AUBURN — Edward Little had it all set up.

Scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning in Thursday’s Class A North baseball quarterfinal with Mt. Ararat, the Red Eddies had runners on second and third with one out.

As Eagles reliever Hunter Lohr released the pitch, pinch runner Nick Hathaway broke for home, with the suicide squeeze on and Jake Arel at the plate. But, Arel’s bunt went airborne as first baseman Devin Tobin charged the plate. He slowed himself, hauled in the catch before calmly leading third baseman Cam Grant back to his bag for an inning-ending double play.

What followed was an offensive onslaught for the visitors, as the Eagles batted around in both the sixth and seventh innings for a stunning 9-0 victory.

Mt. Ararat (12-5), the No. 6 seed riding a nine-game winning streak, heads to second-seeded Oxford Hills on Saturday at noon for a semifinal game.

Tobin talked about the double play that turned the fortunes around for Mt. Ararat.


“It went up, and I was like, ‘The pitcher (Hunter Lohr) is going to get it.’ Then he falls, and I thought I was going to step on him,” said Tobin. “But I caught it and threw to third. I had to loosen up on the ball so much. It was an exciting moment.”

“It was big,” Mt. Ararat coach Brett Chase said. “When we played them earlier in the year (a 7-3 loss), they bunted on us and we didn’t handle it. We took a week to work on our bunt coverage. Devin made a great play, calmed himself down and threw a strike to Cam.”

“Credit to Mt. Ararat for getting out of those jams,” EL coach Dave Jordan said. “The better team won today. Mt. Ararat is a team with a lot of veterans, a lot of names that have played in big games the last few years.”

In the sixth, the momentum shifted completely Mt. Ararat’s way as Lohr, Nick Merrill and Austin Damon hit back-to-back-to-back doubles for a 2-0 lead against EL starting pitcher Ethan Brown, who until the sixth had permitted just one hit.

Before coming to the plate, Damon had another plan in mind.

“I saw Hunter get on and I told coach, ‘If Nick gets on, I’m bunting.’ Then Nick doubled and coach said, ‘You’re not bunting!’” Damon said. “That first pitch, (Brown) threw me a fastball and I took it and doubled.”


Chase felt the momentum-changing defensive play in the fifth led to the offensive production.

“The guys were excited in the dugout and it carried over into the bats in the sixth,” Chase said. “I felt that we had started to swing the bats better in the fourth inning.”

“It is very contagious. It transitioned right into our bats,” Tobin said.

Leading 2-0, Grant reached on a Red Eddies error. The Eagles then turned to small ball, using three consecutive bunts from Kyle Brennan (RBI), Tobin and Nate Leslie (RBI) for a 4-0 lead.

“I felt like we would be fine if we went out there and got an out right away, but instead they got a few guys on and we botched a couple plays,” Jordan said. “Through five innings we were right there, and we just couldn’t stop the bleeding.”

Mt. Ararat put the game away in the seventh, scoring five runs. Again, Lohr and Merrill opened the frame with doubles for a 5-0 lead. Damon singled, with a throwing error allowing Merrill to score and Damon to hustle all the way to third. Damon beat a throw home from shortstop Austin Brown for a 6-0 lead. Dakota Lopez finished the frame with a two-run single off of EL standout Grant Hartley, making the score 9-0.


Mt. Ararat received solid pitching from Garrett Moody, Lohr and Grant. Moody pitched four-plus frames, with five strikeouts, two walks and four hits allowed. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts, and stranded two more Red Eddies in the second.

“Baseball is a game of momentum, and I don’t even know how many guys we left on base in scoring position in the first five innings. We score some runs there, it changes that momentum,” said Jordan, who loses four seniors from this year’s 13-win team (13-4).

Lohr went 2 1/3 innings (four strikeouts, two walks) for the win, with Grant finishing up.

Ethan Brown pitched into the sixth for EL, allowing four hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Ben Cassidy and Arel also threw for the Red Eddies.

Now comes another challenge, with the second-seeded and 14-win Oxford Hills next for the Eagles.

“We are going to go out, throw strikes, and take care of making the plays on the field,” Chase said.

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