LIVERMORE FALLS — Playing in the cozy confines of Griffin Field, Livermore Falls has always been predisposed to play for the long ball.
On Friday, the Andies decided to repeatedly remind Mt. Abram that they can play a little small ball, too.
Three consecutive safety squeezes sparked a six-run fifth inning that proved to be the difference in Livermore Falls’ 10-4 victory.
After the Roadrunners rallied from a four-run deficit to tie the game at 4-4 in the fourth, the Andies took the lead again in the fifth on Jake Keene’s RBI double. After a walk to Gavin Jones, the next three hitters, Jimmy Seitz, Alex Rose and Hunter Brett, dropped excellent bunts to the third base side to score the next three runs.
“Coach (Brian Dube) gave us the sign, we got them down, (the runs) came in, then they made an error and we took advantage of all their errors,” said Rose, who had two hits and scored twice. “We kept doing it through the guys we knew could bunt and could run fast.”
“They were safety squeezes. We were going to make sure it was down,” Dube said. “Once Jimmy got it down with Alex coming up, who’s very good with the bat, I said ‘Let’s try to get a little cushion here.’ That group, the 8-9 hitters, the 1-2 hitters, can all run. With that part of the order, we’re flexible. We can do a lot of different things.”
Mt. Abram’s best chance to make a play was on the first bunt by Seitz. Pitcher Josh Beedy pounced on it quickly and threw underhand to catcher Sol Fast, whose sweep tag missed pinch-runner Austin Schmidt, who went into home standing up. Rose followed with another bunt to score Jones and moved to second on an errant throw. Rose stole third and scored when Brett laid down a bunt and beat third baseman Cal Dixon’s strong throw to first.
“We couldn’t execute,” Mt. Abram coach Lee Nile said. “We’re calling stuff to stop that. We called a pitch-out. We called off-speed stuff to try to screw them up. We just can’t get it. But we’ve got a freshman catcher behind the plate in Sol Fast and he’s learning on the fly.”
Seitz was thrown out trying to steal third, but the Andies continued to put the pressure on the Roadrunner defense. Ben Keene, who walked, broke from first to draw a throw from Beedy with a runner at third. The throw bounced past second and into center field. That allowed Brett to score from third and Keene to come all the way around to score the sixth run of the inning.
Brett, who came on in relief of starter Bryan Maurais in the fourth and gave up a 4-1 lead on a wild pitch and two-run single by Beedy, shut out the Roadrunners over the final three innings to pick up the win.
“Hunter’s a competitor. He gets upset when he’s not hitting his spots,” Dube said. “He can change speeds well, and once he settles in, he’s fine.”
The Andies (5-7) took a 2-0 lead in the first on Ben Keene’s RBI triple and an error. They doubled the lead in the second with RBI singles by Seitz and Brett. Pakrer Kennedy got the Roadrunners (2-10) on the board with a sacrifice fly in the third.
Every win is crucial to the Andies, who are currently outside of the Western C playoff picture. They have four games next week — at Mountain Valley and Dirigo before their final two games ever against rival Jay — to claw their way back in.
“We have to capitalize on everything we can,” Rose said. “We have to be focused. We’ve got four good games ahead of us.”