Spruce Mountain baseball coach Brian Dube, middle, smiles as he and Caulin Parker watch the Phoenix battle with Maranacook in a KVAC baseball opener in Livermore Falls on Wednesday.
LIVERMORE FALLS — Good luck trying to rattle Spruce Mountain pitcher Nate Goodine on the mound, or fastball hitter Devon Pomeroy at the plate.
Goodine got himself out of a couple of jams for the win and Pomeroy didn’t flinch in the batter’s box when he faced Maranacook’s hard-throwing starter Dan Garand in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference baseball opener on a winter-like Wednesday afternoon.
Throw in a clutch relief performance from Austin Gilboe on the mound and some timely hitting, and the high-flying Phoenix slipped away with a 4-2 victory over the talented Black Bears, who hammered out 11 hits to Spruce’s five.
Goodine held the high ground in a dangerous situation where the Black Bears could have run up the tally. He got into trouble in the second inning when Avery Beckwith and Aric Belanger each a hit a single with no outs. Beckwith and Belanger eventually moved to second and third base, but the unflappable Goodine struck out the next three batters to put an end to the threat. He also helped his own cause when he drove in a run in the third inning
“My biggest thing is just to have fun,” Goodine said. “I like to joke around. Pomeroy and I are really good friends. So when things things get tough out there, I just like to take my mind off what is going on, like with the runners, have fun and realize it is high school — don’t take it too serious — just pitch and throw strikes.
“It was a good win, a good start to the season. I am really looking forward to this season. It is a good way to get started.”
Pomeroy provided the timely hitting with two long base hits that drove in three of Spruce Mountain’s four runs.
“We played pretty solid in the field, except for a few misthrows, and at the plate, we put the bat on the ball,” Pomeroy said. “I felt comfortable (at the plate). I like a fast-throwing pitcher and I like to hit fastballs early in the count.
“I think it is a good start, beating a good competitor like Maranacook to kick off the season.”
The Black Bears got on the scoreboard first in the opening inning. Catcher Max McQuillen singled, stole second and came home when third baseman Nick Bowie smashed a long single to left field.
The Phoenix responded in the bottom half with two runs. Gilboe walked, Goodine got on with an error and both came home on Pomeroy’s two-run single.
Spruce Mountain coach Brian Dube was impressed with the all-around effort from his Phoenix.
“Basically, we made the routine play,” Dube said. “We booted a couple early but then settled in.
“Goodine did a good job of changing speeds because they are a good fastball hitting team. Pomeroy came through big for us. He hit a couple of balls right on the button.
“If we minimize our mistakes, we are going to be in every game because we have four quality pitchers. It is always a confidence boost when you get your first win. We are looking to string a couple together.”
The Phoenix remained on top 2-1 going into the third inning before the Black Bears tied the game. McQuillen ripped a home run to center field.
Spruce Mountain didn’t waste a moment in the bottom half of that inning. Gilboe got on with a walk and scored his second run after Pomeroy blasted his second RBI single. The Phoenix got one more run in the fifth inning. Goodine brought home Hunter Dalton who go on with a base hit.
Maranacook’s Garand was tagged with a loss even though he slowed the Phoenix down on offense. Beckwith came in and pitched the final two innings for the Black Bears.
“Spruce didn’t make the mistakes and we made a few mistakes and that cost us,” Maranacook coach Eric Brown said. “We did have guys who put the bat to the ball. We had some good at-bats.
“You make those mistakes and it is going to cost you in a close game. (Avery Beckwith) was solid for us last year. He went seven and one for us last year. We have got some pitching. We don’t have a lot varsity experience — defensively and offensively right now.”
Spruce Mountain first baseman Logan Moffett stretches to catch the ball, but Max McQuillen beats the throw in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference baseball opener against Maranacook in Livermore Falls on Wednesday. The Phoenix won, 4-2Spruce Mountain second baseman Nick Lombardi puts a tag on Maranacook pinch runner Dan Shea during a KVAC opener in Livermore Falls on Wednesday.Spruce Mountain shortstop Austin Gilboe comes racing around around third base to score a run as Maranacook catcher Max McQuillen watches in a KVAC baseball opener in Livermore Falls on Wednesday.