Mountain Valley’s Hunter Ames (44) is greeted by teammates after crossing home plate following a grand slam Friday night during their game with Dirigo. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

DIXFIELD — A few extra swings off the tee at dawn on Thursday led to a power surge on Friday by Mountain Valley’s Hunter Ames.

Ames belted a three-run home run and a grand slam in back-to-back innings and scored four runs to lead the Falcons to a 19-9 win over rival Dirigo at rainy Harlow Park.

“I was just feeling good,” said Ames, a left-handed senior. “It was kind of like every ball was like a beach ball.”

Ames, who also walked twice and was hit by a pitch, led Mountain Valley’s 12-hit attack but wasn’t the only offensive star. Curtis Gauvin belted three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs. Garrett Garbarini clubbed two hits, including a double, while driving in three and scoring three. He also picked up the win in relief.

Quentin Penley led Dirigo (1-1) with a pair of two-run singles. Tucker Olsen also had two hits.

Ames found the short porch in right field (265 feet down the line) to his liking for his first blast, a three-run homer down the line that capped a five-run second to put the Falcons in front to stay.  

His grand slam in a six-run third travelled to right-center and put them up, 11-2.

“I’m always looking at (right field at Harlow) when I step in,” Ames said. “Both pitches were fastballs, right down the middle. I didn’t feel it off the bat. My big problem was pulling my front shoulder, but now I think I’ve gotten used to tucking it in. I definitely can get good contact if I can keep it in.”

“When he stays down on the ball, he hits it as hard as anyone,” Mountain Valley coach Steve Lapointe said. “Once in a while he’ll pull off the ball. (Thursday) we went in at six o’clock in the morning and spent a half-an-hour just doing tee work. He put the work in.”

“Right now our pitching is not experienced for me to tell them that against a left-handed power hitter, you need to keep the ball outside. Right now, strikes are more important,” Dirigo coach Ryan Palmer said. “We kept a couple in to Hunter and he did what he was supposed to do and turned on it.”

Dirigo plated four in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a Cooper Chiasson RBI double and Penley’s first single. But Garbarini quieted the Cougars over the next two innings, allowing just one baserunner on an error while the Falcons opened an insurmountable 18-6 advantage. The cushion inflated thanks in part to his own two-run double, and a two-run single and RBI double by Gauvin.

“Garrett put a band-aid on it,” Lapointe said. “With the lead, all he had to do was throw strikes, and he did that.”

Mountain Valley had four starters sidelined for academic reasons, but got big days at the plate from sophomore leadoff hitter Cody Hemingway, who added two hits, including an RBI triple, and freshman No. 9 hitter Anthony Mazza, who cracked two singles and scored three times.

“There were two or three guys that really stepped up,” Ames said. “(Dirigo) has always been our rival. It’s always good beating them.”

Both teams are scheduled to play make-up games on Saturday. The Falcons host Boothbay, while the Cougars travel to Lisbon.

Mountain Valley’s Hunter Ames (44) is greeted by teammates after crossing home plate following a grand slam Friday night during their game with Dirigo. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Dirigo’s Chandler Redmond dives back to first safely as Mountain Valley’s Hunter Ames waits to make a play during Friday afternoon’s soggy game in Dixfield. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Dirigo’s Chandler Redmond dives back to first safely as Mountain Valley’s Hunter Ames waits to make a play during Friday afternoon’s soggy game in Dixfield. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)


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