Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted, left, congratulates senior Jack McGrath, center, after McGrath closes out the Clippers’ 12-8 victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. McGrath not only earned the save, he also had three hits and drove in four runs. Hoffer photos.

BOX SCORE (Game One)

Yarmouth 12 Greely 8

G- 420 101 0- 8 6 1
Y- 00(10) 020 X- 12 9 4

Top 1st
Nolin doubled to left, Cloutier scored. Williams was hit by pitch, Axelsen scored. Neleski walked, Nolin scored. Jowett walked, Kolben scored.

Top 2nd
Kolben doubled to right-center, Axelsen and Nolin scored.

Bottom 3rd
McCosh walked, Waeldner scored. Gautreau singled to center, McGrath and Sullivan scored. Cheever walked, McCosh scored. Waeldner singled to right, Gautreau and Dickinson scored. McGrath doubled to left, Cheever, Waeldner and Robichaud scored. Brewer singled to left, McGrath scored.

Top 4th
Kolben scored on wild pitch.

Bottom 5th
McGrath singled to left, Waeldner scored. Sullivan flew out to center, Robichaud scored.

Top 6th
Williams scored on error.

Multiple hits:
G- Kolben, Nolin
Y- Gautreau, McGrath 3, Waeldner

Runs:
G- Axelsen, Kolben, Nolin 2, Cloutier, Williams
Y- Robichaud 3, McGrath, Waeldner 2, Cheever, Dickinson, Gautreau, McCosh, Sullivan

RBI:
G- Kolben 2, Jowett, Neleski, Nolin, Williams
Y- McGrath 4, Gautreau, Waeldner 2, Brewer, Cheever, McCosh, Sullivan

Doubles:
G- Kolben, Nolin 2, Neleski
Y- McGrath

Stolen bases:
G- Carter
Y- Waeldner

Left on base:
G- 9
Y- 5

Allard, Jowett (3), Axelsen (6) and Kolben; Dickinson, Venden (2), McGrath (5) and Brewer.

G:
Allard (L, 0-1) 2.2 IP 4 H 10 R 10 ER 7 BB 5 K 1 WP 1 HBP
Jowett 2.1 IP 5 H 2 R 2 ER 0 BB 2 K
Axelsen 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 1 K

Y:
Dickinson 1 IP 1 H 4 R 4 ER 5 BB 1 K 1 HBP
Venden (W, 1-0) 3.2 IP 3 H 3 R 2 ER 2 BB 2 K 1 WP
McGrath (Save, 1) 2.1 IP 2 H 1 R 0 ER 0 BB 2 K

Time: 2:18

YARMOUTH—The Yarmouth Clippers are never out of a game.

And never was that never-say-die attitude more on display than in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon against the visiting Greely Rangers.

The Clippers were down by four runs before they even registered an out and trailed by six runs heading to the bottom of the third inning, when they roared back in staggering fashion.

With two outs and two on, Yarmouth managed to push across 10 runs, thanks to a pair of bases loaded walks, two-run singles from senior designated hitter Jake Gautreau and junior rightfielder Matt Waeldner, a crushing bases loaded, three-run triple from senior second baseman Jack McGrath and an RBI single from senior catcher Max Brewer.

To no one’s surprise, the Rangers refused to go quietly and after junior catcher Ryan Kolben scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth, Greely brought its slugging senior centerfielder Brady Nolin to the plate as the tying run in the top of the fifth, but McGrath came on in relief to register the out.

The Clippers then added a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the frame, as McGrath had an RBI single and junior first baseman Gibby Sullivan added a sacrifice fly.

McGrath slammed the door from there and Yarmouth prevailed, 12-8.

The Rangers then captured the nightcap, 13-3, as this time, the Clippers couldn’t rally from a big early deficit and as a result, each squad is now 3-2 on the season.

“We’ve been trying to build this thing and maintain a certain way of playing baseball at Yarmouth High School and that (first game) was the definition of what we are,” said veteran Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted.

Stunning turnaround

Greely opened with an 9-4 loss at Class A contender Oxford Hills, then returned to its dominant pitching ways.

