Portland senior Danny Tocci delivers the first pitch of the season, to Biddeford junior Kyle Dion, Tuesday evening at Hadlock Field. The Tigers prevailed, 7-2. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

BOX SCORE

Biddeford 7 Portland 2

B- 030 310 0- 7 7 2
P- 002 000 0- 2 5 2

Top 2nd
McAlevey doubled to left, Ham and Donovan scored. Viger singled to left, McAlevey scored.

Bottom 3rd
DiMillo scored on error. Tocci scored on error.

Top 4th
McAlevey doubled to right-center, Camire and Kelly scored. Dion singled to center, McAlevey scored.

Top 5th
Ham flied out to right, Crowell scored.

Multiple hits:
B- McAlevey
P- DiMillo

Runs:
B- McAlevey 2, Camire, Crowell, Donovan, Ham, Kelly
P- DiMillo, Tocci

RBI:
B- McAlevey 4, Dion, Ham, Viger

Doubles:
B- McAlevey 2

Stolen bases:
B- Crowell
P- Tocci 2, DiMillo, Winship

Left on base:
B- 3
P- 5

Dion, Camire (6) and Donovan; Tocci, Winship (6), Fay-LeBlanc (7) and Gignac.

B:
Dion (W, 1-0) 5 IP 5 H 2 R 0 ER 0 BB 8 K 1 WP
Camire 2 IP 0 H 0 R 1 BB 2 K

P:
Tocci (L, 0-1) 5 IP 7 H 7 R 7 ER 1 BB 3 K 1 HBP
Winship 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K
Fay-LeBlanc 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K

Time: 1:36

PORTLAND—After the 2020 baseball season was wiped away by the pandemic, early success in 2021 will be largely predicated on varsity experience.

Biddeford has some.

Portland has virtually none.

And that difference went a long way toward determining a winner in the teams’ season opener Tuesday evening at Hadlock Field.

Junior Kyle Dion didn’t allow an earned run in his five innings of work on the mound and senior first baseman Alex McAlevey hit a pair of two-run doubles to spark the Tigers to victory.

McAlevey’s first double came in the top of the second and he came home on a single from senior leftfielder Caleb Viger for a 3-0 lead.

Portland got two runs back, both on errors, in bottom of the third, but McAlevey struck again in the top of the fourth, with another two-run double. He scored again, this time on a single from Dion, for a 6-2 advantage.

In the fifth, sophomore centerfielder Brady Ham hit a sacrifice fly and that was more than enough for Biddeford to prevail, 7-2.

“I have a lot of seniors and this is the last hurrah for a lot of those guys,” said Tigers coach Keith LeBlanc. “I have a lot of good athletes who play multiple sports. They’re excited to be out there.”

Long wait ends

After not throwing a single pitch or taking a single swing a year ago, you can be sure that Biddeford and Portland appreciate being back in action this spring.

Tuesday, on a very pleasant April evening (61 degrees at first pitch), the Tigers beat the Bulldogs at Hadlock Field for the second straight time, getting timely offense to make the difference.

Bulldogs senior starter Danny Tocci sparkled in the top of the first, retiring Dion on a fly ball to right on the game’s first pitch, fanning senior second baseman Alec Descoteaux on three pitches, then getting senior shortstop Ashton Crowell to pop out to first on the second pitch for about an easy an inning as a hurler can ask for.

Dion set Portland down in order in the bottom half, striking out freshman centerfielder Reegan Buck, getting Tocci to bounce out to second, then getting sophomore shortstop Henry Bibeau to ground out to short, where Crowell made a nice throw from the hole.

Biddeford’s bats came alive in the top of the second and the visitors went on top to stay.

Ham led off by beating out an infield single down the third base line. After junior third baseman Kalvin Camire popped out foul to third, Tocci plunked senior catcher Aidan Donovan with a pitch. After senior Scott Kelly struck out, that set the stage for McAlevey, who lined the ball just fair down the leftfield line and both Ham and Donovan came around to score.

Viger followed by singling through the hole between third and short and McAlevey scored to make it 3-0, with Viger taking second on the throw.

Dion grounded out to second to end the inning, but the Tigers had control.

In the bottom half, Dion got sophomore rightfielder Andrew Brewer to ground out to short on a bang-bang play, then fanned junior designated hitter Grant Crosby, but junior first baseman Colby Winship produced Portland’s first hit, a bloop single to right. Winship stole second, but he was stranded when Dion fanned junior catcher James Gignac on a 3-2 pitch.

Descoteaux led off the top of the third and reached on an error, but Crowell hit a high pop up near second  base which was misplayed by senior second baseman Nick Becker, but Becker recovered, got the ball, stepped on second and threw on to first for the double play.

