Edward Little’s Ben Cassidy gets back to first base after Lewiston’s Jack Leblond waits for the ball during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn’s Suburban Field. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Edward Little’s Ben Cassidy slides into third base as Lewiston’s Owen Cox waits for the ball during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn Suburban Little League. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Edward Little’s Ben Cassidy gets back to first base as Lewiston’s Jack Leblond receives a pickoff throw during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn Suburban Little League. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Edward Little’s Colin Merritt gets hit by a pitch during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn Suburban Little League. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Edward Little’s Ethan Brown catches the ball too late to tag Lewiston’s Brock Belanger after a steal attempt during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn Suburban Little League. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Maxx Bell’s body has taken a lot of punishment on the football field and ski slopes over the last eight months, but he probably never needed more bags of ice than after Monday’s baseball game against rival Lewiston.

Pressed into catching duty because Edward Little starter Giles Paradie was sidelined by an illness, Bell not only took the typical beating inflicted upon catchers by balls in the dirt and foul tips, but was also hit by pitch three times by three different pitchers when he traded in the tools of ignorance for a bat.

Bell made the most of the two plate appearances that didn’t end with him playing dodge ball, collecting an RBI single, a double and scoring three times to lead the Red Eddies to an 11-4 win over the Blue Devils at Austin Field.

“I’ve been hit about six times this year already in three games,” said Bell, who was the Eddies’ primary catcher last season. “I found out about third period today at school that I was catching, so I kind of motivated myself a little bit. I had fun and we did a great job.”

Ben Cassidy and Colin Merritt also contributed two hits apiece for the Eddies, who exploited Lewiston’s wildness off the mound (eight walks, four hit batters) to lead the entire game.

Despite playing on their home field at the Auburn Suburban Little League complex, EL served as the visitor because the game had to be moved from Lewiston Little League’s field due to unplayable conditions.

The Eddies (3-0) took advantage by scoring three runs in the top of the first without a single hit. Lewiston starting pitcher Evan Cox, coming off a strong outing in last Wednesday’s opener against Bangor, struggled with his command. After Austin Brown reached on an error by the shortstop to start the game, Cox issued three walks and hit Bell with a pitch.

“It was an uncharacteristic start (for Cox),” Lewiston coach Darren Hartley said. “I thought we missed a couple of pitches early and he essentially couldn’t make the adjustment to find the zone the umpire wanted, and that’s how this game is. I think he got down and they capitalized and did a great job of situational baseball.”

Bell’s RBI single made it 4-0 EL in the second.

“We try to be aggressive early in the count,” Bell said. “We didn’t get as many pitches to hit, but we got him rattled a little bit. He walked a couple of batters here, and there and then a couple of hits, so it all came together.”

EL starting pitcher Grant Hartley, who is Darren’s son, stranded a runner at third with none out in the bottom of the first thanks to a pair of strikeouts and a lineout to second.

But he experienced his own command issues in the second, walking three (plus one intentionally) and allowing an RBI single by Cooper Millett. Brock Belanger drew a bases-loaded walk and Millett scored on a passed ball to pull the Devils within 4-3.

Grant Hartley said nerves weren’t an issue, despite having his father watching from the third-base coach’s box.

“(I threw) probably not as well as I did against Hampden (a 5-1 win last Wednesday), but I was all right on the mound,” he said. “I was a little high with my fastball, which didn’t really help me. It was weird at the beginning, but it was fine. I played him (his dad’s team) this year in fall ball. Once you start playing, you don’t even notice it.”

Grant Hartley stubbornly held onto the lead, stranding two baserunners in the third and, after a six-run top of the fourth by the Eddies, stranding two more in the fourth after Jack Leblond’s RBI double made it 10-4 in the bottom of the fourth.

“I thought he competed for us,” Dave Jordan said of Hartley. “They had an inning where they scored three runs and he came back out and gave us a good inning. Sometimes, early in the season, it’s, ‘Can you give us innings? Can you give us outs?’ And I thought today he did that.”

“I haven’t seen Grant pitch since essentially his freshman year and, candidly, I was very surprised,” Darren Hartley said. “I think he gets downhill. He’s got a nice hook.”

Lewiston (0-3) bolstered EL’s big fourth inning with two walks, two hit batters, a balk and an error on Christian Beliveau’s well-placed suicide squeeze bunt that scored Bell. Cassidy’s single was the only hit of the inning. Brown scored Luke Josephson with a sacrifice fly.

Sophomore Jake Arel started the fifth in relief of Hartley and was almost perfect in his three innings, hitting a batter and having another reach on an error.

“I just think we’re still a little too tight, a little too selective (at the plate), and we’ll keep working on that,” Darren Hartley said. “I want us to be a little bit more aggressive at the plate.”

A nice catch by third baseman Nick Hathaway robbed Hunter Landry of an RBI hit in the fifth.

EL left 13 runners on base. Lewiston stranded 10.

Edward Little’s Colin Merritt gets hit by the ball during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn’s Suburban Field. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Ethan Brown catches the ball too late to tag Lewiston’s Brock Belanger after a steal attempt during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn’s Suburban Field. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Ben Cassidy initiates a slide into third base as Lewiston’s Owen Cox waits for the ball during Monday afternoon’s matchup at Auburn’s Suburban Field. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)


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