First, Nolin threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 home win over Fryeburg Academy. The Rangers then blanked visiting Yarmouth, 2-0, Tuesday, as Nolin took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before settling for a two-hitter.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, started with wins at Brunswick (4-3) and at home over Mt. Ararat (9-3) before Tuesday’s 2-0 loss at Greely.

Saturday, on a pleasant (55-degree) but windy afternoon, the Clippers looked dead in the water from the get-go of game one before roaring back for a scintillating victory.

Senior Will Dickinson earned the start and it began inauspiciously when he walked Rangers junior shortstop Max Cloutier on a 3-2 pitch. Freshman third baseman Mark Axelsen drew a walk as well, but Nolin wasn’t as patient, ripping a double to left to score Cloutier with the game’s first run, sending Axelsen to third in the process. After Kolben walked to load the bases, junior leftfielder Brooks Williams took one for the team, getting hit by a pitch to send home Axelsen with the game’s second run.

Greely junior Brooks Williams is hit by a pitch from senior Will Dickinson with the bases loaded in the top of the first inning.

Neleski kept the good times rolling for the Rangers by walking on a 3-2 pitch to score Nolin with another run. Senior first baseman Dawson Jowett then walked as well and Greely had a 4-0 lead.

The Rangers weren’t able to put it away, however, as senior Grant Allard, Greely’s starting pitcher, flew out to shallow left, freshman rightfielder Jackson Leding looked at strike three and Cloutier grounded out to short to end the 20-minute first half-inning.

Allard then worked out of a jam in the bottom half.

After junior leftfielder Matt Robichaud lined out to Williams in left, McGrath grounded the first pitch he saw through the hole between short and third for a single. After Allard wild pitched McGrath to second, Brewer walked on a full count pitch, but Allard fanned both junior first baseman Gibby Sullivan and junior third baseman Jack McCosh on off-speed pitches to end the frame.

Senior Blake Venden came on to pitch for Yarmouth in the top of the second, where the Rangers added to their advantage.

Axelsen started the inning by popping up to short, but Andrew Cheever couldn’t catch it and the ball dropped for an error. Nolin then crushed another double, this one to left-center, to put runners at second and third. That brought up Kolben, who lined a double to right-center, scoring both runners for a 6-0 advantage. Venden caught Williams looking at strike three and got Neleski to line to center, but Jowett reached on a throwing error by McCosh, putting runners at the corners. Sophomore Sam Carter came on to run for Jowett and stole second and Greely was on the brink of ending all doubt, but on a 3-2 pitch, Venden fanned Allard.

In the bottom of the second, Allard had no trouble, striking out Gautreau on a 3-2 pitch, Dickinson to watch strike three and Cheever to fly out to center.

Venden had a much-needed easy top of the third, getting Leding to fly out to center, Cloutier to pop out to short and Axelsen to pop out to second.

Yarmouth then had an inning for the ages in the bottom of the third, scoring 10 runs in just over 20 minutes, although it felt like the rally happened in the blink of an eye.

Waeldner got things started by walking on a 3-2 pitch. Robichaud then grounded to junior second baseman Liam Sheff, who threw to Cloutier for a force out. After McGrath walked on another 3-2 pitch, Brewer struck out swinging, but Allard would never record the third out.

Sullivan walked to load the bases, then McCosh drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to score Robichaud. Gautreau followed with a single to center on the first pitch and McGrath and Sullivan came home and suddenly the Clippers had cut their deficit in half and trailed, 6-3.

“Jake is going to grind to the last pitch and he picked Will up and Will is going to pick the rest of the guys up the next time he pitches. I guarantee it,” Halsted said. “Good teams pick each other up.”

Dickinson walked to reload the bases and on a 3-2 pitch, Cheever took ball four and McCosh scored to cut the deficit to two.

That brought up Waelder, who immediately came through with a single to right, scoring both Sullivan and Dickinson and when Leding bobbled the ball, not only was the game tied, but the runners moved up to second and third.

“Matt had a big performance today,” said McGrath. “He was huge today at the bottom of the order. He kept a lot of our rallies going today.”

