Yarmouth senior Jack McGrath throws a pitch to Freeport senior Blaine Cockburn to start the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Clippers won both ends, 5-2 and 3-2. Hoffer photos.

YARMOUTH—The third time was the charm.

After winning the first game of a doubleheader, then losing the nightcap each of the past two weekends, Yarmouth’s baseball team got another chance to complete a sweep Saturday afternoon against the visiting Freeport Falcons.

And this time, the Clippers managed to get the job done.

On Senior Day, Yarmouth rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win game one, 5-2, as senior workhorse Will Dickinson earned the victory and junior first baseman Gibby Sullivan had three hits, including the go-ahead RBI.

The Clippers fell behind again by a 2-0 score in the second game, but again got off the deck and scored the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on an error and went on to a 3-2 victory, as senior Blake Venden earned the win in relief and Sullivan, who went 5-for-5 on the day, came in to get the save.

The Clippers made it three wins in a row over previously undefeated Freeport this week and improved to 10-3 on the year, dropping the Falcons to 9-3 in the process.

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“I challenged the seniors,” said Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted. “These 12 seniors care a lot. They needed to make an impact today and they did.”

BOX SCORE (Game One)

Yarmouth 5 Freeport 2

F- 101 000 0- 2 6 3
Y- 003 002 x- 5 8 2

Top 1st
Cockburn scored on error.

Top 3rd
Cronin scored on error.

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Bottom 3rd
Robichaud singled to center, Waeldner scored. Robichaud scored on error. Sullivan singled to left, McGrath scored.

Bottom 6th
Sullivan doubled to left-center, Collins scored. Brewer singled to center, Mason scored.

Multiple hits:
F- Gideon, Panciocco
Y- Sullivan 3, McGrath

Runs:
F- Cockburn, Cronin
Y- Collins, Mason, McGrath, Robichaud, Waeldner

RBI:
Y- Sullivan 2, Brewer, Robichaud

Double:
Y- Sullivan

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Stolen bases:
F- Cockburn 3, Panciocco, Shea, Von Glinsky-Gregoire

Left on base:
F- 6
Y- 3

Abbott, Wing (6) and von Glinsky-Gregoire; Dickinson, McGrath (7) and Brewer.

F:
* Abbott (L) 5+ IP 7 H 5 R 3 ER 0 BB 1 K
Wing 1 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 1 K
* Abbott faced two batters in sixth.

Y:
Dickinson (W) 6 IP 6 H 2 R 0 ER 3 BB 4 K 1 WP 1 HBP
McGrath (Save) 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 1 K

Time: 1:38

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Resilient

The Clippers and the reigning Class B South champion Falcons have both made the most of their return to action this spring and have consistently demonstrated why they’re on the short list of title favorites.

Freeport sizzled out of the gate, twice dominating Gray-New Gloucester, 11-1 (in six-innings) at home and 12-1 (in six-innings) in Gray. After a narrow 2-1 victory at Mt. Ararat, the Falcons rallied for a 6-5 win at Cape Elizabeth, then swept the visiting Capers in a doubleheader, 2-1 and 2-1. After a 5-1 victory at Brunswick, Freeport handled visiting Morse (12-6) and Lake Region (7-2), but Tuesday, at home, the Falcons’ bats went cold and they suffered their first loss, 6-0, to Yarmouth. 

Yarmouth started with wins at Brunswick (4-3) and at home over Mt. Ararat (9-3). After a 2-0 loss at Greely, the Clippers put together a 10-run inning to rally past visiting Greely in game one of a doubleheader, 12-8, then dropped the second game, 13-3. Yarmouth then won at Morse (5-0) and Wells (4-2) and at home over Cape Elizabeth, 10-0, in five-innings, before taking the first game of a doubleheader at the Capers (5-1) and dropping the second, 2-1. Tuesday, the Clippers handed host Freeport its first loss, 6-0.

Prior to Saturday’s opening game, Yarmouth’s dozen seniors were honored, with their families.

The Clippers then went out and got off to a good start under overcast, 68-degree skies.

