RUMFORD — Marcus Palmer pitched a masterful five-hitter, going the distance for Mountain Valley in an 8-1 triumph over Cape Elizabeth in a Western Maine Class B quarterfinal baseball game at Hosmer Field on Friday.

No. 2 Mountain Valley (14-1) advances to play Oak Hill today in a semifinal tilt. It’s the first time in nine years the Falcons have advanced beyond the quarterfinals.

“This really feels good,” Mountain Valley coach Steve LaPointe said, “especially after so many disappointments in the past. I don’t believe anyone thought we could win today, except for the 18 guys in our dugout. I got a great scouting report from Greely coach Darren Stout, who said keep the ball on the outside of the plate.”

Mountain Valley had taken a 2-0 lead in the third as Chris Cayer trotted home after Andy Shorey being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Freshman Justin Stairs had an RBI-single in the second.

No.7 Cape Elizabeth (11-7) simply had no answer for Palmer. The senior right-hander threw the Cape batters a steady diet of pitches on the outside of the plate. Palmer (7-1) threw an economical 69 pitches, had five strikeouts, including three on backdoor curves.

“It was really important for me to get ahead in the count early,” Palmer said. “I’ve never thrown so many fastballs and curves in my life. The outside pitches kept Cape off balance.”

The Falcons used a little small ball, suicide-squeeze bunts by Shorey (two hits, two runs, two RBI) and freshman Matt Laubauskus (two hits), to really test the Capers pitcher Pat Murphy. A five-run fifth inning iced the game.

“We had practiced hard on bunting and it paid off,” LaPointe said. “We had made a couple of baserunning mistakes early on, but the kids made up for it. Marcus followed through with the game plan, and Ben French called a great game from behind the plate.”

Palmer reached on an error and scored on a double by Corey Devoe (two hits), before Shorey singled home pinch-runner Cody McPherson. Laubaukas and Nate Stairs each added RBI-singles. Shorey trugded home on an overthrow.

Cape averted the shutout in the sixth. on Kelvin Martin’s RBI-single

“Marcus pitched a gem,” Shorey said. “The run they scored resulted from an error, but we made the rest of the plays.”


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