And Yarmouth wasn’t done.

Robichaud was hit by a pitch to reload the bases and McGrath quickly cleared them by driving the ball over Williams’ head in left, scoring all three runners and on the throw home, McGrath took third.

“We were all just trying to keep the line moving,” said McGrath. “Everyone did their job. I was just looking for anything I could yank and I got what I wanted. It was a fastball inside and I turned on it. I wasn’t sure, but once I saw the leftfielder back up, I knew it was over his head. It was a great feeling.”

That was it for Allard, who was replaced by Jowett.

“I kept hoping we’d get one more out, but it just didn’t happen,” lamented longtime Greely coach Derek Soule. “The bottom line is with a six-run lead, we needed to pound the zone and play defense and we didn’t do that. We always talk about eliminating mistakes. Usually we do a good job of that, but we had a bad inning.”

Brewer then lined a single to left and McGrath scored to cap the 10-run uprising. Sullivan flew out to center, but the Clippers had an inning they won’t soon forget and a 10-6 lead.

“It was phenomenal,” Halsted said. “I tried to think about what I could do to fire the boys up, but they had to generate it themselves. This group can smash. They can be violent to a baseball. That was pretty fun.”

Greely got a run back in the top of the fourth.

Nolin led off with a bouncer to third which saw McCosh make a nice play and throw for the first out. Kolben followed with his second double, to deep right-center, and he took third when Williams grounded out to Cheever at short, who made a terrific play in the hole. With Neleski at the plate, Venden threw a wild pitch, allowing Kolben to score. Neleski then reached on a throwing error by McGrath, but Jowett flew out to center to keep Yarmouth ahead by a 10-7 score.

The Clippers couldn’t score in the bottom half, as Jowett got McCosh to fly out to Nolin in center, who made a nice running catch, and after allowing a single through the hole to Gautreau, Jowett fanned Dickinson swinging and Cheever looking.

The Rangers had a chance to creep closer in the top of the fifth, but McGrath came on to extinguish that fire.

Allard led off and grounded out to third, but Leding drew a walk. After Cloutier grounded into a third-to-second force out, with McCosh making a nice play on a tough hop, Axelsen walked and that brought Nolin to the plate representing the tying run.

Halsted pulled Venden in favor of McGrath and as he did at the plate all day, McGrath came through on the hill, getting Nolin to pop out to second to end the threat.

“I know Brady’s a good hitter, but I’ll take my stuff against anyone, any day,” McGrath said.

“Jack McGrath is going to take the ball,” Halsted said. “He wants to be in that situation. After two years of not playing baseball, there’s a little bit of tentativeness, so you want the ball in Jack’s hands. He believes we’re going to get it done.”

Yarmouth then added to its lead in the bottom half.

After Waeldner blooped the first pitch he saw for a single to right-center, he stole second and Robichaud reached on an infield single (only a nice diving play from Neleski at first prevented the run from scoring). McGrath was next and he chopped a single over Axelsen at third to score Waeldner with an insurance run. Brewer grounded into a short-to-second force out, putting runners at the corners, and Sullivan followed with a deep fly to center and Robichaud scored to make it 12-7. McCosh flew out to center to end the inning.

Greely had one final good opportunity in the top of the sixth, but the Rangers ran themselves out of the inning.

After McGrath got Kolben to pop out to second on a 3-0 pitch, Williams beat out an infield single to third and Neleski crushed a pitch to deep left which short-hopped the fence for a double. On the throw in from Robichaud, the ball got away and Williams came home with the Rangers’ final run.

Jowett then ripped a shot to left, but Robichaud came in and made a shoestring catch before throwing to second to catch the runner off base for a double play to end the frame.

“That was a big stop,” McGrath said. “We needed that.”

Axelsen worked the bottom of the sixth and got Gautreau to watch strike three, senior Xan King to ground out to short and Cheever to bounce out to third.

Yarmouth senior Jack McGrath throws a strike to Greely freshman Jackson Leding in the top of the seventh inning.

McGrath then slammed the door in the seventh, fanning both Allard and Leding looking before getting Cloutier to line out to center to end it and Yarmouth was able to celebrate its 12-8 victory.

