POLAND – When Jake Pelletier received a second chance, he was determined to make amends for one of his earlier regrets.

And the Poland baseball team certainly benefited when Pelletier’s heroics came at the right time.

Pelletier singled home Will Griffths in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Knights rallied for a 2-1 win against Marancook in a Class B semifinal game Saturday.

Both teams were tested in their quarterfinal games, and Saturday’s game proved to be one for the ages. Maranacook southpaw Justin Denbow pitched well and kept the Knights scoreless for five innings. Pelletier and Griffths combined on a no-hitter, latter relieved and retired 12 of the final 13 batters to earn the win.

“We try to get people on base,” Poland coach Dave Jordan said. “Then we like to play small ball to move the baserunners. Unfortunately, we were not able to execute early and (combined) with a defensive (miscue) things didn’t go our way. Pelleitier was (laboring), so it was a coach’s decision to bring Griffths in, and he threw strikes.”

No. 1 Poland (17-1) advances to the regional final against Greely at St. Joseph’s College.

Griffths led off the seventh with a single to left field and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Douglass. The drama ended quickly when Pelletier drilled a hit to the opposite field.

“I was still mad about my previous at-bat,” Pelletier said. “I had hit in to a double play, and I knew that I had to make-up for it. (Denbow) had thrown me fast balls, so I was looking for one. It was great playing before our crazy fans and as a senior being able to win on this field.

Poland had had runners on first and second base with no outs in the fifth inning, and Pelletier popped-up a bunt. Denbow sprang off the mound to catch the ball and fired to shortstop Ryan Martin to erase pinch-runner Joe Murphy. The Knights still curtailed momentum and tied the game with a run in the sixth. Joe Douglass (two hits) singled and moved up on a wild pitch. Eric Picard laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Tyler Merchant hit an RBI-ground out.

“Poland was getting their leadoff man on (six innings),” Maranacook coach Don Ploude said. ”So it was simply a matter of time before one of them eventually scored. It was a whole new ball game after the sixth inning, and both teams were solid, and it’s to bad that one had to lose.”

Denbow threw approximately 80 pitches, scattered eight hits and was backed up by a flawless Black Bear defense. Maranacook started strong and stranded five runners in the first three innings, but one over the final four. Craig Maffie reached on an error in sixth.

Maranacook had drawn first blood in the second inning. Spencer Casey drew a lead-off walk, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Martin’s grounder was booted.

“There were no weaknesses to attack,” Griffths said. “Maranacook is a good hitting club, and we couldn’t (afford) mistakes. We had to make the plays.”


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