LIVERMORE FALLS — Pitching in fall-like conditions can be a challenge. Getting loose is difficult. Staying loose between innings is a chore. Even something as basic as getting a good feel for the baseball can be bothersome. A long break between innings can be a blessing or a curse.
After a rocky first inning, Livermore Falls pitcher Andre Uter just needed some time to chill out on a cold and blustery Monday. The Andies’ offense gave him plenty of time to do that and Uter stared down the elements and the Jay Tigers in Monday’s 15-2 rout, called after the top of the fifth due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Every Andie collected at least one hit in a 14-hit barrage. James McLamb led the parade with three hits, including a double, and three runs scored. Chandler White (four RBIs) and Willie Brown each clubbed a pair of hits, including a homer. Tom Ventrella knocked in three runs and Brandon Hodges and Derek Castonguay also cracked two hits apiece as the Andies (6-2) bounced back from a tough loss to Mountain Valley last Friday.
“We hit the ball well,” Livermore Falls coach Brian Dube said. “I’m glad we got the victory and I’m glad for Andre. I believe this is his first time pitching in a big game. (Jay) has beaten Mountain Valley and St. Dom’s. They’ve beaten some good teams.”
Jay (3-4) jumped on Uter quickly for two runs in the first, including an RBI single by Jared Ouellette. But Uter (five innings, two hits, three Ks, two walks, one hit batter) didn’t give up a hit the rest of the way.
“The ball was a little cold and slippery, but I managed,” Uter said. “There were some long innings the way we hit the ball, but that’s what I like to see. I just had to find a groove. I stuck with the two-seamer (fastball) and I like to use the splitter once in a while to keep them guessing.”
Livermore Falls touched Jay starter Jacob Lord for three runs in the bottom of the first. McLamb hit a one-out single, Brown knocked a bad-hop single over the third baseman and then White lifted a three-run homer that sliced through the wind to left.
“I thought the two runs in the first inning was going to give us some confidence, but then in their first inning, they score three runs and we get a bad hop over the third baseman’s head and then the home run goes 305 feet,” Jay coach Chris Bessey said. “We start questioning ourselves then and things just snowballed from there.”
The Andies pushed five runs across in the second on an RBI single by Alex Rose, a Ventrella sacrifice fly and Brown’s two-run blast to left. They sent 12 men to the plate in a seven-run third. The big hits were a two-run double by Ventrella, an RBI double by McLamb and White’s RBI single.
“Up to Mountain Valley, we scored a bunch early and then kind of sat back,” Dube said. “We didn’t add on. Today we did.”
Uter retired the side in the second, worked around a walk and an error in both the third and fourth innings and a hit batter in the fifth. Counting a pair of grounders that went for Livermore errors, the Tigers only hit six balls out of the infield against Uter.
“Every time he takes the mound, you’re not exactly sure what you’re going to get, but today he pitched a gem,” Dube said. “He got into a little trouble early, then he settled in. He’s got good movement, even on his breaking stuff. When he’s got command, he can beat anybody.”