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Dickinson, who for the third straight weekend was starting the first game of a twin-bill, struggled early, as on the second pitch of the game, he hit Freeport senior centerfielder Blaine Cockburn with a pitch on the foot and Cockburn immediately stole second base. Senior second baseman Julian Gideon then popped out to second, but with senior shortstop Anthony Panciocco at the plate, Cockburn took off and stole third and the throw from Yarmouth senior catcher Max Brewer got away for an error, allowing Cockburn to come in with the game’s first run. Panciocco then lined a single to left-center, but Dickinson got junior catcher Kempton von Glinsky-Gregoire to ground sharply to senior second baseman Jake Gautreau, who flipped to senior shortstop Will Cox for one out and Cox threw on to Sullivan at first for an inning-ending double play.

Freeport junior starter Nathan Abbott delivers a first inning pitch to Yarmouth senior shortstop Will Cox.

In the bottom half, Falcons junior pitcher Nathan Abbott got Cox to fly out to right, where junior Gus Wing made a nice running catch, junior rightfielder Matt Robichaud to ground out to second and senior designated hitter Jack McGrath to bounce out to third.

In the top of the second, Dickinson got Wing to line out to junior leftfielder Matt Waeldner, Abbott to fly out to deep center and after walking sophomore third baseman Zane Aguiar, Dickinson caught senior first baseman Elias Thomas looking at a curveball on the inside corner to retire the side.

The Clippers threatened in the bottom half, as Sullivan led off with his first of five hits on the day, a single to right-center, and junior third baseman Jack McCosh reached on an error by Aguiar at third, but Brewer popped back to the mound on the first pitch, Gautreau flew out to center and after Abbott wild pitched the runners to second and third, he escaped the jam by getting Dickinson to foul out to Aguiar in foul territory.

Freeport then tacked on a second run in the top of the third.

Junior designated hitter Colin Cronin led off by a drawing a walk on a full count pitch. After Cockburn flew out to deep center, Gideon grounded slowly to second and beat the throw for an infield single. Panciocco was next and he grounded the ball slowly up the middle and wound up beating that out for an infield single to load the bases. Von Glinsky-Gregoire was next and he grounded to Sullivan at first. Sullivan threw home to record the force out, but Brewer couldn’t handle the throw and Cronin was safe on the error. Brewer did redeem himself by throwing out Gideon trying to take third. After Panciocco and von Glinsky-Gregoire pulled off a double steal to put two runners in scoring position, Dickinson struck out Wing swinging to keep the score 2-0.

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Yarmouth then roared back in the bottom half.

Waeldner got things started by reaching on an infield single to the hole between short and third. Cox then grounded back to the mound and with Waeldner going to second, Abbott threw Cox out at first, but Waeldner didn’t stop at second and on a close play, he slid safely into third. That served as a spark as Robichaud followed with a single to center to score the Clippers’ first run and McGrath followed with a single into rightfield to put runners at first and second. With Sullivan at the plate, Abbott tried to pick McGrath off, but he threw wildly down the rightfield line and Robichaud came home to tie it with McGrath going to third. Sullivan then grounded an RBI single through the hole into leftfield to put Yarmouth ahead, 3-2.

“I was just looking for a ball to fight off and I got a low fastball and I shot it through the hole,’ Sullivan said. “That’s all I was trying to do.”

McCosh then hit a deep fly ball to right that Wing ran down, but dropped. The umpires ruled, however, the Wing dropped the ball on the exchange and the out counted and even better for Freeport, Sullivan was doubled off first to end the frame.

Dickinson had his best inning in the top of the fourth, getting Abbott to line out to left, Aguiar to ground out to third and Thomas to bounce back to the mound.

In the bottom half, Abbott settled down and got Brewer to pop back to the mound, Gautreau to look at strike three and Dickinson to ground out to second.

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The Falcons then had a great chance to retake the lead in the top of the fifth, but squandered it.

After Cronin popped out to Brewer near the plate, Cockburn grounded a single past the second baseman, then got picked off, but was able to steal second base anyway. Gideon lined a sharp single to right, but Cockburn had to stop at third and on the play, Gideon raced into second. Panciocco was walked intentionally to load the bases for von Glinsky-Gregoire, but he popped out to shortstop.

In a pivotal moment of the game, Yarmouth senior pitcher Will Dickinson gets Freeport junior catcher Kempton von Glinsky-Gregoire to pop out with the bases loaded.

