BOX SCORE

Portland 4 Biddeford 3

B- 000 020 1- 3 6 3
P- 001 001 2- 4 8 2
* Two outs when winning run scored.

Bottom 3rd
Winship singled, DiMillo scored.

Top 5th
Aranovitch singled, Sirois scored. Petit grounded out, Mariello scored.

Bottom 6th
Legere doubled to left-center, Brewer scored.

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Top 7th
Dion doubled to left, Smyth scored.

Bottom 7th
Legere singled to left, Crosby and Brewer scored.

Multiple hits:
B- Dion
P- Bibeau, Legere 3

Runs:
B- Mariello, Sirois, Smyth
P- Brewer 2, Crosby, DiMillo

RBI:
B- Aranovitch, Dion, Petit
P- Legere 3, Winship

Doubles:
B- Clark, Dion
P- Legere 2, Bibeau 

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Triple:
P- DiMillo

Left on base:
B- 5
P- 9

Dion, Camire (6) and Petit; Winship, Bibeau (5) and Becker.

B:
Dion 5 IP 5 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 3 K 1 WP
Camire (L, 0-1) 1.2 IP 3 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB 1 K 1 WP 1 HBP

P:
Winship 4+ IP 5 H 2 R 1 ER 0 BB 3 K
Bibeau (W, 1-0) 3 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 1 BB 2 K
* Winship faced four batters in the fifth

Time: 1:47

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PORTLAND—Andrew Legere began his day Saturday by hitting a prodigious batting practice home run off the Coca Cola bottle atop the Maine Monster at Hadlock Field.

A couple hours later, he produced the biggest hit of his career, a much shorter poke, to give his Portland baseball team a victory over Biddeford in the teams’ regular season opener.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh and the Bulldogs down a run, Legere lined a single into leftfield, scoring senior first baseman Grant Crosby and junior rightfielder Andrew Brewer to turn an apparent defeat into an exhilarating 4-3 win.

Portland senior Colby Winship and Biddeford senior Kyle Dion engaged in a pitcher’s duel early, but the Bulldogs struck first, in the bottom of the third, as senior leftfielder Aidan DiMillo tripled leading off and scored on Winship’s infield single.

Biddeford awakened in the top of the fifth, as a single and error set the stage for senior centerfielder Josiah Aranovitch to tie the score with an RBI single and junior catcher Caden Petit to put his team ahead with a bases loaded ground out.

Portland drew even in the bottom of the sixth, on an RBI double from Legere, but left a couple runners in scoring position.

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The Tigers answered in the top of the seventh, as Dion doubled in sophomore rightfielder Drew Smyth.

But the Bulldogs refused to go home without a victory and after Crosby kept the game alive by barely avoiding hitting into a double play, Brewer was hit by a pitch and after both runners moved up on a wild pitch, Legere lined a single through the hole between shortstop and third to score both runners and produce a memorable 4-3 victory.

Portland won its season opener for first time since 2019 and beat Biddeford for the first time in four years in the process.

“It’s awesome, a great feeling,” said Legere, moments after being mobbed by his teammates in a postgame celebration. “Portland High kids are never out of a game.”

Here we go again

Last season, Biddeford opened the season with a 7-2 victory at Hadlock Field. The Tigers went on to finish 7-9 before being eliminated by Falmouth in the Class A South preliminary round.

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Portland won just four regular season games last spring, but after downing Deering in a play-in contest, shocked No. 2 Scarborough in the preliminary round before losing a 10-inning marathon to Cheverus in the quarterfinals.

Saturday, on a 55-degree day, with intermittent rain falling, Biddeford hoped to beat the Bulldogs at Hadlock Field for the third straight time, but instead, Portland saved its best for the last possible moment.

Portland senior starter Colby Winship throws the first pitch of the game, to Biddeford senior Kyle Dion.

Winship started the game by getting his opposite number, Dion, to line out to center. Petit then lined out to left, but senior shortstop Kelvin Camire grounded a single up the middle to extend the inning. Winship then fanned sophomore third baseman Matt Gonneville for the third out.

In the bottom half, Dion got Winship to ground out to second and senior second baseman Anthony Bisco to fly out to left on the first pitch, but junior shortstop Henry Bibeau reached on an error by junior second baseman Chase Magnant. Portland couldn’t take advantage, as Crosby struck out swinging.

