BOX SCORE 

Greely 11 Freeport 0 (5-innings)

F- 000 00- 0 0 3
G- 308 0X- 11 11 0

Bottom 1st
Cloutier scored on error. Kolben scored on error. Soucie grounded out, Williams scored.

Bottom 3rd
Johnston singled to right, Kolben scored. Kelso singled to left, Williams scored. Soucie singled to center, Johnston scored. Kelso scored on ground out. Cloutier singled to center, Soucie scored. Kolben doubled to left, Cloutier and Axelsen scored. Madore scored on error.

Multiple hits:
G- Cloutier 3, Johnston, Kolben

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Runs:
G- Cloutier, Kolben, Williams 2, Axelsen, Johnston, Kelso, Madore, Soucie

RBI:
G- Kolben, Soucie 2, Cloutier, Johnston, Kelso

Doubles:
G- Cloutier, Kolben

Stolen bases:
F- Shea
G- Johnston

Left on base:
F- 1
G- 6

Aguiar, Pawlowski (3), Converse (4) and von Glinsky-Gregoire; Kolben and Soucie.

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F:
Aguiar (L, 1-1) 2.2 IP 9 H 11 R 8 ER 2 BB 0 K 1 HBP
Pawlowski 0.1 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K
Converse 1 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 0 K

G:
Kolben (W, 4-1) 5 IP 0 H 0 R 1 BB 8 K 1 HBP

Time: 1:13

CUMBERLAND—Round one goes to the red-hot Rangers.

Wednesday afternoon at Twin Brook Recreation Center, Greely hosted reigning Class B South champion Freeport in a rematch of last year’s regional final and the Rangers continued their revenge tour with their most impressive victory to date.

Greely, which avenged its lone loss of the season Monday at Yarmouth, quickly earned a measure of revenge against the Falcons, pounding out 11 hits, while senior Ryan Kolben, for the second consecutive start, didn’t allow the opposition a single one.

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The Rangers scored all the runs they’d need in the bottom of the first off Freeport junior starting pitcher Zane Aguiar, courtesy a bad-hop single, two errors, a passed ball, a hit batsman and an RBI ground out.

Greely then exploded for eight runs on eight hits in the third to end all doubt.

Six straight hits, including RBI singles from senior designated hitter Zach Johnston, junior first baseman Mason Kelso, freshman catcher Wyatt Soucie and sophomore leftfielder Sam Almy, followed by a two-run double from Kolben, completely broke the game open.

The only remaining drama was whether or not Kolben, who will play next year at the University of Massachusetts, could throw his second straight five-inning no-hitter and the answer was a resounding yes, as Kolben struck out consecutive batters in the top of the fifth before inducing a ground out to put the finishing flourish on an 11-0 victory.

The Rangers won their sixth game in a row, improved to 12-1, snapped the Falcons’ eight-game win streak and dropped them to 9-2 in the process.

“I was expecting a closer game,” said Kolben. “We prepared a lot and had a different mindset going into this week and that’s the mindset we should have the rest of the season. We know at the end of the day, these games don’t mean that much until the playoffs come and come playoffs, it’s a whole different story.”

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Long-awaited opportunity

Greely started with a 10-0 home win over Fryeburg Academy. After an 8-2 victory at Brunswick, which was longtime coach Derek Soule’s 300th, came an 18-0 (five-inning) win at Wells. After beating visiting Poland (6-1), the Rangers enjoyed a 13-0 (six-inning) triumph at Gray-New Gloucester, then shut down visiting Edward Little, 10-0, in five-innings. After a 7-2 loss to Yarmouth, Greely won at Cape Elizabeth (10-3), beat host Lake Region (12-2, in five-innings), edged visiting York (4-3) and Friday, blanked visiting Cape Elizabeth (11-0, in five-innings, on a no-hitter from Kolben), before holding off host Yarmouth in a great game Monday, 2-0.

As for Freeport, it opened with a 7-5 win at Morse and after a 3-2 loss at Mt. Ararat, had won eight straight, downing visiting Wells (10-0, in five-innings), host Yarmouth (5-2), visiting Cape Elizabeth (1-0), host York (9-5) and visiting Gray-New Gloucester (6-0), Lake Region (8-1), Fryeburg Academy (5-2) and Poland (9-0), in its most recent outing, last Wednesday.