Wing then grounded the first pitch he saw right to McCosh at third and McCosh stepped on third base for an inning-ending force out to keep Yarmouth ahead.

Abbott set the Clippers down in order again in the bottom half, getting Waeldner to fly out to center on the first pitch, Cox to line to deep center, where Cockburn made a leaping catch, and Robichaud to ground out to second.

Abbott tried to help himself by leading off the top of the sixth with a single through the hole on the first pitch. Junior Keigan Shea came on to run and he stole second as Aguiar struck out, but with Thomas at the plate, Shea tried to steal third and was thrown out. Thomas then watched strike three for the third out.

Yarmouth then got some insurance in the bottom of the sixth.

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McGrath led off by beating out an infield to second and Gideon threw the ball way for an error on the play, moving the runner to second. Senior Gabe Collins came on to run and he came home as Sullivan came through again, this time with a deep drive over Cockburn’s head in center that one-hopped over the wall for an RBI ground-rule double.

“I got some fastballs to hit today and that’s what I was hunting for,” Sullivan said. “I just barreled them up.”

“Gibby was just a higher level hitter today,” said Halsted. “He’d been hitting the ball hard but hadn’t been rewarded. He’s made some adjustments and he put on a clinic today. He really squared up the ball off the barrel of the bat.”

Senior Sam Mason came on to run for Sullivan and after Wing replaced Abbott on the mound, Mason moved to third on a balk. McCosh struck out, but Brewer singled to center through a drawn-in infield to deliver the run. Senior Xan King pinch-hit and popped out to first and Dickinson flew out to right, but the damage was done and Yarmouth led, 5-2.

McGrath then came on to close it out for Dickinson and he wasted no time, getting Cronin to chase a high fastball for strike three, Cockburn to fly out to center and Gideon to fly out to left to end it.

“Jack McGrath is a stoic kid,” Halsted said. “He looked me in the eye and said, ‘I’ll take care of it.'”

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Dickinson earned the victory by giving up two unearned runs on six hits in six innings. He walked three, struck out four, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch, but got the job done.

“I still have to figure out the first inning, but I have a good defense, so we usually get out of it OK,” Dickinson said. “It wasn’t my best performance, so I just tried to keep the ball low and let them hit it. We have really good bats in the lineup 1 through 9, so I know if I keep the score low, we can come back.”

“Will’s just a tough competitor,” said Halsted. “He goes every time we need him. He thrives in big moments. He’s not afraid. He threw 29 pitches in that third inning, then he wasn’t in a ton of trouble after that.”

McGrath pitched a perfect seventh to earn the save.

Offensively, Sullivan led the way with three hits and two RBI. McGrath also had a pair of hits.

Collins, Mason, McGrath, Robichaud and Waeldner all scored runs.

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Brewer and Robichaud also had an RBI.

The Clippers stranded three runners.

Freeport got two hits apiece from Gideon and Panciocco. Cockburn and Cronin scored the runs.

Cockburn stole three of the Falcons’ six bases.

Freeport stranded six runners.

Abbott took the loss after surrendering five runs (three earned) on seven hits in five-plus innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out one.

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Wing gave up one hit in a scoreless inning of relief and struck out one.

BOX SCORE (Game Two)

Yarmouth 3 Freeport 2

F- 002 000 0- 2 2 1
Y- 001 020 x- 3 8 1

Top 3rd
Shea scored on wild pitch. Gideon reached on error, Cockburn scored.

Bottom 3rd
King doubled to center, Gaudreau scored.

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Bottom 5th
Waeldner and Cox scored on error.

Multiple hits:
Y- King, Sullivan

Runs:
F- Cockburn, Shea
Y- Cox, Gautreau, Waeldner

RBI:
F- Gideon
Y- King

Stolen bases:
F- Cockburn, Gideon

Left on base:
F- 3
Y- 7

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Panciocco and Von Glinsky-Gregoire; McGrath, Venden (4), Sullivan (6) and Brewer.

F:
Panciocco (L) 6 IP 8 H 3 R 1 ER 3 BB 4 K 1 WP 1 HBP

Y:
McGrath 3 IP 2 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 5 K
Venden (W) 2 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K
Sullivan (Save) 2 IP 0 H 0 R 1 BB 1 K

Time: 1:31

Another rally

After a short break, the teams returned to action for game two, under even warmer (71 degree) skies and Yarmouth turned its attention to trying to pull off an elusive sweep.

