YARMOUTH—Give Yarmouth’s baseball team an extra out and it will make you pay with a run.

Or nine.

Monday afternoon, visiting Freeport learned that the hard way as it allowed just one earned run to the red-hot Clippers, but five errors, leading to nine unearned runs, sealed its doom.

The tone was set in the bottom of the first inning, when junior second baseman Matt Gautreau reached on an error leading off and came home to score on a sacrifice fly from junior first baseman David Swift.

Senior starter Liam Hickey then protected that lead, working around a pair of Falcons’ doubles.

Yarmouth then doubled its lead in the fourth, as junior centerfielder Sam Lowenstein scored on another error.


In the top of the fifth, Freeport scored an unearned run of its own, but in the bottom of the sixth, the game turned in the Clippers’ favor for good.

Yarmouth sent 12 men to the plate, capitalized on a couple more Falcons’ errors and pushed eight runs across to end all doubt.

Senior Stevie Walsh came on to close the door in the seventh and the Clippers had a 10-1 victory.

Yarmouth avenged an earlier loss to Freeport, dropped the Falcons to 7-6 and in the process, improved to 10-2 after its ninth consecutive victory.

“That was fun,” said longtime Clippers coach Marc Halsted. “We want to be a team that can play small-ball and win a 2-1 game, but we also expect to put the hammer down. Our kids hammered in the sixth.”

Hitting the home stretch


Yarmouth struggled to start, then flipped the switch in a big way. After opening with a 4-1 setback at Freeport, the Clippers blanked visiting Lake Region (1-0). After a 6-2 home loss to Fryeburg Academy, the calendar flipped to May and Yarmouth got going, blanking visiting York (5-0) and host Poland (14-0, in five-innings), beating visiting Gray-New Gloucester (9-1) and Wells (8-1) and winning at Mt. Ararat (5-3), at Greely (12-2) and at Gray-New Gloucester (8-1), before blanking visiting Poland Friday (4-0).

Freeport, meanwhile, was expected to come back to the pack after graduation took its toll on a team which fell one run shy of a championship a year ago and while the Falcons have struggled at times, they seem to be peaking late in the season, as they so often do.

Freeport started with a 7-5 home loss to Mt. Ararat, then defeated visiting Morse in six-innings (11-1) and Yarmouth (4-1) before falling at Cape Elizabeth (2-1) and Wells (3-0). After an 11-4 home win over York, the Falcons beat host Gray-New Gloucester (5-3) and Lake Region (6-4). After losing one-run games at Fryeburg Academy (8-7) and Poland (4-3), Freeport put it together last week and downed visiting Greely (6-2) and Cape Elizabeth (8-5).

In the teams’ first meeting, April 26, junior Thomas Roy had the key hit, a two-run, and junior Arlo Boutureira earned the victory with junior Aaron Converse getting the save. Hickey took the loss for the Clippers.

Monday, on a sunny afternoon (58 degrees at first pitch), Freeport hoped to beat Yarmouth for the fourth straight time, but instead, it was the Clippers posting another impressive ‘W.’

Yarmouth senior starter Liam Hickey throws a strike early in Monday’s 10-1 home win over Freeport. Hoffer photos.

Hickey started the game by retiring junior leftfielder Tristan Francis on a ground ball to third and junior shortstop Harry Walker on a grounder to short, but Converse, the second baseman, went the other way and lined a double to right-center. That brought up senior catcher Gus Hollen with a chance to give the Falcons a quick lead, but Hollen grounded out to short for the third out.


In the bottom half, Gautreau led off against Freeport senior starter Zane Aguiar with a grounder to short, but Walker couldn’t field it cleanly and the error put Gautreau on base. Junior shortstop Andrew Cheever was next and he continued his torrid hitting with a single to center, sending Gautreau to third and on the throw, Cheever took second. Swift then put the Clippers ahead to stay with a fly ball to center which scored Gautreau.

Yarmouth junior Matt Gautreau dives in with the game’s first run.

Walsh, who began the game at third base, grounded out to short, moving Cheever to third, but he’d be stranded when Lowenstein grounded back to the mound, keeping the score 1-0.

Sophomore first baseman Ben Bolduc led off the top of the second with a ground out to third, but freshman centerfielder Liam Emmons, who homered twice in Friday’s win over Cape Elizabeth, crushed a Hickey offering deep to left, over the head of junior leftfielder Jack Janczuk for an easy stand-up double. Aguiar had a chance to help himself, but he flew out to left, then senior third baseman Aidan Heath couldn’t hold up on a pitch and struck out swinging to end the threat.