Winship started the top of the second by catching Magnant looking at strike three, but after junior first baseman Jack Clark fell behind 0-2, Clark fouled off several pitches, worked the count full, then ripped a shot to the gap in right-center. Sophomore centerfielder Reegan Buck raced over and dove, but couldn’t make the play and Clark wound up at second with a double.

Making matters worse for the Bulldogs, Buck stayed down for several minutes with a shoulder injury and had to leave the game (senior Carter Page replaced him).

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Page then got tested immediately on a fly ball off the bat of freshman leftfielder Landon Sirois and made the catch. Smyth then ended the threat by flying out to left.

Portland threatened in the bottom half, but couldn’t score.

After Brewer popped out to short, Legere grounded the ball fair down the third base line and raced into second with his first double. He took third when senior catcher Ryan Becker lined the first pitch deep to center for an out, then senior third baseman James Gignac flew out to center to end the threat.

Winship nearly had a clean inning in the top of the third, getting Aranovitch to line to center, Dion to fly to right and Petit to ground to third, but after making a nice stop on the ball, Gignac’s throw to first was in the dirt and Petit reached on the throwing error. Winship then got Camire to pop to first to send the game to the bottom of the third.

Where Portland broke the ice.

It would be DiMillo, the number nine hitter, sparking the uprising, working the count full, then ripping a triple to deep left, over the head of Sirois. Winship then helped himself by grounding the ball wide of first and when Clark realized he didn’t have a play at the plate, it was too late to get back to the bag and Winship reached with an RBI infield single. Winship then took off for second and was safe as Bisco grounded out to second on a hit-and-run play. Bibeau then grounded the ball to the hole between short and third for a hit and only a nice backhanded, sliding play from Camire prevented Winship from scoring. That loomed huge, as Dion got Crosby to pop to second, then Brewer lined out sharply to Aranovitch in center to limit the damage and keep the score 1-0 heading for the top of the fourth.

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There, the Bulldogs flashed some leather, as Bibeau made a nice backhanded stab on a ground ball from Gonneville and threw him out, then Brewer ran almost all the way to the warning track to track down a deep fly ball off the bat of Magnant. Winship fell behind Clark 2-0 and 3-2, but caught him looking at an inside fastball to end the frame.

In the bottom half, Biddeford’s defense was nowhere near as sharp, but Portland couldn’t take advantage.

Legere reached on a ground ball to short, where Camire initially couldn’t get the ball out of his glove, then threw wide of first for an error. Becker followed with a grounder to third and Gonneville threw to Magnant for the force out. Magnant’s throw to first was high, but Becker was called out as well due to runner’s interference. Gignac grounded to Magnant, but also reached on an error, when the ball got past the fielder. DiMillo finally ended the frame by popping out to Dion.

In the top of the fifth, the Tigers came to life.

With a little help.

Sirois got things started with a line single just past Winship’s glove into centerfield. Sophomore Gino Mariello came in to pinch-hit for Smyth and he laid down a bunt toward third. Gignac fielded the ball, but his throw to first was low and got away for an error, putting runners at the corners. As DiMillo did earlier, Biddeford’s number nine hitter then came through, as Aranovitch lined a single to right to score Sirois tie it. Dion followed with a sharp single to left to load the bases.

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That was it for Winship, as longtime Portland coach Mike Rutherford pulled him for Bibeau and Bibeau got ahead of Petit in the count, but Petit managed to get his bat on it with an excuse-me swing and grounded slowly to Gignac. Gignac’s only play was to first for the out and Mariello came home with the go-ahead run. Bibeau then limited the damage by getting Camire to strike out on a checked swing and Gonneville to ground out to senior Nathan Isajar, who had taken over at second.

Portland threatened to tie it in the bottom half, but left the tying run on.

Winship, who had moved to first base after being pulled, flew out deep to right and Bisco struck out. Bibeau followed with a sharp double to the gap in left-center, but Isajar fanned on a 2-2 pitch to keep the score 2-1.

In the top of the sixth, Bibeau got Magnant to ground back to the mound, Clark to bounce out to third and Sirois to chase strike three.

