RUMFORD — David Guilford smashed a two-run homer as the Cougars erupted for seven runs in the fifth inning and Ryan Lafleur pitched a three hitter to lead Dirigo to a convincing 13-3 win over Mountain Valley on Monday at blustery Hosmer Field. The game was shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.
Lafleur started out shaky, but eventually settled into a groove and improved to 3-0. The right-hander struck out eight, including getting out of a bases-loaded jam when he fanned Matt Duka on a back-door called third strike to end the third inning. Lafleur struck out the side in the fourth inning, as well, but walked three.
“The thing that really turned it around was Arik Fenstermacher’s catch,” Lafleur said, referencing the Dirigo centerfielder’s diving grab off the bat of Brady Fergola. “That gave me the confidence to just settle down and throw strikes because my teammates were behind me. My curve ball was my best pitch and I don’t know if it was because of the weather, but I couldn’t rely on my fast ball.”
In 18 innings this season, Lafleur had 20 strike outs, six walks and hadn’t allowed an earned run until the Falcons scored one on Derek Volkernick’s RBI single in the first.
The two teams had settled into a competitive matchup until Dirigo sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth, sending a decisive message. The offensive onslaught stunned the Falcons, who saw their four-game unbeaten streak snapped.
“Dirigo is a good hitting team,” Mountain Valley coach Steve LaPointe said. “You just can’t afford to make any mistakes against them and our defense let us down a couple times. Dirigo did a good job running the bases.”
Class C Dirigofound the key hits it had been lacking in the big inning against Derek Volkenick. Lafleur led off with a clean single and Guilford followed with a hit to the track beyond the left field fence. Eric Bolduc singled and scored on Fenstermacher’s RBI-single to give the Cougars a 9-3 lead. Falcon reliever Ryan Nicols walked pinchhitter Brody Thompson and Spencer Ross, and Tyler Chiasson and Lafleur each drove in runs.
“Dave Guilifords home run was huge,” Dirigo coach Dave Lafleur said. “It gave us an 8-3 lead and you can never score enough runs against a good hitting team like Mountain Valley. Our hitting has improved, especially the lower part of the batting order.”
Dirigo had scored three runs in the first inning, including two on a wild pitch. A pitched ball bounced away from Falcon catcher Gino Salgalo, and Tyler Gates scored.
Mountain Valley came back to tie the score in the bottom of the first on runs by Connor Blais, Ryan Laubauskas and Salgalo.
The Cougars took the lead for good with three in the third. The key blow was an RBI bloop single by Bolduc.
“This team isn’t taking any thing for granted any more,” Lafleur said. “We had started out pretty cocky and thinking we would win every thing. A loss to Telstar woke us up, so we are taking it one game at a time.”