LEWISTON — Battling Opening Day butterflies early in Tuesday’s rivalry showdown with Edward Little, Lewiston southpaw Corbin Hyde used a calming technique he learned from coach Todd Cifelli to gather himself.
“I had the first-game jitters and couldn’t get them out,” said Hyde, a sophomore. “(Using Cifelli’s technique) I take a couple of deep breaths to get under control …and I look in my hat, I put my number in there (31), take three deep breaths and step back on the mound.”
Once Hyde settled down, he had the Red Eddies looking at virtually nothing but zeros. Hyde dominated the final four innings in a complete game two-hitter while the offense took advantage of some two-out opportunities for an 8-1 victory at Franklin Pasture.
Two-out rallies in the fourth and fifth innings produced seven runs for the Devils, who made the most of their five hits and eight walks.
“I was very, very happy with us offensively,” Cifelli said. “We stuck to our approach at the plate on how we wanted to attack EL’s pitchers. It didn’t really go very well the first time through the lineup, but we stayed patient.”
EL starter Mat Gordon dominated the first time through Lewiston’s order, striking out five while facing the minimum through the first 3 2/3 innings. Joe Sullivan (two runs scored) singled to lead off the third, but was quickly doubled-up at first after Gordon caught a popped-up bunt attempt by Luke Cote.
With two outs in the fourth, Mekae Hyde drew a four-pitch walk, then stole second and scored on Jeff Keene’s single past a diving second baseman to make it 1-1. Gordon then issued three straight walks to send Keene home with what ended up being the winning run.
“Going out of the stretch, I think, factored in there a little bit,” EL coach Scott Annear said of Gordon’s struggles. “He got out of his comfort zone and it seemed like fatigue was catching up with him a little bit there. We haven’t gone beyond four innings with any of these guys yet, hoping they would be fresh and ready to go.”
Cote redeemed himself with a bases-clearing triple to make it 5-1. EL right-fielder Cam Ivers nearly robbed him with a spectacular diving catch near the foul line, but the ball popped out of his glove as it hit the ground.
“That was a big hit by Luke Cote,” Cifelli said. “That was a great effort on (Ivers’) part, but that was also a big three runs, a big momentum change.”
Lewiston added two more runs in the fifth on a two-out triple by Trey Ouellette off EL reliever Luke Farrago. Scott Ouellette plated Joe Sullivan on a ground out in the sixth for the seventh run.
Hyde (four Ks, four walks, one hit batter) labored through the first three innings on 56 pitches. He worked around a pair of walks in the first, then surrendered EL’s only run in the second when Josh Delong led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on another pitch to the backstop. He then battled through a pair of errors in the third to begin a stretch where he retired eight Eddies in a row.
“We try to work on mental training here in hopes of making the player mentally tougher,” Cifelli said. “Corbin has bought into that. Some kids, it doesn’t work for them, but I think he’s taken it a step further. He’s mature beyond his sophomore year.”
Kenzie Souders had the other EL hit.
The Eddies host Brunswick Friday while the Devils host Oxford Hills in a big KVAC South tilt.
“It’s the first win,” Hyde said. “We’re looking for a good year.”