Devon Poisson sprints to first base as Mt Abram catcher Ben Debiase throws the ball during Tuesday’s baseball in Monmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
MONMOUTH — Looking ahead almost cost Monmouth in a Class C South preliminary round baseball game against Mt. Abram on Tuesday.
Monmouth starter Avery Pomerleau was cruising for the first six innings. He was lifted in the seventh for Trevor Flanagan to keep Pomerleau available for Saturday for the regional semifinal if the Mustangs advance, since he had surpassed 90-plus pitches. The Roadrunners (6-11) capitalized, scoring twice, but Monmouth held onto a 5-3 victory.
The No. 7 seed Mustangs travel to Lisbon on No. 2 on Thursday in the regional quarterfinals.
“They’ve always hit the ball,” Monmouth coach Eric Eric Palleschi said. “The last time we played them I think they had 10 hits against us. We had a few runs early on and they got back to the top of the order in the last inning. Anytime a team can do that, anything can happen.”
Pomerleau started the seventh inning by walking Hunter Warren, who moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Pomerleau was able to get Cody Ladd, who came into pinch hit for Bryce Werzanski, to groundout, but Warren moved to third.
That’s when Pomerleau was lifted for Flanagan. Pomerleau went six and a third innings, allowing three hits, two walks and had four strikeouts.
Pomerleau said his arm was feeling good in seventh, but understood the situation and wanted to be ready for the remainder of the playoffs.
“(The key) was to throw strikes and hit my spots,” Pomerleau said. “Just stay confident and build momentum.”
Flanagan struck out Luke Kearing, Mt. Abram’s number one hitter. Kenyon Pillsbury extended the game by reaching on an error by third baseman Card Kyzer, which allowed Warren to score.
Nate Luce then drove in Pillsbury from first base with a double to left centerfield. But Mt. Abram’s rally and season came to an end when Sam Storer popped out to Flanagan.
Mt. Abram coach Jeff Pillsbury wished the bats woke up earlier in the game.
“We had the tying run at second,” Pillsbury said. “We had a good batter at the plate, and you know we needed a timely hit. It’s one of those things, we were quiet, our bats were quiet and we didn’t have a whole lot cooking. You have to hit; we haven’t hit great all year, we did cut our strikeouts down.”
Both starting pitchers helped their own cause in the first inning. Luce singled and reached second on a failed pickoff attempt. He scored when Ben DeBias’ grounder spun past shortstop Nick Dovinsky’s glove into center, giving the Roadrunners a 1-0 after a half of an inning.
Pomerleau led off the bottom of the first with a single to right field and moved to second base when Dovinsky was hit by a pitch. A force-out at second allowed Pomerleau to move to third, and he scored when Brad Neal drew a bases-loaded walk.
The Mustangs’ (13-4) heart of the order did more damage the next time it came up, in the third inning. Corey Armstrong, the team’s third hitter, singled to left. He was followed by Flanagan, who doubled to send Armstrong to third. Neal drove in both of them with a single, and Monmouth led 3-1 after three innings.
“Not much you can say about it, first pitch is always a good one,” Neal said. “I always try to look at the first pitch and take it with aggressiveness to get the hit. We had two people on base in scoring position, and in a tie game, I had to get a hit.”
The fourth inning wasn’t any better for the Roadrunners. Pomerleau earned a walk and stole second and third during Dovinsky’s at-bat. Dovinsky also walked, and later moved to second base when Pomerleau got caught in a pickle but was able to get back to third.
Pomerleau had four steals in the game (and was thrown out once).
“I always use my speed and get on base as much as I can,” Pomerleau said. “I try to make the pitcher think about me a lot.”
Luce looked like he was going to get out of the jam when he struck out Armstrong and Flanagan back-to-back to bring up Neal with two outs. Luce lost his control in that at-bat. On back-to-back pitches he had a wild pitch and a passed ball to score Pomerleau and Dovinsky as the Mustangs’ lead was pushed to 5-1.
Pillsbury took the blame for the wild pitch.
“I called a changeup, I should have gone with a fastball,” Pillsbury said. “I don’t know if it was their (cleanup batter), but Luke (Kearing) usually catches that one.”
Neal was somewhat disappointed the RBI opportunities were taken away from him, but said he will take the runs anyway the team can get them.
Monmouth’s Cam Armstrong runs to first base and beats the throw to Mt Abram’s Bryce Werzanski at Tuesday afternoon’s baseball game in Monmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Monmouth Academy’s Avery Pomerleau forces an out on Mt Abram’s Kenyon Pillsbury in the last inning of Tuesday afternoon’s baseball game in Monmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)