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“A sweep is definitely in our minds since we haven’t won the second game (this year),” said Dickinson. “We just have to come in with the same energy. We tend to get tired, but I think we’re pumped up today.”

McGrath, who closed out game one, started game two for the Clippers and set the Falcons down in order in the top of the first, getting Cockburn to watch strike three, Gideon, the third baseman, to ground out to third and Panciocco, Freeport’s game two starter, to fly out to Waeldner in deep left.

Freeport senior Anthony Panciocco delivers to Yarmouth’s Will Cox early in game two.

Panciocco was sharp in the bottom half, getting Cox to ground out to second, Robichaud to line out right on the first pitch he saw and McGrath to ground out sharply to Gideon at third.

Freeport threatened in the top of the second.

Abbott, the designated hitter, led off by flying out to Robichaud in deep right.

Von Glinsky-Gregoire then launched a ground-rule double to deep right. He’d be stranded, as Wing watched an off-speed pitch for strike three and Aguiar, the shortstop, grounded out to third.

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In the bottom half, Sullivan led off with his fourth straight hit, a single to left, but McCosh popped out foul to the catcher and with Sullivan running, Brewer popped out to first and Thomas was able to double off Sullivan.

The Falcons broke through in the top of the third.

Senior leftfielder Caden Benedict struck out on a full count pitch leading off, but Shea, the second baseman, drew a walk, then Cockburn ripped a single to right, putting runners at the corners. Cockburn promptly stole second, then Shea scored and Cockburn took third on a wild pitch. Gideon followed with a grounder to second to score Cockburn and Gideon reached on an error. Panciocco struck out and after Gideon stole second, McGrath got Abbott to watch strike three, but Freeport had a 2-0 lead.

Yarmouth got a run right back in the bottom half and could have had more.

Gautreau surprised the Falcons’ defense by leading off with a bunt single down the third base line. King, the designated hitter, then crushed a pitch to dead center, over Cockburn’s head for an RBI double as Gautreau, who was running on the play, came all the way around. Waeldner struck out, but Cox singled to right and King took third with Cox going to second on the throw. Panciocco escaped further damage, however, by striking out Robichaud, who fouled off a squeeze bunt attempt earlier in the at-bat, then getting McGrath to pop out to third, keeping the score 2-1.

Venden came on in relief to start the fourth and he got von Glinsky-Gregoire to fly out to left, Wing to ground out to short and Aguiar to line out to left, where Waeldner stumbled, but still managed to make the catch.

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“My best athletes are in the outfield,” said Halsted. “Matt Robichaud and Matt Waeldner made some big plays today.”

In the bottom half, Sullivan led off with yet another hit, this time a single to right, his fifth on the day, but the Clippers couldn’t get the tying run home.

McCosh hit a line drive that appeared ticketed for rightfield, but Shea leaped and made a nice snow-cone catch for the first out. Sam Bradford then pinch-hit and popped back to Panciocco. That left it up to Gautreau, who watched strike three.

Venden had another strong inning in the top of the fifth, getting Benedict to pop out foul to third, Shea to ground out to third on a bang-bang play and Cockburn to fly out to left on an excuse me swing.

Yarmouth then broke through, with a little help, to regain the lead in the bottom half.

King grounded out to third for the first out, but Waeldner singled past short and moved up to second on a wild pitch. After getting ahead of Cox 0-2, Panciocco walked him, but he got Robichaud to fly out to center for the second out. That brought up McGrath, with the threat of Sullivan on deck. Panciocco got McGrath to hit a little looper on the infield, but it landed between the pitcher and third base for an infield single. Panciocco tried to make the play at first regardless and his throw got away, allowing both Waeldner and Cox to score on the error and McGrath to take second.

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“McGrath is a frightening hitter, so he deserves a bloop hit,” said Halsted. “That’s just baseball. We have physically talented kids, so we try to apply pressure.”

“(Anthony) panicked a little bit,” said Freeport first-year coach Steve Shukie. “He could have held it and had bases loaded, but I can’t fault a kid for his effort.”

