DIXFIELD — Both Dirigo and Wiscasset started the first inning of their MVC baseball game with solid singles to center field. It was what happened on offense after those respective at-bats that told the story of Friday’s duel on the diamond.

Wiscasset couldn’t do anything with their lead-off hit, while Dirigo plated three runs. The Cougars pounded out 13 hits in one of their best offensive performances of the season and downed the Wolverines 8-5 at Harlow Park.

Wiscasset’s Grant Hefler and Dirigo’s Gavin Arsenault both had solid days at the plate from the leadoff spot, with each collecting three hits and reaching base in every at-bat. It was the three batters behind each of them that had their respective coaches talking after the game.

The Wolverines’ (3-4) Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters combined for just two hits (which not so coincidentally plated three hits). Wiscasset coach Greg Wood said that trio is usually good for four or five hits each game.

“I need (Hefler) on base, and then we need to hit him in, and we just didn’t do that,” Wood said.

Arsenault reached base five times and scored twice. The three hitters behind him combined to reach base eight times, driving in three runs and scoring three more in the process.


“(Gavin’s) been our best hitter this year so far. The hitters behind him have been struggling a little bit,” Dirigo (4-2) coach Ryan Palmer said. “But today everybody came to play.”

Gavin got out of one jam on the mound in the top of the first, then started another at the plate in the bottom of the frame. His lead-off single was followed by an infield single from Gus Brown, then Cooper Chiasson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cam Turner drove in two runs with a single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch, and Riley Robinson brought home another with a single past the shortstop.

Wiscasset starter Tyler Bailey retired the next three batters to get out of the jam, but the damage was done.

“He struggled. He’s a lot better than that,” Wood said of Bailey. “I think the mound was a little bit different than the mound at home, so I think he struggled a little bit there. He just couldn’t find the plate.”

Arsenault didn’t make it back onto the mound, putting a wrench in Palmer’s plan. He was hoping his ace could go three innings and then get pulled if the game was in hand, keeping Arsenault eligible to pitch against Lisbon on Monday. But Palmer said Arsenault was sore after just one inning, forcing him to put an inexperienced sophomore on the mound in Turner.

The move worked initially, with Turner striking out the side in the second. It was a different story in the third. Turner walked No. 9 hitter Alex Webber with one out, then Hefler followed with another single. Daren Wood doubled in both runners, and two batters later Conlon Ranta singled in Wood to tie the game 3-3.


Dirigo took back the lead instantly, thanks to some help from the Wolverines. Turner led off the bottom of the third by striking out, but Wood couldn’t field the pitch from his catcher’s spot and then made matters worse with a high throw to first to allow Turner to reach.

“He was in the middle of a swing, knowing it was strike three and that it was in the dirt, and had the presence of mind to take off on the first-base line right off,” Palmer said of Turner, who came around to score on consecutive singles by Robinson and Chase Thebarge to make it 4-3 Cougars.

Arsenault led off the fourth by also striking out and reaching on an errant Wood throw from behind the plate. He made it as far as third but Bailey later finished the inning strong with a pair of strikeouts.

“I don’t know if they just got rattled because they got down by three in the first inning or what,” Greg Wood said of his team. “Made a couple of errors and it cost us.”

Turner ended his outing on the mound in similar fashion to how he started it, retiring the side in the top of the fourth, including a strikeout looking on a full count for the third out.

“I was getting a little frustrated, but I tried to get through it,” Turner said. “This is the first time I really pitched on the varsity level. I’m just trying to get into it, trying to get comfortable.”


“He kind of got thrown into the fire today. We had no choice,” Palmer said of Turner. “He did everything that we could ever expected him to do.”

The Cougars put another three-spot on Bailey in the fifth. Arsenault highlighted the inning with an RBI double. It was one one of four hits in the frame.

The teams then finished the game by trading off single runs in both halves of the sixth and in the top of the seventh.

“Once you put yourself in a hole like that it’s really tough to get out of,” Wood said. “You got in the hole to begin with and they just kept putting it to you.”

The 13 hits were a welcome sight for Palmer, who has been waiting for his offense to put together a game like Friday’s.

“I put a little bit of pressure on them. I said once we get a game with an offensive explosion, and we get at least 10 hits, we’re going to start rolling,” Palmer said. “We’re not a good enough team without Gavin on the mound to not hit the ball well. And today we showed that we can hit the ball, so hopefully we take off from here.”

“I just thought some people had some big days for us,” Robinson added. “Cam had a big day for us hitting. Chase Thebarge hit the ball well. Gavin Arsenault hit the ball. I just thought we all were able to make contact and we were hitting it to the right spots today.”

Palmer said the Cougars still aren’t playing their best ball yet. But Friday’s win was “a huge step” toward getting to where they want to be.

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