Freeport senior pitcher Zane Aguiar delivers a strike.

In the bottom of the second, Aguiar caught Janczuk looking at strike three, got Hickey to ground back to him on the first pitch he saw and after junior catcher Graeme Roux singled to right, junior designated hitter Aaron Mason grounded out sharply to Bolduc at first for the final out.

Hickey enjoyed his lone 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third, fanning junior rightfielder Will Maneikis on an off-speed pitch, getting Francis to pop out to short and Walker to ground out to shortstop.

In the bottom half, Gautreau led off with a deep fly out to left, then Cheever singled just over the glove of Converse into rightfield. Swift grounded into a second-to-short force out, then Walsh bounced out to Walker, who stepped on second to send the game to the top of the fourth.


There, Converse got things started with a single to center, but Hollen’s deep fly ball to center was caught by Lowenstein, Bolduc grounded into a first-to-shortstop force out, then after falling behind in the count 3-0, Hickey worked it full before getting Emmons to ground out to short.

Yarmouth then got a second run in the bottom of the fourth.

Lowenstein led off by blooping an 0-2 pitch over Heath into left for a single. He stole second and on the play, Hollen’s throw got away, sending Lowenstein to third. Janczuk then squibbed the ball in front of the plate and was thrown out by Hollen, with Lowenstein staying put, but when Hickey grounded out to third, Lowenstein took off for home on the throw, decided against it when he saw he’d be out easily, then Hollen threw the ball away and Lowenstein came home anyway to make it 2-0. Roux flew out to center, but the damage was done.

Freeport crept back into the game in the top of the fifth.

Aguiar led off by singling to right, then he went to second when Heath’s liner was right back to the mound and deflected off Hickey, but he managed to recover and throw him out at first. Hickey was given a moment to collect himself, then fanned Maneikis. Francis’ grounder to third appeared primed to end the frame, but Walsh threw wildly and the error allowed Aguiar to come home to cut the deficit in half. Francis stole second, then Walker walked on a 3-2 pitch, but Walsh atoned for his miscue by making a nice play on a slow roller off the bat of Converse before throwing him out to retire the side and keep the score 2-1.

“It’s hard to move on, but I did my best to put it behind me,” said Walsh. “That kind of translates to any sport or just life in general.”


“I was so excited when Stevie made that error because I knew we were all set,” Halsted said. “As soon as he makes a mistake, it’s Christmas come early for us because it doesn’t happen again.”

In the bottom half, Aguiar got Mason to ground to second, fanned Gautreau on an off-speed pitch, then Cheever crushed the ball to deep center, but Emmons ran it down near the fence to retire the side.

The Falcons had a chance to pull even in the top of the sixth, but came up empty.

Hollen led off with a sharp line drive that appeared ticketed for leftfield, but Walsh dove to his left and made the stab. After Bolduc popped up to second, Emmons worked the count full and drew a walk, then stole second, but on a 2-2 pitch, his final delivery of the day, Hickey blew strike three past his opposite number, Aguiar, to protect the lead.

A pitcher’s duel then turned into a runaway in a wild bottom of the sixth.

Swift led off and got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and lined a double down the leftfield line to get things started. Walsh then singled past short, but Swift had to hold at third. Lowenstein followed with a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Swift with an insurance run, but there would be many, many more runs to come.


Senior Jonny Cody pinch-hit and after Walsh stole second, he drew a walk and on ball four, Walsh stole third base as well. That ended Aguiar’s day, in favor of Converse, who would have little go his way.

Hickey greeted Converse with a bunt back to the mound that resulted in a throwing error, which allowed both Walsh and Cody to score and Hickey to take second, where he was replaced by junior Sam Bradford. Bradford immediately came home on an RBI single to center off the bat of Roux, who was replaced by senior Roman Solmos. After Mason lined out to third for the second out, Gautreau beat out an infield single to the hole between short and third, putting runners at the corners.

Yarmouth junior Andrew Cheever lines one of his three hits.

That brought up Cheever, who again produced, singling into the hole, scoring Solmos and putting runners at first and second. Swift, who started the inning with a double, did it again, ripping a two-base shot down the leftfield line, bringing home Gautreau. Walsh then beat out an infield single to score Cheever and on the play, another error scored Swift as well. Lowenstein came up with a chance to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule, but he popped out to second to finally end the marathon inning.

