Oak Hill pitcher Reid Cote throws to plate during the Raiders’ game against Mt. Abram on Friday in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

WALES — It was a situation the Oak Hill High School baseball team experienced too often last year. This time, however, the Raiders had an answer.

Oak Hill rallied back from a three-run deficit in its last at-bat, scoring the winner when Ethan Barnett raced home on a passed ball to put the final touches on a dramatic 7-6 victory over Mt. Abram in both teams’ season opener.

Going into the seventh, the feeling was all too familiar for coach Chad Stowell and his team, which struggled on its way to a 4-12 record last season. It took only one game for the Raiders to enjoy an entirely different outcome.

“This felt a lot like last year. … I did see some of that almost ‘here we go again’ mentality,” Stowell said. “It was nice to see them come out. … It’s a testament to guys staying in the game. This is tough, it’s a tough situation of being cold and windy. Guys stayed focused.”

Barnett and Reid Cote had two hits and scored two runs apiece for Oak Hill, while Casey Dion, Sam Lindsay and Colby Webster had singles and Caleb Valliere, Gavin Rawstron and Caleb Treadwell scored runs.

Jack Deming had a three-run double for the Roadrunners (0-1), who broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fifth, while Nate Luce had a double and Sam Storer and Ben DeBiase each scored twice.

“Good teams find ways to win. That’s the ballgame,” Mt. Abram coach Jeff Pillsbury said. “You’ve got to make those plays, and we didn’t make them. It’s a simple game.”


Webster, Oak Hill’s only senior, stressed before the bottom of the seventh began that the Raiders were more than capable of staving off another of those familiar defeats.

“We had great leadership, especially from our senior, Colby,” said Barnett, who scored on an error in the sixth to narrow the gap to three runs. “He kept our heads up and told us we were always going to keep going and we had a chance to come back. We just plugged with it and kept going with it.”

There was no panic from the Raiders as they started the rally. Rawstron, a freshman, drew a 10-pitch walk, Cote walked on six pitches and after Webster lined out to the left-center field gap, Treadwell reached on an error that brought Rawstron home. Barnett then worked the count full before drilling a single to center, scoring Cote to make it 6-5. The throw in sailed over the cutoff, allowing Treadwell to go to third and Barnett to take second.

“There was a lot of momentum going, a lot of emotion going,” Barnett said. “I just tried to put the ball in play and make something happen.”

Dion followed with a grounder to third, but the throw home was low and Treadwell tapped the plate with the tying run. Lindsay’s grounder to short brought Mt. Abram within an out of extras, but ball four to Isaac Austin went to the backstop, allowing Barnett to take off for home and dive in with the winning run, moments before being joined by jubilant teammates.

“It was just instinct,” Barnett said. “I was just trying to be aggressive and make something happen, and luckily it worked out.”

Roadrunners jump ahead

Until that rally, the Roadrunners appeared poised for the sort of win that was unfamiliar to them last year as well.

Mt. Abram had only one hit going into the fifth but found a spark when Bryce Werzanski reached on an infield single, Storer got on with a bunt single and Kenyon Pillsbury walked, loading the bases with no outs. A DeBiase walk gave the Roadrunners a 3-2 lead, and Deming followed two batters later with a drive into the left-field gap, clearing the bases and putting Mt. Abram ahead 6-2.

“I had an opportunity to step up big for my team and I took that opportunity,” Deming said. “When I first saw it, I thought it was going to go straight into the glove of an outfielder. … I looked up, we had all of our baserunners in and I knew I did my part for my team.”

Deming didn’t wait long, swinging at the first pitch of the at-bat — and, incidentally, the last of the game for Cote, who fanned six batters.

“I saw a pitch I liked, I liked it in that spot, and I took advantage of it and made him pay,” he said. “I believe it was up and out, where I kind of like it, and where I can pull it and hit it far.”

Early offense

The teams swapped two-run innings to start the game.

Mt. Abram took a 2-0 lead without needing a hit, with Storer coming home on an error and DeBiase scoring on a groundout. Oak Hill quickly answered, with Valliere drawing a walk, stealing second and scoring on a Cote single, and Cote then stealing and scoring on Webster’s single to left.

Three scoreless innings followed, but both teams’ offenses made up for it late.

“I told them, this is how baseball is,” Stowell said. “It can just take one little break to really open things up. Just like they had the big inning, we were able to have a big inning. We were just lucky that ours was a little bit larger.”

Mt. Abram pitcher Nate Luce throws to plate during the Roadrunners’ game against Oak Hill on Friday in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Mt. Abram center field Jack Deming catches a pop fly during the Roadrunners’ game against Oak Hill on Friday in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill pitcher Reid Cote throws to plate during the Raiders’ game against Mt. Abram on Friday in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

After scoring a run, Mt. Abram’s Ben DeBiase claps toward teammate Jack Deming, who had just hit a 3-run double, against Oak Hill on Friday in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

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