers. Adam Birt / American Journal

The Lightning picked up two in the bottom of the fifth, when Lucas Francis (Lisbon/USM) drove in a pair of his teammates with a double to wide left. In the top of the sixth, the Lightning did a fine job keeping the ‘Jammers from building on their advantage, throwing out two would-be scorers at the plate.

But by now fate had decided the outcome of this one. The ‘Jammers picked up two more in the top of the seventh and held the Lightning silent in their own last ups. 7-2 the final.

The victory moved the ‘Jammers to 9-14 on the summer. The Lightning slipped on their loss to 7-14-1.

“We’re certainly playing our best baseball right now,” Wells said. “We started off sort of slow at the beginning of the season, and now we’ve really turned it on. High hopes, for sure.”

The No. 4 Lightning were eliminated in the first round of the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League’s postseason, which got underway on Sunday, Aug. 4. The fifth-ranked Norsemen offed the team, 7-0. The No. 3 Windjammers, on the other hand, won their quarterfinals bout, 4-3 over the six-seed Mavericks.

The GNCBL was founded in 2017 to provide an affordable, high-quality developmental option for college players from around New England (and beyond). The League is on the web at www.gncbl.com, and on Twitter and Instagram both at @GNCBLBaseball. It’s also easily searchable on Facebook.

Lucas Francis hurls a groundball from his post at short, aiming to catch a ‘Jammers baserunner out at first. Adam Birt / American Journal

Caden Horton (South Portland/USM) mans second for the Lightning. Adam Birt / American Journal

Will Neleski (Cumberland/USM) fires from third toward first for the Lightning. Adam Birt / American Journal