Blaine Cockburn of Freeport swings over a pitch during Tuesday’s game against Greely at Freeport High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

FREEPORT — In what was a much-anticipated game between two Class B South contenders, it was Greely that got the better of Freeport on Tuesday afternoon.

And by a wide margin, too.

Behind a stellar performance from pitching ace Zach Johnston and a great day at the plate from Max Cloutier, the Rangers (9-3) routed the Falcons (9-4) 12-0.

The Falcons’ offense struggled Tuesday, but the Rangers have been rolling of late — they hadn’t let up a run in 21 consecutive innings.

“Our team just works at one, the chemistry between our pitchers and the rest of our guys is just special,” said Johnston, a junior who said he’s verbally committed to pitch at Maryland University following his 2022 graduation. “I think that bond we share is unlike any other team, which is something that puts us over the top when we need it like we did against a team like Freeport.”

Johnston tossed 4 ⅔ innings before being pulled because of his pitch count so he could go again on Saturday. He struck out 12 and allowed just one hit and two walks.


“I just wanted to stay ahead in the count and keep the hitters off balance,” he said. “I knew if I had my command working that I should be successful, and I was.”

Brady Nolin of Greely swings through a pitch during Tuesday’s game at Freeport High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

The Rangers scored early and often, posting seven runs in the first two innings. Three of the five second inning runs came on a towering three-run home run by Ryan Kolben to put Greely ahead 6-0.

“The bats have started to roll,” said Greely head coach Derek Soule. “It makes it easier when you have a guy like Zach on the mound.”

It’s been a week to forget for the Falcons, who have dropped four straight after opening the season on a nine-game winning streak.

“It’s just been the little things, we haven’t responded in big moments like we had earlier on in the season,” said Freeport head coach Steve Shukie. “Our defense has been shaky and we didn’t get the bats on the ball today (Tuesday). … We knew that we had a tough part of our schedule here, obviously we wish the outcomes had gone better. We’ll be all right, we just have to find the baseball that we were playing at the beginning of the season.”

Ryan Kolber of Greely, left, crosses the plate as Kempton Von Glinsky-Gregoire of Freeport, right, throws down to second during Tuesday’s game at Freeport High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Though Freeport ace Blaine Cockburn was available to start, Shukie instead turned to senior Elias Thomas, who had never started a varsity game before. Thomas struggled, allowing seven runs in 1 ⅔ innings while striking out two to take the loss.


“We’re going into the weekend with four of our top starters who are fresh and ready to go,” said Shukie, whose team has a doubleheader against the same Greely team on Saturday in Cumberland. “We now have notes on the hitters, and we have notes on Zach (Johnston) if they opt to go with him again.”

Greely racked up the runs in the fifth to take a double-digit lead. After Brady Nolin missed a home run by about five feet, Kolben drove him in with an RBI double, his fourth on the afternoon, to push the lead to 10.

The Freeport offense will look to rebound in the doubleheader, as their only two hits were singles by Cockburn and Colin Cronin.

“If the bats wake up, our team will wake up, that’s seem to been the trend all year,” Shukie said.

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