Mountain Valley’s Ethan Laubauskas catches the ball as Monmouth’s Tom Neal slides back to first base during Wednesday afternoon’s baseball game in Rumford. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
RUMFORD — Monmouth and Mountain Valley played Wednesday’s MVC baseball matchup with the urgency of two teams looking to bounce back from embarrassing losses.
They were close to even, too, through four-and-a-half innings before a couple of controversial calls went the Falcons’ way and helped them pull away with seven runs in their final two innings for a 12-5 win.
Dylan Desroches had a big day for Mountain Valley (6-3), going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. He finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Teammate Garrett Garbarini did go deep for one of his two hits, while Jacob Blanchard had three singles as part of the Falcons’ 12-hit attack.
“One through nine, I feel like we’re probably the best team hitting right now,” Desroches said.
Trevor Flanagan led Monmouth (6-4) with two hits (double, RBI single), while Nick Dovinsky doubled, walked twice and scored twice.
Dovinsky pulled the Mustangs within 5-4 with his two-run double in the fourth. The Falcons put the pressure back on Monmouth starter Avery Pomerleau in the fifth by loading the bases on Desroches’ double and a pair of walks with no one out.
With the infield drawn in, Pomerleau got the grounder he was looking for right back to the mound. He fired home for the force and catcher Matt Fortin relayed to first for what was initially ruled and out and a crucial double play.
But the Falcons protested that Fortin’s throw pulled the first baseman off the base and, after the base umpire consulted with the home plate umpire, got the call reversed, loading the bases with one out rather than runners at second and third with two out.
On Pomerleau’s next pitch, Will Bean, a left-handed hitter, squared up to bunt for a suicide squeeze. As he offered at the pitch, he stepped out of the batter’s box and in front of Fortin, who was unable to field the pitch. It skipped to the backstop and Desroches, who was breaking home with the pitch, scored to make it 6-4.
Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi protested, claiming Bean interfered with his catcher, which would have resulted in Bean being out and Desroches returning to third. After another conference among the umpires, the initial ruling was upheld.
“It’s no different than if a batter swings and comes across the plate as the catcher is trying to make the throw to second. He doesn’t have to make contact with him for it to be interference,” Palleschi said. “He impeded my catcher’s ability to catch the ball. That’s clear.”
“That was a huge point in the game. It was a one-run game,” he added.
Pinch hitter Anthony Mazza followed with a bloop two-run single and Jacob Blanchard drove Bean in with another single off of reliever Flanagan to make it 9-4.
“We knew we could keep it going after (the calls) went in our favor,” Desroches said.
The Falcons added three more in the sixth on Desroches’ two-run single and Bean’s sacrifice fly. Garbarini relieved starter Hunter Ames for the seventh and sent the Mustangs down in order.
“We hit the ball well today,” said Mountain Valley coach Steve LaPointe, whose team fell 13-3 to Hall-Dale on Monday. “After the first inning, Hunter really settled in. He mixed his pitches pretty so well, and defensively we pretty good (one error).”
Coming off of a mistake-filled 7-0 loss to Lisbon on Monday, Monmouth got the jump start it needed with a pair of runs in the top of the first on RBI singles by Flanagan and Fortin. Ames ended the damage there by getting Carlos Garcia to pop out to first with the bases loaded.
“We didn’t get that hit when we needed it,” Palleschi said. “I don’t know how many guys we left on base (eight), but it seemed like a lot, especially early. We got the bases loaded and only got two out of it and that hurt us a little bit.”
A pair of Monmouth errors in the bottom of the first helped Mountain Valley grab the lead it would never relinquish with four runs. Garbarini tied it with his two-run homer to left-center.
With two out, Desroches reached on an infield single and Ethan Laubauskas walked. Bean singled Desroches home, then started a rundown that ultimately scored Laubauskas from third on an errant throw.
Laubauskas made it 5-2 Falcons in the third with a sacrifice fly that scored Desroches, who had tripled.
“I’ve been kind of struggling lately, so my coach told me to jump on the first good pitch you see,” Desroches said. “It worked out for me today.”
Ames retired eight of the next nine Mustangs before hitting Tom Neal with a pitch, which sparked Monmouth’s two-out, two-run rally in the fourth.
Monmouth’s first baseman, Trevor Flanagan, catches the ball as Mountain Valley’s Dylan Desroches lands on the base during Wednesday afternoon’s baseball game in Rumford. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s first baseman, Trevor Flanagan, loses the ball as Mountain Valley’s Dylan Desroches gets back on the base during Wednesday afternoon’s baseball game in Rumford. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Avery Pomerleau charges for first base as Mountain Valley’s Ethan Laubauskas catches the ball during Wednesday afternoon’s baseball game in Rumford. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)