Camire replaced Dion in the bottom half and the Bulldogs pounced.

Brewer walked leading off, then Legere pounded a pitch to deep left-center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Legere’s double scored Brewer to tie it. Becker fell behind in the count 0-2, but worked it full, then drew a walk and after Gignac laid down a sacrifice bunt, DiMillo got ahead in the count, but ultimately struck out swinging and Winship flew out to center to keep the game tied, 2-2.

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In the top of the seventh, the Tigers took the lead right back.

Bibeau walked Smyth on a 3-2 pitch and Aranovitch sacrificed him over and when Smyth saw no one was covering third, Smyth raced in safely. Dion was next and he lined a double down the leftfield line to score Smyth. After DiMillo bobbled the ball, Dion tried to take third, but he was thrown out. Bibeau then got Petit to fly out to left.

When Bisco grounded out to start the bottom of the seventh, things looked bleak for Portland, but Bibeau kept hope alive with his third hit, a single to left. Crosby was next and when he grounded sharply to Dion at short, a game-ending double play appeared in store, but after Dion threw to Magnant for the force, the relay throw was just a hair late, as Crosby hustled down the line to reach safely to keep the game alive.

Camire then hit Brewer with a pitch, moving the tying run to second and putting the winning run on. A wild pitch then put both runners in scoring position.

“(Crosby) was hustling down there,” said Rutherford. “That gets lost in the shuffle and Andrew Brewer getting on base to give Legere a shot. It was a team effort.”

Legere, who didn’t make an out all day, then got ahead in the count before getting a 3-2 fastball to his liking and he lined it to the right of Dion, into the hole and Crosby came home easily to tie it.

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Portland senior Andrew Legere lines the game-winning base hit.

Brewer turned third and headed for home and while Sirois got to the ball and delivered a strong throw home, it was too late, as Brewer scored to win it, 4-3.

Portland junior Andrew Brewer, left, and senior Grant Crosby (22) celebrate after crossing the plate with the winning runs.

“I was just thinking, ‘I’m winning this game,'” said Legere. “I was looking for a fastball. I knew I made good contact. I just had to see if the runner could score and then I knew we won.”

“Sophomore year, junior year and even a couple weeks ago, if you told me Andrew Legere was going to be in the starting lineup, I wouldn’t have believed it, but he’s hit like that all spring,” Rutherford said. “I thought he’d be a pinch-hitter, but he had four hard-hit balls today. To play like that Opening Day as a senior, it shows you a kid who sticks with baseball. He’s had a hot bat.”

At 12:54 p.m., the Bulldogs, en masse, raced after Legere to celebrate.

After playing the hero, Legere is mobbed by his teammates.

“We showed a lot of fight,” said Rutherford. “I’m happy with the way we played. We made a couple errors, but everyone makes errors early in the season. I really like how the guys fought. We have a deep bench with good kids. The veteran leadership showed.”

Bibeau and Legere paced the offensive attack with three hits apiece. Brewer scored twice, while Crosby and DiMillo each touched home plate once. Legere finished with three RBI and Winship also drove in a run.

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Portland left nine runners on base.

Bibeau earned the win in relief, allowing just one run on one hit in three innings. He walked one and struck out two and put out a major fire when he first took the mound.

“I told the kids the biggest part of that game, other than Legere’s hitting, was Bibeau coming in with one run already in, bases loaded, nobody out and getting out of there with one run,” Rutherford said. “Staying out of the big inning allowed us to make a comeback.”

Winship went the first four-plus innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.

Biddeford got two hits from Dion, RBI from Aranovitch, Dion and Petit and runs scored from Mariello, Sirois and Smyth.

The Tigers stranded five baserunners.

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Dion went the first five innings, giving up one earned run on five hits with no walks, three strikeouts and a wild pitch.

Camire took the loss in relief, giving up three runs on three hits in 1.2 innings. He walked two, fanned one, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

Second step

Portland returns to action Thursday at Marshwood.

“We’re going to be good,” Legere said. “Come playoffs, we’ll be a really good team. We just have to keep swinging the bat and making plays in the field.”

“Marshwood’s good, so that will be a nice matchup,” said Rutherford.

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

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