LIVERMORE FALLS — Oak Hill sophomore Kyle Delano was nonchalant about his relief pitching performance against Spruce Mountain on Monday.

Delano quickly dispensed of the Phoenix in the final three innings, allowing the Raiders to walk away with a lopsided 20-3 win as cold, dust bowl-like winds battered the field.

Oak Hill’s Isaac Morissette safely slides into second base as Spruce Mountain second baseman Xander Reichenbach waits for the ball and shortstop Jack Gilbert provides backup during an MVC game in Livermore Falls on Monday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Winning pitcher Sam Lindsay faced the brunt of those intolerable conditions for two rough innings, often calling a timeout due to the wind-driven infield dirt.

“Sam and Kyle both threw strikes and kept us moving, which you’ve got to do in a game like this — kind of keep the ball rolling — and that’s what we did,” Oak Hill coach Chad Stowell said. “I am impressed with the way Sam battled. These are not easy pitching conditions. Kyle came in, and in game like this … you just want a guy come in and basically pound the strike zone, and Kyle did that.”

But the winds started to diminish when Delano took the mound to finish off the five-inning game that was shortened when the 10-run rule was implemented.

“It went pretty good,” Delano, who retired the side in order in two of those three innings, said. “It was a little chilly at first. It was fun. I came in and did what I had to do. You have fun out there and it warms up.”

Oak Hill’s rampage began with a seven-run first inning highlighted by RBI triples from shortstop Gavin Rawstron and outfielder Maverick Swan. The Raiders strung together four of their game-total 11 hits in that inning and took advantage of several passed balls.

Spruce Mountain responded with two runs in the bottom half of the first. Lindsay walked the first two batters — Isaac Parker and Lucas Towers — who moved to third and second bases on steals. The pair scored on RBI groundouts by Jack Gilbert and Jayden Perreault.

Oak Hill relief pitcher Kyle Delano keeps an eye on the plate after making a throw during a Mountain Valley Conference game in Livermore Falls on Monday afternoon. Tony Blas/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The second inning was more of the same for the Raiders, who collected eight more runs to open up a 15-2 lead. Catcher Ian Morissette hammered out a two-run single and Rawstron collected another RBI on his hit. The Raiders also took advantage on three walks and freshman Trent Drouin brought in a run after he was hit by a pitch.

“It gives us an opportunity to get some at-bats, which is always a good thing,” Stowell said. “We had a couple of pretty good games last weekend, but we didn’t score a lot. So it was nice to be able to get some guys at-bats — you know work on hitting with runners on base, running the bases.” 

The Phoenix scored their third run in the second inning. Isaac Parker got on with a single and moved to second when Lucas Towers walked. Gilbert smacked Parker with a single.

The Raiders used three hits and several walks to score five more runs in the fifth inning.

Besides dealing with less-than ideal conditions, the Phoenix were playing their first game after a COVID-19 layoff from practice.

“We hadn’t played for a week and a half, so …” Spruce Mountain coach David Frey said. “The weather wasn’t the greatest either, but you come off not playing a week and half and you play a good Oak Hill team — they are a pretty good team.

“Been a tough preseason already. It’s been two and a half weeks where we haven’t been able to do anything.”

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