BOX SCORE 

Greely 10 Edward Little 0 (5 innings)

EL- 000 00- 0 2 4
G- 206 02- 10 7 0
* Two outs when winning run scored

Bottom 1st
Almy and Kolben scored on error.

Bottom 3rd
Kolben scored on error. Sheff walked, Axelsen scored. Leding singled to left, Williams and Madore scored. Sheff and Leding scored on error.

Bottom 5th
Leding grounded out to second, Carter scored. Cloutier singled to left, Sheff scored.

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Multiple hits:
G- Kolben

Runs:
G- Kolben, Sheff 2, Almy, Axelsen, Carter, Leding, Madore, Williams

RBI:
G- Leding 3, Cloutier

Doubles:
G- Kolben 2

Stolen bases:
G- Axelsen, Williams

Left on base:
EL- 5
G- 4

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Cassidy, K. Masselli (4) and Keefe; Johnston and Kolben.

EL:
Cassidy (L, 0-2) 3 IP 5 H 8 R 3 ER 3 BB 3 K 1 HBP
K. Masselli 2 IP 2 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 0 K

G:
Johnston (W, 3-0) 5 IP 2 H 0 R 3 BB 7 K

Time: 1:23

CUMBERLAND—On a day when senior ace Zach Johnston proved mortal, slightly, Greely’s baseball team still managed to beat visiting Edward Little, a Class A team, by 10 runs, via the mercy rule.

And that should tell you all you need to know about what kind of season the Rangers are enjoying so far.

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Friday afternoon at a cold and windy Twin Brook Recreation Center, Greely gave Johnston all the support he’d need with a couple unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning, then broke it open with six more in the third, highlighted by a clutch two-out, two-run RBI single from sophomore centerfielder Jackson Leding.

While Johnston did give up a couple hits this outing, as well as three walks, he kept the Red Eddies off the board, and in the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers ended it on a bloop RBI single from senior shortstop Max Cloutier, which put a quick wrap on a 10-0 (five-inning victory).

Johnston won his third game of the spring, Greely improved to 6-0 and dropped Edward Little to 2-3 in the process.

“I’m very proud of our guys for how they embraced the elements and played great baseball today,” said longtime Rangers coach Derek Soule, who earned his 304th career victory. “Every day is a great day for baseball and they played well even with the elements today.”

A pair of gems

Much has been made of Johnston’s golden left arm, but this spring, Greely has produced a second ace, right-handed flamethrower Ryan Kolben, a senior, whose brilliance behind the plate and at bat has earned him a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts.

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Those two have completely stymied the opposition so far this spring.

Johnston threw a five-inning no-hitter, with 11 strikeouts, to open the season with a 10-0 home win over Fryeburg Academy. Kolben then fanned 17 in an 8-2 victory at Brunswick, Soule’s 300th, Next up was an 18-0 (five-inning) win at Wells, in which Johnston threw a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and also launched a home run. Monday, the Rangers handled visiting Poland, 6-1, in a game started by sophomore third baseman Marky Axelsen, and Wednesday, Kolben returned to the hill and threw a one-hitter with 14 Ks in a 13-0 (six-inning) triumph at Gray-New Gloucester.

Edward Little, meanwhile, dropped its first two outings, 7-2 at Bangor and 13-1 at home to Brewer, then handled visiting Gardiner, 11-1, before edging host Oxford Hills, 9-8, Thursday.

Friday, on an overcast, chilly (49 degrees at first pitch) afternoon, with the wind howling in from the outfield, in the teams’ first-ever countable game, Greely dominated almost throughout.

Greely senior Zach Johnston throws a strike to Edward Little’s TJ Kramarz to start Friday’s 10-0 Rangers’ victory. Hoffer photos.

Johnston started the game by catching leftfielder TJ Kramarz staring at strike three. Rightfielder Aiden Gonzalez then ground out to first, but on the first pitch he saw, Johnston’s opposite number, Campbell Cassidy, lined a sharp single to left. Johnston then got third baseman Gavin Levesque to pop to second.

The Rangers had a couple hits and took advantage of a big Red Eddies’ error to score twice in the bottom half.

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After Cloutier flew out deep to center leading off, rightfielder Sam Almy went the other way and lined a single to right on the first pitch he saw. Kolben, the catcher, was next and he drove the ball deep to left-center for a double, with Almy stopping at third. That brought up Axelsen, who hit a sharp grounder to second and with the runners preparing to hold, second baseman Kamden Masselli first juggled the ball, then threw it away for an error and both Almy and Kolben came home. Cassidy avoided further damage by striking out both senior designated hitter Brooks Williams and junior first baseman Mason Kelso, but Greely had the jump.