“Down six, it was tough, but I remember in the dugout, we talked about hanging as many (runs) as we wanted and we did that,” said McGrath. “Scoring 10 runs got the guys pretty fired up and the momentum carried us on from there. I’m proud of the guys.”

The Clippers got three hits apiece from Gautreau and McGrath and a pair of hits from Waeldner.

Robichaud scored three times, McGrath and Waeldner each touched home twice and Cheever, Dickinson, Gautreau, McCosh and Sullivan all scored one run.

McGrath had four RBI, Gautreau and Waeldner two apiece and Brewer, Cheever, McCosh and Sullivan one each.

Yarmouth stranded five runners.

Dickinson wound up with a no-decision after surrendering four runs on one hit and five walks in his one inning of work. Dickinson struck out one and hit a batter.

Venden was the unheralded hero and earned the win in relief. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits in 3.2 innings of work. He walked two, struck out two and threw a wild pitch.

“We knew Blake would throw strikes and he’s a Venden and Venden kids are tough,” Halsted said. “He thinks he can compete against anybody in Class B baseball and when you have that confidence and swagger, you will compete against anybody in Class B baseball.

“We might not look as good as you. You might be bigger and stronger than we are, but we have Matt Waeldner, five-foot-nothing, 100-(pounds)-and-nothing and Blake Venden, five-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing and those two guys just grind.”

McGrath threw 2.1 innings and earned the save. He gave up an unearned run on two hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two.

For Greely, Kolben and Nolin each doubled twice. Axelsen, Kolben and Nolin scored twice, while Cloutier and Williams had one run apiece.

Kolben finished with a pair of RBI, while Jowett, Neleski, Nolin and Williams each drove in one run.

Allard took the loss after giving up 10 runs on four hits in 2.2 innings. He walked seven, fanned five, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

Jowett surrendered two runs on five hits in 2.1 innings of relief, striking out a pair.

Axelsen worked a perfect inning of relief, fanning one.

“(Yarmouth) had some walks that gave us the lead and with a six-run lead, we had to make them swing the bat,” said Soule. “I would have made pitching changes earlier, but we needed to save our pitching. We do not have our full pitching staff and I was trying to save pitching for our second game. We’ve had two bad innings that have cost us two games. Oxford Hills, we were in control, then we gave up a six-spot. This game, we had one horrific inning.”

Game two

After all of that excitement, there was still a second game to play and it began in similar fashion, as Greely put up a seven-spot in the top of the first inning.

Yarmouth tried to rally, scoring a run in the bottom of the second, but the Rangers ended all doubt with three more runs in the third.

The Clippers got a run back in the bottom half and the teams traded runs in the fifth before single runs in the sixth and seventh allowed Greely to close out a 13-3 victory to split the doubleheader.

Nolin wasn’t hit usual no-hitter-threatening self, but he still went the distance, allowing seven hits while striking out seven.

The Rangers’ offense was paced by Williams, who had three doubles and a pair of RBI, and Cloutier, who doubled, singled twice, scored three times and drove in a run.

Yarmouth got three more hits, including two doubles, from McGrath, who finished the doubleheader with six hits in six at-bats (he also drew a walk). Gautreau added a double, but the Clippers were doomed by seven errors.

“It’s kind of fun,” Soule said. “This was the first time we had a three-game series in a week since 1948 when we played Falmouth in the Triple-C championship. Sadly, Falmouth won that one two-games-to-one.”

Just beginning

Greely hosts Morse Tuesday and welcomes Brunswick Saturday.

“We have to continue to develop pitching depth,” said Soule. “Some of the younger guys haven’t seen varsity pitching and have to get comfortable. As terms of our progress, I’m fine with it. We’re going to have bad innings. (Today) won’t be the last bad inning we have.”

Yarmouth is on the road next week, going to Morse Monday and to Wells Thursday.

“I think we can play with any team in the state,” McGrath said. “We have a lot of talent. I think we’re going to keep improving. We still haven’t hit our stride yet. We’re getting there and today was a big step for us.”

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

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