“When Danny’s on the mound, the other eight guys haven’t played varsity baseball and if we give extra outs, we’ll be in trouble,” said Portland coach Mike Rutherford.

Ham’s pop out to short then ended the frame.

The Bulldogs then got on the board in the bottom half, thanks in large part to Biddeford’s generosity.

After Becker lined out to center on the first pitch, junior third baseman Aidan DiMillo singled to right and stole second base. Buck struck out looking, but with Tocci at the plate, a wild pitch moved DiMillo to third. Tocci then walked and stole second and when Descoteaux threw the ball back to Dion, it got away and DiMillo was able to come home. Tocci then took off for third, stole the base and when Donovan’s throw was wild, Tocci raced home to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Bibeau followed with a single to center, but Brewer popped out to shortstop to end the frame.

The Tigers answered right back in the top of the fourth with three more runs.

After Tocci walked Camire, Donovan grounded into a third-to-second force out, but Kelly hit a sharp grounder down the third base line, which DiMillo dove to stop, but he didn’t have a play and Kelly reached on an infield single. That brought McAlevey back to the plate and this time, he went the other way, doubling to right-center, chasing home both Camire and Kelly for a 5-2 lead.

“The kids did a nice job swinging at pitches they could hit,” LeBlanc said. “They were aggressive and it paid off.”

Viger watched strike three, but Dion helped himself with a single to center to add another run. Descoteaux ended the frame by popping out foul to Tocci, but Biddeford was in control, up, 6-2.

Dion quickly set the Bulldogs down in the bottom of the fourth, striking out both Crosby and Winship and getting Gignac to pop out to second.

The Tigers added one more run in the top of the fifth.

Crowell got things started by doubling past third, then he stole third. That set the stage for Ham, who flew out deep to right and his sacrifice fly brought home Crowell to make it 7-2.

Portland threatened in the bottom half, as Becker singled up the middle, then DiMillo blooped a single to right, but Dion struck out both Buck and Tocci, then got Bibeau to line out to third to end it.

Winship replaced Tocci on the mound in the top of the sixth and he got Kelly to line out to left and after McAlevey reached on an error, Winship got Viger to ground back to the mound and Dion to fly out to left.

In the bottom half, Camire replaced Dion and got Brewer to pop out to short, caught Crosby looking at strike three, then fanned Winship for the third out.

In the seventh, sophomore Liam Fay-LeBlanc came on to pitch for the Bulldogs and got Descoteaux to line out to third, Crowell to fly out to center and Ham to watch strike three.

Portland wasn’t able to rally in the bottom half.

Junior pinch-hitter Ryan Becker drew a walk leading off, but Camire got junior pinch-hitter Nate Isajar to ground out to first, senior pinch-hitter Trey Roberts to ground out to third, then ended it by getting senior pinch-hitter Sam Sabatine to pop out to first and Biddeford prevailed, 7-2.

“The energy in the dugout was great,” said LeBlanc. “The guys were excited for each other, for every play. It felt really good.”

Dion earned the win by not allowing an earned run on just five hits in five innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight.

“(Kyle’s) one of our better pitchers,” LeBlanc said. “He did a nice job today just throwing strikes. He was feeling good and he looked great.”

Camire didn’t allow a hit or run in his two innings of relief. He walked one and struck out two.

McAlevey paced the offense with two doubles, two runs scored and four RBI. Camire, Crowell, Donovan, Ham and Kelly also touched home plate and Dion, Ham and Viger had RBI.

The Tigers stranded three runners.

Portland got two hits from DiMillo, runs scored from DiMillo and Tocci and a pair of stolen bases from Tocci.

The Bulldogs left five runners on.

Tocci took the loss after giving up seven runs on seven hits in five innings. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out three.

Winship and Fay-LeBlanc each had a clean inning of relief.

“I like the lefties, Winship and Fay-LeBlanc,” said Rutherford.

Portland played hard, especially for a squad which lost much of its preseason to quarantine.

“We could have delayed this game another week or so, but the kids wanted to play,” said Rutherford. “Hadlock Field was open and it was going to be a nice day. Not playing for 10 days obviously hurt. We had four exhibition games scheduled we couldn’t play and we couldn’t practice. It showed a little bit. We’re young. It was the juniors’ first game and it wasn’t an exhibition game, or a game at the Oaks. It was at Hadlock Field. There was some nervousness out there.”

Getting better

Biddeford has the pieces in place to be in contention all season.

“It’s early,” said LeBlanc. “I think we’ll be alright. We just need game reps.”

Portland plays host to South Portland Friday.

“We’ll use these early games to figure out a lineup, defensively and offensively,” Rutherford said. “Our issue is we have to get way better defensively. The kids are really happy to play. Just to get them out here is great.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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