Last year, Greely won all three regular season meetings, 12-0 (in five-innings) at home and 3-2 and 3-0 at Freeport in a doubleheader sweep, but in the Class B South Final, the Falcons turned the tables with a 4-1 victory behind a clutch two-run double from Kempton von Glinsky-Gregoire and a strong pitching performance from Blaine Cockburn, who got help from Aguiar and Nate Abbott in relief.

Wednesday, on a windy and pleasant afternoon (67 degrees at first pitch), Freeport looked for its first regular season win over the Rangers since May 2, 2018, but instead, Greely dominated.

The game began auspiciously enough for the Falcons, as senior shortstop Keigan Shea drew a four-pitch walk off Kolben. Then, with Cockburn, the centerfielder, at the plate, Shea appeared to steal second, but he couldn’t keep contact with the bag and Greely senior shortstop Max Cloutier applied the tag. Kolben then got Cockburn to ground out to first and after going to a full count on von Glinsky-Gregoire, Kolben induced a fly ball to left.

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In the bottom half, Cloutier led off with a sharp ground ball toward Shea, but it took a high hop off the dirt and went over Shea’s head for a leadoff single. Sophomore third baseman Marky Axelsen then grounded out to short, with the runner going, putting Cloutier at second. Kolben then grounded to third, but sophomore third baseman Aaron Converse misplayed the ball and the error allowed Kolben to reach and Cloutier to come around with the only run the Rangers would need.

But they weren’t done.

Aguiar then hit senior designated hitter Brooks Williams with a pitch and a passed ball moved the runners up to second and third. After Johnston drew a walk to load the bases, Kelso also reached on an error, bringing home Kolben. Soucie then grounded into a second-to-short force out with Williams scoring on the play. Almy flew out to right, but Greely had a quick 3-0 lead.

Kolben started the top of the second by plunking senior first baseman Robert Landry, but he would retire every subsequent batter he faced. Kolben struck out senior rightfielder Gus Wing swinging, fanned Converse on an off-speed pitch and junior designated hitter Gus Hollen chased strike three as well.

In the bottom half, sophomore centerfielder Jackson Leding grounded out to second, Cloutier popped out to first and Axelsen flew out to deep left.

Kolben made quick work of Freeport in the top of the third, getting both senior Colin Cronin and sophomore second baseman Harry Walker to look at strike three, before going to a full count on Shea before getting him to pop out to short.

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The Rangers then erupted in the bottom half.

Kolben led off by grounding the first pitch he saw between first and second for a single. Williams then swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded a single up the middle past a diving Shea. Johnston then grounded a single to right and Kolben barely scored on a close play at the plate. With Kelso at the plate, Johnston stole second, then Kelso singled through the hole between third and short, scoring Williams and putting runners at the corners. Soucie then swung at the first pitch he saw and singled to center, bringing home Johnston. Almy then singled to load the bases. Aguiar got Leding to ground into second-to-short-to-first double play, but Kelso scored in the process. Cloutier kept the fun going with a single to center, scoring Soucie to make it 8-0. After Axelsen drew a four-pitch walk, Kolben, who started the inning, ripped a double just to the right of a lunging Converse, to score two more run.

“The wind was blowing in during (batting practice), so we knew in order to get hits, we had to keep the ball low,” Kolben said. “That was our focus today and it worked out.”

That hit ended Aguiar’s afternoon. Sophomore Bobby Pawlowski came on in relief and got Williams to ground to second, but an error scored another run. Johnston then singled off the glove of Landry before Kelso finally ended the inning with a ground out to second, but Greely had an 11-0 advantage.

In the top of the fourth, Kolben quickly set down the Falcons, getting Cockburn to ground back to the mound, striking out von Glinsky-Gregoire, then getting Landry to ground out to first.

