Traip Academy’s Teddy Driscoll can’t find the ball in a cloud of dust and sand as Saint Dominic Academy’s Hunter Hughes slides in with a stolen base during Saturday afternoon’s game in Auburn.
AUBURN — Long known for its opportunism on offense, St. Dom’s has to be even more aggressive this season because, with a young, inexperienced team, the opportunities are more infrequent.
The Saints showed they still know how to make the most of their chances on Saturday against Traip Academy, scoring all five of their runs in the fourth inning. That was more than enough for starting southpaw Riley Volpe, who made some adjustments and finished strong for the complete game victory in a 5-3 win.
“We’re a team where we can go a while without putting two hits together, and that’s what it was looking like early on,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “Once we did, we got a chance to do some things, put some pressure on them.”
“(The fourth inning rally) gave us a lot of energy,” Volpe said. “I think this is huge. We’re going to move up in the standings.”
The Saints (8-4), who lost to the Rangers (6-6) in Kittery, 2-1, on May 1, leap-frogged Traip and Winthrop to the No. 4 spot in the C South Heal point standings as the season heads into its stretch drive.
Traip starting pitcher Trevor Salema limited the Saints to just four hits in his 6 1/3 innings, but three of those came in the fateful fourth, with the Rangers leading 1-0.
With no one out, Michael Ciley got the first hit, and Hunter Hughes followed with a single of his own. After a dropped fly ball in left field loaded the bases, Salema walked pinch hitter Zach Pelletier to tie it.
Following a strikeout, Bobby Shelley dropped a suicide squeeze to the third base side. Hughes scored to make it 2-1, and the third baseman was unable to barehand the ball cleanly, which allowed Shelley to reach and kept the bases loaded.
The Saints kept the pressure on as William Laflamme somehow got a pitch above his head down for another suicide squeeze that scored Volpe for a 3-1 lead, although the Rangers were able to throw Laflamme out at first.’
“(Salema) had stayed in the stretch right along, and all of a sudden he changed to the wind-up, and I said ‘As long as he’s in the wind-up, I’m going to squeeze,'” Blackman said. “And I had the right guys up to do that. I had the top of the order.”
With two out, Mac Pelletier ripped a double to right-center to plate both Zach Pelletier and Shelley for a 5-1 lead.
“We just couldn’t nip that inning in the bud,” Traip coach Seth Cole said. “A lot of these games come down to a handful of plays that, if you execute them, good things happen. If you don’t, today’s result happens.”
Traip was able to answer with a pair of runs in the fifth, both of which scored when Jacob Farnham’s hot shot ate up Saints’ first baseman Justin Keaney behind the bag.
But Volpe was able to nip that rally in the bud, getting the last two outs on the ground. He finished the game by retiring eight of the final nine hitters.
“I kept my fastball down with an occasional change up. I just pitched to contact,” he said.
Volpe allowed five hits and three walks and hit two batters while striking out four.
“He kept us in the game early, threw strikes and limited his pitch count,” Blackman said. “He didn’t have his best curve ball. What he found later in the game was his change-up and he got them out on their front foot. We had two innings in a row where I think we had two or three infield pop-ups, and they were all on change-ups.”
Saint Dominic Academy’s MacKenzie Pelletier fields a line drive to record the last out of the game to preserve the Saint’s 5-4 victory over Traip Academy Saturday afternoon.
Traip Academy left fielder dives for a shallow pop fly during Satruday afternoon’s game against Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn. The ball popped out of his glove, loading the bases in the 4th inning where the Saints ended up scoring all 5 of their runs in a 5-4 victory.
Saint Dominic Academy pitcher Riley Volpe winds up for a pitch during his complete game victory Saturday afternoon against Traip Academy.Saint Dominic Academy first baseman scoops a line drive grounder that he managed to handle and step on the bag to force the batter out during Saturday’s game against Traip Academy.