Baseball: Lincoln wears down Leavitt

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TURNER — Hey, at least Leavitt Area High School got to play seven innings of baseball Friday afternoon against Lincoln Academy.

On second thought, maybe that wasn’t such a happy twist of fate.

Lincoln saved its 11-run outburst for the top of the seventh, too late for the mercy rule to intervene and forcing the Hornets to play out the string in an stinging 19-0 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference defeat.

It was a typical day of teeing it up for the Eagles (8-2), who have outscored opponents 64-4 during a four-game winning streak.

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Nat Baptist, Brandon Reilly and Alex Cosgrove combined on a four-hit shutout, the Eagles’ third straight goose egg.

This was the Eagles’ first game to go the regulation distance in almost two weeks. So they can be forgiven for starting to form a line for the post-game handshake after the 10th run trotted home, only to be informed that the Hornets (3-6) still had the right to bat in the bottom of the seventh.

Not before Lincoln scored nine more times, though, with the aid of seven hits and five Leavitt errors.

“Normally we tell our kids in that situation we’re not going to worry about base hits. I’m worried about giving up free bases with the errors and things like that,” said Leavitt coach Dave Bochtler. “But when they have seven hits in one inning, there’s not much I can do. I threw three sophomore pitchers today.”

The first young arm in that parade, Tim Dow, kept it a 2-0 game until the fifth.

That’s when Lincoln settled into a batting cage-quality comfort zone, batting around the order and ripping it open with six runs.

All 18 Lincoln hits were singles. Steve Quinlan and Dalton Leeman each delivered four of those. They combined for seven runs and knocked in a total of five.

“It took a while to come around tonight. I don’t know if the longer ride took a toll on us or not,” said Lincoln coach Greg Rice. “We’re pretty sound. The last couple years we’ve taken a lot of pride in our pitching and defense. This is the first year that the bats have started to come around.”

Max Cloutier, Matt Janosco, Kevin Theiss and Lucas Witham notched the hits for Leavitt.

Janosco and Theiss strung together their singles with one out in the fourth. Theiss was forced out at second on a hard-luck fielder’s choice, however, after right fielder Merritt Wotton stopped another would-be single on a hop and fired to shortstop Ben McLain.

Lincoln later caught Janosco leaning off third and nailed him in a rundown to halt the Hornets’ lone threat. Only two other Leavitt runners reached second base.

“I have two returning seniors and four sophomores. I’m not happy, but up until that last inning we didn’t play terrible defense,” said Bochtler. “We’ve got three games next week. We’ll go out and try and win them. Our goal was to be .500 this year. We’ve got some work to do to do that. We have a chance to get there, but it’s a big ship to turn around.”

Reilly’s sacrifice fly scored Quinlan and got Lincoln untracked against Dow in the third. Mardy Alden’s groundout in the fourth made it 2-0 after Dalton Leeman walked and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches.

McLain added three hits and Jeff Lamb and Kyle Scherer two apiece for Lincoln. Baptist struck out three and walked one in his five innings.

koakes@sunjournal.com

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