AUBURN – The St. Dom’s baseball braintrust insists that their squad is still a work in progress, and with six freshmen and sophomores in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s Western Maine Conference tilt with Freeport, it’s a proper assessment.

But make no mistake, the three-time defending Western Class C champions are still a force to be reckoned with in the region.

The Saints (11-1) exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning and sophomore Aaron Allen and freshman Chris Bryant combined on a five-hitter to rout the Falcons, 11-1, in a game that ended in the sixth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“We’re getting closer to where we need to be,” said St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman. “We just hope to get it ready come playoff time.”

“It’s going to boil down to pitching,” he added. “Can we keep enough runs off the board?”

With the exception of an RBI single to Danny Mehler that knotted the game at 1-1 in the third, Allen (4 2/3 innings, five hits, one earned run, three strikeouts, one walk) was able to keep the Falcons off the board. Bryant worked an inning-and-a-third of hitless relief.

“We haven’t had enough consistency to get guys enough innings,” Blackman said. “Aaron started the first game of the year and I don’t think he’s started another one since, so we knew he’d be a little rusty. He was up with his fastball, and that’s why I got him out when I did. I wanted him to leave with an outing that was a positive.”

The offense helped make it a positive with one big inning. Freeport starter Geoff Geredien seemed to be settling in after giving up an unearned run in the first. But sophomore outfielder Richard Paradis jumped on his first pitch of the fourth for a double to spark a rally which saw the Saints send 11 men to the plate.

“He threw a lot of first-pitch fastballs that we weren’t jumping on,” said Paradis, who had two hits in the inning. “We started driving them the other way and finding some gaps in the outfield. We found some gaps, stole some bases and got the runs going.”

Paradis scored on a two-run double by Jake Rutt (two hits). Senior Peter Lewis singled home Rutt, and senior Andy Allen plated another run with a suicide squeeze. Sophomore Greg LaBonte made it 5-1 with a ground out to second, and Paradis capped the rally with a two-run single.

Sophomore Casey Parker added an RBI single in the fifth and freshman Max Willey ended the game with an RBI single in the sixth.

“A lot of young guys are starting to step up into bigger roles and our confidence is getting better,” said Paradis, who was one of three Saints to start as freshmen last year. “We try to give (the freshmen) a lot of confidence, which makes them hit better, field better. Getting them into some games gives them more confidence playing in the bigger games as we get towards the end of the season.”

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