Converse came on in relief in the bottom half and got Soucie to ground out to third and junior pinch-hitter Cam Irish to fly deep to left, but sophomore pinch-hitter Ethan Robeck singled through the hole and Cloutier doubled down the rightfield line before Axelsen lined back to the mound to keep the score 11-0.

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Kolben then came out to finish it off in the fifth.

Kolben got freshman pinch-hitter Ben Bolduc to chase strike three, then fanned Converse on an off-speed pitch. That left the game up to senior pinch-hitter Devin Lamb, who grounded out and after 73 tidy minutes, Greely had an 11-0 victory.

“We played well, but we know they didn’t pitch their number one today, so we’ll take this in stride and we recognize there’s a lot of baseball left,” said Soule. “I’m pleased with how we swung the bats today. We had a lot of hard-hit balls.”

Kolben faced just one batter over the minimum, as he walked one (who was later erased on the basepaths) and hit another. Kolben finished with eight strikeouts.

“My fastball command was definitely there,” Kolben said. “When I had to throw my curveball, it was good. I’m beyond confident in Wyatt catching. It’s easy to pitch when you have a stellar defense behind you. I knew in my head I hadn’t given up any hits.”

“Back-to-back, five-inning no-hitters is pretty cool,” Soule said. “Ryan’s the first Greely Ranger ever (to throw two consecutive no-hitters in one season). Bobby Doyle in 1969, back when they played nine innings, lost the chance to do that with two outs in the ninth. We’ve had a lot of great pitchers and he’s the first one to do it.”

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Offensively, the Rangers got three hits from Cloutier and two apiece from Johnston and Kolben.

Cloutier, Kolben and Williams all scored twice, while Axelsen, Johnston, Kelso, Mac Madore and Soucie touched home once apiece.

Kolben and Soucie each drove in two runs, while Cloutier, Johnston and Kelso all had one RBI.

Greely left six runners on.

Freeport only stranded one base runner.

Aguiar took the loss and fell to 1-1 after giving up 11 runs (eight earned) on nine hits and on two walks in 2.2 innings. He also hit a batter.

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Pawlowski pitched a scoreless third-of-an-inning of relief.

Converse went the final scoreless inning, giving up two hits.

Cockburn, who is bound for the University of Maine, didn’t pitch in either regular season game last year against Greely, so his being in centerfield and not on the mound Wednesday didn’t come as a big surprise.

“We weren’t really sure if he’d pitch,” Soule said. “Last year, they opted not to show him to us during the regular season and it worked out for them.”

“( Blaine) would have closed today if we had a lead,” said Falcons coach Steve Shukie. “We’re trying to bring his pitch down a little bit this time of year. We have some big games coming up. We have one more against Greely. I don’t know yet if he’ll pitch. It depends on where we are and what we need.

“We’re down a couple guys right now. Not that it would have made a huge difference, but it did change up a few things for us. We knew they hit the ball hard and they found some holes and we didn’t make every play. It got away from us early and that was the difference.

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“Against them, you can’t away to give away outs and runners and take advantage of the opportunities they give us and there weren’t a lot. They’ll roll you if you let them and that’s what they did today. Greely exposes your flaws. We saw some guys in new positions today, so they know what they have to do.”

Eyeing June

The teams meet again in the regular season finale May 31 in Freeport, but both squads will be tested in the meantime.

Freepot (now third in the Class B South Heal Points standings) hopes to bounce back Friday at Cape Elizabeth. The Falcons then have a key home test versus Yarmouth Monday.

“We’ve won games, but some of the better teams haven’t played their best against us,” Shukie said. “That didn’t happen today. We’re in the mix, but we have to play better and we know that.”

Greely (now first in Class B South) is off until Monday, when it plays its regular season home finale, versus Lake Region. The Rangers travel to Fryeburg Academy Wednesday of next week.

Greely hopes to be back at Twin Brook for multiple games come the postseason.

“It would be huge to have homefield (advantage),” Kolben said. “It’s definitely fun to be home and hopefully it works out for us to stay home in the playoffs.”

“We definitely want to be either the one or two seed and if we advance, with the open tournament, to be able to host three rounds at home,” Soule said. “That would be a big deal. We’re comfortable on this field. We’ll keep plugging away.”

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

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