RUMFORD — Some people just can’t function without a crisis.
Or in Brady Fergola’s case, the Mountain Valley High School first baseman doesn’t seem to feel truly at home in the batter’s box until he’s working with a no-ball, two-strike count.
“I don’t know if people think they can just blow it by him in that situation, or what,” said Mountain Valley coach Steve LaPointe.
Time for the rest of the MVC to rethink. Fergola cranked a Willie Brown heater to the wall in right field for a two-run, game-tying triple in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday. An error at first base later ushered home Fergola with the winning run to complete a 5-4 victory over Livermore Falls at Hosmer Field.
Fergola also led off the fourth and sixth innings with singles. The latter line drive led to Mountain Valley’s first run of the game after the Andies’ James McLamb stymied the Falcons (4-1) through the first five frames.
“The first two at-bats I went 0-2, and I got hits on those,” Fergola said. “You just shorten up your swing and put it in play.”
He fell into the same hole before lashing out the game-winning hit in the Falcons’ precious outing, a 13-12 win over Telstar.
Three of Mountain Valley’s first five games have been decided by one run. Livermore Falls (5-2) saw its five-game winning streak halted.
“We got off to a good start,” said Livermore Falls coach Brian Dube. “We just didn’t continue to get runs.”
Livermore Falls sent all nine batters to the plate in the top of the first, using five hits and sacrifice flies by Chandler White and Brandon Hodges to construct a 4-0 lead.
Bryan Maurais belted an RBI double and Derek Castonguay plated a run with a single to highlight the quick start against Mountain Valley’s Connor Blais.
McLamb and Blais swapped zeroes thereafter until the sixth.
Blais’ two-out single in the third marked the first Mountain Valley hit against McLamb, who finished with 11 strikeouts. Blais sat down nine consecutive Andies between McLamb’s single in the second and White’s double in the fifth.
“We always have one bad inning, and we got it over with right off,” Fergola said.
Two blunders cost Livermore Falls a pair of possible insurance runs in the sixth.
After Hodges’ leadoff single, pinch runner Andre Uter stole second and advanced to third when the throw escaped into center field. But the Falcons caught and retired Uter in a rundown after Castonguay’s squeeze bunt attempt.
“It was a safety squeeze. I sent him,” Dube acknowledged. “We had gotten into a little lull there, and we were hoping to add on.”
Hunter Brett was called out for batter’s interference to end the inning as Shawn Whiting attempted to take third base on a passed ball.
That turn of events and Fergola’s sharp single to left awakened the Falcons. Salgado drew a one-out walk off McLamb — the lefty’s first free pass of the afternoon.
Cam Kaubris sinking liner to right coaxed an attempted diving catch. Instead, the ball fell to the grass and skipped away to the fence as Fergola and Salgado rounded the bases.
“The guys played with some confidence. It’s about not getting down. Don’t let anything bother you. Just play the game and have fun,” LaPointe said. “That’s what they did today. And that hit by Cam was huge.”
Ryan Nicols wound up with the win after a 1-2-3 seventh inning in relief of Blais. Livermore Falls initially cast its lot in the seventh with McLamb, who exceeded the 100-pitch plateau on walks to Tim Ross and Izaak Mills.
That brought in Brown and set the stage for Fergola. Undaunted by the big hit and the tie score, Brown weaved another 0-2 count against Ryan Laubauskas, then made a diving stab on Laubauskas’ comebacker to the mound.
Brown looked Fergola back to third and made an accurate throw to first, but it flew through the webbing of the mitt and punched Fergola’s ticket home to an improbable victory.
“Every time you come up here you’re in a battle, and we just didn’t finish it today,” Dube said.