RUMFORD – When Marcus Palmer strolled across the mound before the second inning, a feeling of relief came over him even though there was still some unfinished business to complete in a baseball game Monday afternoon.
Palmer set a school record for career wins, throwing a four-hit shutout, and the Mountain Valley baseball team remained unbeaten with an 11-0 win against Mt. Abram at Hosmer Field.
Due to the mercy rule, the game was brief affair following a grand slam by Eric Volkernick in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Mountain Valley (7-0) proved why it is one of the top teams in the MVC, and the Falcons’ first-inning onslaught was a solid indication. A quintet of singles led to five runs and put the Roadrunners behind the eight ball.
“I knew about the record entering the season,” Palmer said. “My first two wins came and went, but I was nervous before the game. The five-run lead really helped.”
Palmer, a senior right-hander, now has 18-career wins and eclipsed the former mark set by Dan Garbarini in 1993. Garbarini helped lead the Falcons to the Class B state championship, with a 9-8 win over Ellsworth that season.
Mt. Abram (4-3) entered the game with some momentum after having beating Monmouth last week. But any upswing was short-lived.
The Falcons’ Chris Cayer and Palmer each hit balls that hopped through the hard infield. Corey Devoe cracked a two-RBI single off Roadrunner pitcher Brandon Wheeler. Matt Laubaskas and Matt Marr (3-for-3) each had run-scoring singles, and Nate Stairs added an RBI-sacrifice fly.
“That five runs was big,” Mountain Valley coach Steve LaPointe said. “When Marcus has a five-run lead, it’s usually more than enough, and the team knew that. Mt. Abram is a good team, and Wheeler held us in check for the next three innings.”
Mt. Abram had four hits, including a double and single by Aaron Adams. Adams was thrown out by Falcon catcher Ben French in the third. The next inning, Wheeler singled with one out and Palmer threw to first base, and the Falcons executed a long rundown
Palmer (3-0), struck out five, including three looking at back-door curve balls. Adams doubled, leading the game off, but Palmer retired the next eight batters in a row. He threw 55 pitches in five innings.
“I had hurt my back last Friday against Wiscasset,” Palmer said. “So I didn’t know how I’d be, but things were fine after the first My curve ball was breaking off and (Ben)) French was calling for it.”
Mountain Valley scored six runs in the fifth, Cayer (two hits) singled and Devoe (two hits) had an RBI. Pinch runner TJ Burgess trotted home on an error, and Volkenick hit a towering drive over the left-field fence.
“We are not going to beat ourselves,” LaPointe said. “We’ve allowed one run in three games, and we are hitting the ball well.”