LIVERMORE FALLS – The Livermore Falls Andies’ bats had been sizzling all season long, at least until they ran into Monmouth’s Scott Ogden.
Ogden scattered five hits and took a shutout into the seventh inning to lead the Mustangs to a 3-1 win in a Mountain Valley Conference match-up Friday.
Pitching against a powerful lineup on its small home field, Ogden wisely worked the outside corner and kept the Andies guessing with a good mix of fastballs and breaking balls. His only big mistake came on the first pitch of the seventh inning, which Josh Tainter deposited over the fence in left-center for Livermore Falls’ only run.
“What I was trying to do was to keep them off-balance and hit my spots,” said Ogden, who fanned nine, walked one and hit a batter. “The umpire was giving me a little bit of the outside corner, so you use what you can get.”
Monmouth ended the regular season at 10-4. Livermore Falls dropped to 6-8-1 and will host Winthrop next Tuesday in its regular-season finale.
Ogden’s effort spoiled a fine performance by LF starter Zack Keene, who scattered six hits and walked only one.
“Overall, I was pretty happy. Obviously, we wanted to win, but we faced one of the top pitchers in the league and made it a game right to the end,” said Andies coach Brian Dube.
“Keene threw the best game he’s thrown all year. This last week’s been pretty good. Hopefully, we build some momentum heading into the playoffs.”
Monmouth played small ball for its first two runs. With one out in the third, Devin Robbins singled, stole second, moved to third on Ronnie Hobson’s fly to right and scored on a high pitch that popped out of Tainter’s glove behind the plate and rolled to the backstop.
The Mustangs added insurance in the fourth when Ogden led off with a ground-rule double, advanced to third on Ben Seefeldt’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Nate Armstrong’s sac fly to right.
Ogden had just one one-two-three inning, the fifth, but he allowed just three balls out of the infield through the first five innings. Mike Durrell led off the fourth with a ground-rule double and reached third on a sacrifice, but Ogden fanned Tainter and got Kyle Stebbins to ground out to second to foil the Andies’ first threat.
“Scotty does a good job changing speeds and spots his fastball pretty well,” Palleschi said. “The couple of pitches he missed, they hit them hard and hit them well. They’re a good hitting team.”
The Monmouth ace helped his own cause by pouncing on Keene’s first pitch of the sixth for a solo homer to left that made it 3-0.
“He threw me a fastball right down the middle low. I like to jump on the first pitch,” Ogden said. “They did it to me last year, so I did it to them this year.”
Tainter returned the favor in the seventh, and the Andies got the tying run to the plate with one out when Caleb Baron singled.
Matt Cotnoir followed with a liner right at shortstop Hobson, who reacted quickly enough to the hot smash to snare the ball with his bare hand when it popped out of his glove.
Kevin Gats then flied out deep to center to end it.