Sullivan was walked intentionally before Panciocco struck out McCosh swinging, but the damage was done and the Clippers were back on top, 3-2.

Sullivan then came on in relief to start the sixth and he got Gideon to fly out to right, Panciocco to fly out to the base of the wall in center and Abbott to ground out to third, where McCosh made a nice stab before throwing on to first to retire the side.

Yarmouth threatened to add to its lead in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t do so.

After Brewer grounded out to short, senior Cam Merrill pinch-hit and drew a walk. King then singled to right, but on the play, Gautreau, who had re-entered to run for Merrill, was thrown out trying to get to third. Waeldner was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second, but Cox lined out to center to keep it a one-run game.

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Freeport had one last chance in the top of the seventh, but Sullivan got von Glinsky-Gregoire to ground out to Gautreau at second, who made a nice play on a slow roller, Wing to fly out to deep left and after walking Aguiar, Sullivan blew strike three past Benedict to bring the curtain down on the Clippers’ 3-2 victory.

“I’m just trying to throw strikes because I’m not much of a pitcher,” Sullivan said. “I haven’t done it much. I just tried to change spots and location and speeds. They hit a few hard. (That last out) was a sigh of relief. It was just about energy. It was big for Jack to start that game strong and Blake to bridge us through. That gave us energy for our bats to warm up. We took advantage of baserunning and got a few runs.”

“We knew these were two big games for us to get for Heal Points,” said Dickinson.

“The seniors came up big,” Halsted said. “Jake Gautreau made two huge plays at second base. Xan King had two big hits. This team has a different personality. A lot of toughness. They’re a little angry after missing last year and having no football or no basketball playoffs. We hope to turn that anger into a positive.”

Yarmouth got multiple hits from King and Sullivan. Cox, Gautreau and Waeldner scored the runs. King had the lone RBI.

The Clippers stranded seven base runners.

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McGrath didn’t earn a decision, giving up two earned runs on two hits in three innings of work. He walked one and struck out five.

Venden was the winner after two hitless, scoreless innings.

“Blake Venden got six-up, six-down,’ Halsted said. “He’s afraid of nothing. It’s fun to see a fearless kid come in and get the job done.”

Sullivan earned the save with two hitless, scoreless innings. He struck out one.

Frustration

Freeport managed just two hits in game two. Cockburn and Shea scored the runs. Gideon had an RBI.

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The Falcons left three runners on.

Panciocco was the hard-luck loser, giving up three runs (just one earned) on eight hits in six innings. He walked three, struck out four, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

“(Anthony) pitched great,” Shukie said. “We need to get him more runs.

“Yarmouth’s the best team we’ve faced so far. Pitching and defense have been our thing all year. We made mistakes defensively and good teams take advantage of them. Hats off to them. They scouted us pretty well. They had guys right where we were hitting it.

“Hopefully we see them again and try to get one out of four. The one that matters.”

Final stretch

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Both teams face some tough tests in their final week of action.

Freeport (currently ranked sixth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) has a daunting week coming up, as it hosts always-tough Greely Tuesday, then plays a doubleheader at the Rangers next Saturday. The Falcons finish the regular season at Lake Region June 1.

“We know Greely’s very good,” said Shukie. “They have arms, but we do too. Again, we get to see a good team three times. All of our games have been close. We haven’t blown anybody out and we haven’t been blown out either. We’re not pointing fingers. If we keep getting the pitching we’ve been getting, we’ll be in every game. Our goal is still to be playing in (the state championship) at the end of June, but we have to clean some stuff up.”

Yarmouth (first in Class B South) is home against Fryeburg Academy Monday, hosts Poland Wednesday, then closes at Poland June 1.

“We feel great,” Sullivan said. “I think we’re in a great spot going into the playoffs. We’re going for the one seed. It would be great to play here.”

“I feel good about our team,” Dickinson said. “I think we’re still going up. Our bats still haven’t even heated up yet. I’m excited.”

“We have the utmost respect for teams like Freeport, Greely, York and Cape,” Halsted added. “Fryeburg is a 10-win team. Poland has been competitive. We’ll keep trying to do our thing. We’re excited to compete with anybody come playoff time. We just want to be a tough out.”

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

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