READFIELD – Justin Denbow thought he’d done serious damage to Maranacook’s chances of winning Thursday’s KVAC tilt with rival Oak Hill when he gave up a run in the top of the first inning.

The Black Bears’ lefty figured he’d have to be close to perfect since he was squaring off against fellow southpaw Josh Jillson. But neither Jillson nor Denbow had his best stuff on a cold and gray afternoon. Denbow just had a little more fire power backing him up and was able to gut out a 10-8 victory over the undermanned but pesky Raiders.

Denbow labored through his six innings, surrendering six hits and seven runs, four of them earned. He walked eight, one intentionally, and fanned six in 126 pitches. But he stranded 11 Oak Hill base runners.

“He didn’t have his best stuff today, and I think he knows it, but he pitched real well,” Maranacook coach Don Plourde said. “He got some big outs when he needed to.”

“We struggled against ourselves a little, but we came together as a team and scored some runs when we needed to, had some clutch hits,” Denbow said. “We did what we needed to do to win the game.”

Corey Palmer and Mike Brennan pounded out three hits apiece for the Bears (9-2). No. 8 hitter David Griffin blasted a two-run home run in the sixth, and No. 9 hitter Travis Harwood reached base in all four plate appearances, on a single and three walks, and scored two runs.

“We’ve been hitting the ball real well lately,” Plourde said. “When you can get what we got out of the end of the lineup today, you’ve got to be happy.”

Maranacook touched the University of Maine-bound Jillson for eight runs, seven of them earned, on eight hits and six walks.

“He didn’t have his stuff today, but we battled,” Oak Hill coach Chad Drouin said. “We came here with nine guys on the bus today. We didn’t have our leadoff hitter. We didn’t have our shortstop. We don’t have Chris Ellis (out with an elbow injury) and these guys could have easily shown up today and folded, but they didn’t.”

The Raiders (6-6) got off to a quick start when Ethan Guerette (two hits, four runs scored) tripled to lead off the game and scored on Tom Edgecomb’s single.

“I thought after the first inning when I gave up the run the game was over,” Denbow said. “When (Jillson) is on, he’s unhittable. He didn’t have an ‘A’ fastball today, so we lucked out.”

Denbow jumped on a Jillson fastball for a two-run double in the bottom of the first to give the Black Bears the lead.

Oak Hill took the lead again in the fourth when Guerette singled in a run, then later scored on a wild pitch. Maranacook went in front for good with a three-run bottom of the frame, with Brennan and Palmer contributing RBI hits.

The Bears added three more in the fifth, keyed by Griffin’s two-run homer. The Raiders made it a game again in the sixth by exploiting three Maranacook errors to pull within 8-6 on Tim Levesque’s two-run single. Casey Spencer’s two-run single gave Maranacook key insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Ryan Martin came on in relief of Denbow to start the seventh but yielded two walks and a RBI double to Jillson to make it 10-7. Craig Maffei relieved Martin and gave up a wild pitch that scored Guerette and put the tying runs into scoring position. But he fanned Brett Turcotte and got Ben Rines to ground out to short to preserve the win.


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