NORTH BERWICK — Runs can be tough to come by in Class A South baseball because of the league’s wealth of quality pitching.

So with runners at second and third and two outs in the fifth inning of a tight game Thursday at Noble High, Falmouth senior third baseman Mitchell Ham knew it was time to hustle when he hit a grounder up the middle.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play, and once I hit it, I knew I didn’t hit it very hard but he had a long way to go to get it,” Ham said.

Noble’s second baseman Dominic Dumont got to the ball and made a strong throw, but Ham was ruled safe at first. The infield hit scored both Tony Severino and Brennan Rumpf, who raced home just steps behind Severino.

“I believe I was safe. It was kind of a bang-bang play,” Ham said.

The play gave Falmouth a 4-1 lead, which was plenty of support for pitcher Eli Cowperthwaite. The senior left-hander retired Noble’s first nine hitters and went the distance in a 5-1 win, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out 11.


“He was outstanding today. He had great command early, and that has always been a focus for him, just getting ahead and throwing strikes,” said Falmouth Coach Mike D’Andrea.

Noble’s run came in the fourth when Devin Place reached after striking out on a wild pitch. He moved around the bases on two sacrifice bunts sandwiched Noble’s only hit – a single by Maison Matthews.

“It was a tough pitch to block. They scored,” Cowperthwaite said. “I just stayed mentally tough, and it was all about how we responded, and in the next inning, we put up (three) runs.”

Falmouth improved to 3-1 heading into home games against South Portland on Friday and Kennebunk on Saturday.

“Those are two tough teams and we hope to win both,” Cowperthwaite.

Falmouth struggled to time the off-speed pitches from Noble freshman left-hander Carl Gregoire through four innings. The Navigators scored in the second when Rumpf (3 for 3, two runs, RBI) led off with a double and Ham hit an RBI single to left. But a bigger inning fizzled. Ham was thrown out at the plate on a good play by charging third baseman Chase Dodier, and after Falmouth reloaded the bases, Gregoire struck out No. 3 hitter Ethan Hendry.


With two outs in the fifth, Falmouth finally got to Gregoire. Jacoby Porter, a powerful left-handed swinging freshman, singled. Severino walked, and Rumpf drove in Porter with a single, then advanced to second on the throw home and scored on Ham’s hit.

Noble slipped to 3-2, one day after handing Sanford its first loss of the season. The Knights also beat South Portland, viewed as a top contender, 5-3 in nine innings.

“We’ve played well so far. We just struggled offensively today. That kid pitched a heck of a game,” said Noble Coach Adam Hale.

A year ago, Noble started 4-0 – with a win against South Portland – but finished 7-11. Noble didn’t return any starting pitching but has gotten good work from Gregoire, sophomore Nathan Locke and seniors Aidan O’Connor.

“We’ve definitely taken a step forward this year, especially because we’re so young and what we’re doing right now,” said Place, Noble’s senior shortstop. “We’re definitely going to be way better, especially once we start hitting.”

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