“We didn’t know who was going out (to the mound) in the seventh, but to help your pitcher like that was just huge,” Walsh said. “It really gives the boys a lot of confidence.”

It would be Walsh coming on in relief in the seventh to close it out and he got Heath to ground back to the mound on the first pitch and after walking pinch-hitter Liam Hall, Walsh got Francis to line out to center, the induced a ground out to second off the bat of Walker to bring the curtain down on Yarmouth’s 10-1 triumph.

“Pitching isn’t exactly my first thing, but I like it when I can get out there,” Walsh said.


The Clippers’ offense was led by three hits from Cheever and two hits apiece from Roux, Swift and Walsh.

Gautreau and Swift both scored two runs, while Bradford, Cheever, Cody, Lowenstein, Solmos and Walsh all touched home plate once.

Swift drove in two runs, while Cheever, Lowenstein, Roux and Walsh also finished with one RBI.

Yarmouth only stranded four base runners.

Hickey earned the victory, not allowing an earned run in six innings. He gave up four hits, walked two and fanned four.

“Pitching with my defense behind me, I know if I put a ball in play, they’ll make the outs,” Hickey said. “Stevie makes plays at third. Cheever, I don’t even watch him when they ball’s hit to him because he always makes a play. Matty, David, the outfield. They’re all awesome. They do everything. Last time wasn’t my best game. I felt better today. I still have things I can work on, so I’m looking forward to the next one.”


“Liam probably lost four or five miles-per-hour off his fastball in the sixth, but he was gritty and gutty and found a way to elevate late,” Halsted said.

Walsh threw a hitless, scoreless inning of relief.

Too many miscues

Freeport got two hits from Converse and Aguiar scored the run, but the Falcons left seven runners on and couldn’t overcome five errors.

Aguiar was the hard-luck loser, allowing five runs (just one earned) in 5.1 innings. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out two.

“Zane was really dealing,” said Falcons coach Steve Shukie. “He didn’t pitch badly at all. I could have kept him out there, but I thought maybe a different look might change things a little bit. He deserved better. He’s done really well for us. He’s had a good year for us. He pounds the zone, uses his fielders.”


Converse gave up five unearned runs on five hits in relief.

“(Yarmouth’s) a good team,” Shukie said. “You make a mistake against them and they make you pay. They hit the ball hard. Every batter, one through nine, and it’s line drive after line drive. We had our chances. We fell apart in that last inning and we were staring down a mercy rule loss, but it was a good showdown game. We couldn’t quite put enough pressure on them. We’ve had two good battles with them so far this year and maybe we’ll see a third down the road.

“We’ve had some injury issues. Our leadoff and number two hitters, Thomas Roy and Arlo Boutureira, are both out for the season, but we’ve been fighting and we had some big wins last week against Greely and Cape.”


Both teams will be tested mightily in the final week of the season.

Freeport (now ranked third in the Class B South Heal Points standings) is back in action Wednesday at home versus Gray-New Gloucester. After welcoming Wells in the home finale Saturday, the Falcons close Tuesday of next week at Greely.


“The league is very wide-open,” Shukie said. “We’ve seen some good teams and we’ve taken care of business against some and faltered against some. The (non-Western Maine Conference) teams seem dangerous as well. It depends on who’s pitching and who’s throwing strikes and making the fewest mistakes.”

Yarmouth, meanwhile, has a showdown at Class A North power Oxford Hills Tuesday, visits Wells Wednesday, hosts Greely in its home finale Friday, then closes the regular season at Cape Elizabeth, in a game which might just determine who winds up the top seed in the region, next Tuesday. The Clippers were second to the Capers in Class B South at press time.

“We just have to take it one game at a time,” Walsh said. “We worry about winning one game, then taking care of the next one. This is probably one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on. Obviously, everyone wants to win a state championship and wants to do it for each other.”

“It all starts off in practice,” Hickey said. “The whole coaching staff is doing a great job pushing us, making sure we don’t get too high or too low. After a win, we re-set and worry about the next game. We’re just pushing each other and having fun. We love playing on our homefield. We’ll figure out playoffs when they come.”

“We’re having fun,” added Halsted. “We get to go to Oxford Hills tomorrow and face number three in Class A North. I don’t know who’s on the mound. We’ll have to dig deep. We’ll figure it out and go smash.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

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