GRAY – No wonder Gray-New Gloucester was willing to brave the elements when many western Maine teams decided to postpone their games Wednesday.
The Patriots are unbeaten at home, so a few rain drops (actually, a few sprinkles) and the Freeport Falcons weren’t going to get in their way. Pitchers Pete Clement and Lucas Chase made sure of it by combining on a two-hit shutout in their 5-0 win.
Gray-New Gloucester is now 5-0 at home, 0-5 on the road. Today, weather permitting, they host Cape Elizabeth, the top-ranked team in Western B.
“We do very well here. We’ve got to shake these road issues we might have,” said Patriots coach Aaron Talon.
The Patriots had one other big issue heading into the game – a sluggish offense. But the bats came through in the clutch Wednesday against Freeport knuckleballer Matt Gleason.
Dustin Cormier got them on the board first with a two-out RBI single in the first, then Matt Moberg and Clement laced back-to-back RBI safeties with two outs to cap a three-run second. The Pats scored their final run off reliever B.J. Perkins in the third on Craig Gobeil’s ground out.
“I was concerned with an off-speed pitcher that we were going to be out in front and pop the ball up, but the first three innings, the kids stayed back and we singled them to death,” Talon said.
Clement enjoyed the early run support, giving up only one hit, a clean one-out single in the first by Gleason. The junior southpaw’s control wasn’t pinpoint (six innings, seven strikeouts, six walks), but he kept the Falcons (4-6) off-stride with a sharp curve.
“If we score runs early, we’re a tough team to beat,” Clement said. “It boosts up our confidence. The last two games I’ve pitched we lost and we didn’t hit anything, so I pretty much lost confidence. Today we came out swinging and made things happen and I got confident.”
“He got ahead biting a lot of corners with the fastball,” said catcher Moberg, who led the Patriots’ offense with two hits. “Mainly, we just tried to get ahead in the count and try to get them to chase some high fastballs and outside fastballs.”
Clement’s defense helped out with a couple of nice plays, the first one by Moberg when he cut down a runner at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt, and the second on a diving catch at first by Jared Dunn in the sixth.
“We didn’t get any big base hits off that guy,” said Freeport coach Hank Ogilby. “We started getting better at bats as the game went along and got some guys on base, but we just didn’t get a clutch hit.”