Johnston set Edward Little down in order in the top of the second, getting both first baseman Brady Vincent and Masselli to chase an off-speed pitch for strike three before inducing a line drive off the bat of shortstop Patrick Anthoine right at Cloutier at short, who leaped to make a nice inning-ending grab.

Cassidy issued a full-count walk to Johnston leading off the bottom half, but senior second baseman Liam Sheff grounded out slowly to third, with Johnston taking second, Leding grounded out to second to move Johnston to third, then Cloutier lined out to right for the third out.

Johnston started the top of the third by getting catcher Brady Keefe to pop out to second before battling back from a 3-0 count to fan designated hitter Gage Ducharme. Johnston then walked both Kramarz and Gonzalez, but Cassidy grounded out to Axelsen at third, unassisted, to end the threat.

And then Greely blew it wide open in the bottom half.

Greely senior Ryan Kolben rips one of his two doubles.

The inning began inauspiciously, as Almy bounced out to short, but Koblen lined a double just past third base and down the leftfield line and Axelsen followed with a single to right to put runners at the corners. Axelsen was picked off, but still stole second and on the play, an errant throw allowed Kolben to score and Axelsen to take third. Williams then walked and stole second and Kelso was hit on the foot to load the bases. Johnston struck out swinging, but Sheff walked to score another run, then Leding came through, lining a two-run single to left with the runners moving up on the throw home.

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“Jackson Leding did a nice job coming through with that hit,” Soule said. “I was proud of that.”

Cloutier was next and he grounded to short, but the throw got away for another error and both Sheff and Leding scored with Cloutier taking second. Almy, who started the inning, then flew out deep to center to end it, but the Rangers’ lead had expanded to 8-0.

Johnston then struck out the side in the top of the fourth, getting Levesque to chase strike three and after Vincent blooped a single over Cloutier’s head into left-center, getting both Masselli and Anthoine to chase strike three as well.

Kade Masselli came on to replace Cassidy in the bottom half and he got Kolben to fly out deep to center, Axelsen to do the same and Williams to fly out deep to right. On a day without wind, any of those balls might have left the ballpark.

Johnston began the top of the fifth by getting Keefe to ground out to third on the first pitch. Ducharme then bounced out to short. After Kramarz worked a walk, Gonzalez flew out to center.

Greely then put it away in the bottom half.

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Kelso grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw, but Johnston drew a four-pitch walk and was replaced by courtesy runner Sam Carter. Sheff then reached on an infield single to third and when the throw was wild, Carter moved to third. Leding grounded out to second to score Carter and move Sheff to second to set the stage for Cloutier to end it and he did so when his fly ball to left fell in front of the outfielder, who had stumbled, and Sheff came home to end the game in a tidy 1 hour, 23 minutes and give the Rangers a 10-0, five-inning triumph.

“Edward Little is a very good team and Cassidy is a very good pitcher,” Soule said. “This was one of those games where we had to take advantage of what they gave us and keep riding that momentum. Several guys, after we were given opportunities to extend innings, stepped up and had key hits.”

Johnston went the distance for the victory, throwing his third shutout despite giving up two hits and three walks. He struck out seven.

“Zach didn’t have the command he usually has,” Soule said. “He was without his usual pinpoint precision, but he gutted his way through.”

Offensively, Greely got two hits, both doubles, from Kolben, who also scored twice. Sheff scored two runs, while Almy, Axelsen, Carter, Leding, Mac Madore and Williams also touched home. Leding had three RBI and Cloutier one.

The Rangers left four runners on base.

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Edward Little stranded five runners.

Cassidy took the loss, giving up eight runs (three earned) on five hits in three innings. He walked three, struck out three and also hit a batter.

Masselli gave up two runs on two hits in two innings of relief, walking one.

Next ace up

Edward Little looks to bounce back Monday at home versus Skowhegan.

Greely, meanwhile, will take part in rivalry week next week, as it stays home Monday to meet Yarmouth, then goes to Cape Elizabeth Friday.

“Those will be two good rivalry games, “Soule said. “I’m sure we’ll be tested. We’ll work hard so we can win the close games. Overall, I’m pleased where we are so far this season. We’re playing well, but there are always things to improve on. We have to keep working hard and fine-tune our approach at the plate and on the basepaths.”

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

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