Phoenix coach Clint Brooks wanted his kids to stay calm and composed with a two-run lead on Maranaccok with three outs to get. That quickly changed when the Black Bears put two lead runners on base.

“We talked about it before we went onto the field,” Brooks said. “I said, ‘Just remember, we’ve got a little bit of a pad here. So don’t worry if that first batter gets on. It doesn’t mean anything until we’ve got two.’ Then what happens? They get two on.”

Spruce Mountain escaped the threat in the final inning to secure a 13-11 opening day win. Despite getting the two lead runners on, the Black Bears’ top of the order failed to produce a rally, leaving the bases loaded.

“We got out of that inning,” Brooks said. “I’m really pleased with our outing today. We’ve got a really young team and a lot of young kids. We have a young nucleus coming up through that I’m really pleased with. We lost to those guys twice last year. They were very similar games.”

Spruce Mountain built an 8-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Black Bears chipped away and were always within a couple of runs. Maranacook even thought it had trimmed the score to 13-12 in the sixth, but the umpire changed his call.

“That first inning killed us,” Maranacook coach Don Beckwith said. “We pecked away. We stayed with it. We had chances at the end to make a difference but just didn’t get it done.”

Allison Acritelli had two hits and three RBIs for the Phoenix, including a two-run single in the sixth that made it 13-9. Kaylee Leclerc, Grace Ryan and Haley Turcotte each drove in two runs for Spruce Mountain. Alex Bessey had three hits and scored three runs while earning the win in the circle.

“I’m not happy with our defense, but on the flip side of that, we probably generated more offense today than we did in any of our three or four scrimmages,” said Brooks, whose team had five errors.” The pitching was representative. So I was happy with that, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Spruce Mountain was missing a number of players, including three starters. The Phoenix had four JV players in the lineup. Maranacook had six players away on vacation, including five starters.

“I was missing a first baseman, left fielder and right fielder,” Brooks said. “I’m pleased we’ve got kids in the program that can step up and play that role and play it well.”

Maranacook got two hits and four RBIs from Leah Pouliot. Katherine Snow and Kaylee Jones each drove in a pair while Erin Bonenfant had three hits and drove in a run.

“We’ve got a lot of kids away too,” said Beckwith, whose team had six errors. “That makes quite a difference, but our young kids did a really good job. We’ve got some things we can really build on.”

After Acritelli singled in a pair in the top of the sixth to make it 13-9, Maranacook got a pair in the bottom of the inning. An error on a Paige Costa grounder plated Justice Merrill. Then Bonenfant delivered an RBI triple. Maranacook thought it scored another run when Bonenfant raced home on a hit back to Bessey that was relayed to first and then home. The umpire asked catcher Julie Doiron to show the ball. When she did, he called the runner safe. Brooks argued the call and the umpire reversed it, saying he meant to call the runner out. The Black Bears had runners called out at home and third in that inning.

“The reason I did was because he waited and watched to see the ball,” Brooks said of his appeal. “If he wanted to see the ball, that tells me it’s going to be an out. When he didn’t give it to me, I was confused.”

Maranacook still had the chance in the seventh. Jones reached on a bloop single that should have been caught. Then Sierra Weaver walked. Bessey struck out the next batter and got a fielder’s choice out. After Costa singled, Bessey caught a Bonenfant hit back to her and threw to first for the final out.

“That’s cool stuff,” Beckwith said about having the chance to win after being down eight runs. “At the beginning of the year, that’s what you’re looking for. That’s good stuff to build upon.”

The Phoenix scored eight runs in the first on RBI by Ryan, Mikala Holt, Haley Turcotte and Kim Seitz.

“We had to come out ready to generate some offense and we generated some offense,” Brooks said. “That’s exactly what you’re looking for.”

Pouliot tripled in a pair to get Maranacook within 8-2 in the bottom of the inning. The teams kept trading runs the rest of the way. Maranacook scored on errors to get within 8-4 in the second but an Acritelli fielder’s choice made it 9-4 in the third. After Pouliot doubled in two more, it was 9-6 in the third. Turcotte singled in a run in the fourth and Ryan had an RBI in the fifth to make it 11-6. Two Spruce Mountain errors led to two runs for Maranacook, making it 11-9 in the fifth.

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