TURNER — The bats didn’t wake up the way Leavitt hoped, but Matt Wallingford shut out Dirigo so one run on a strange play was enough in the Hornets’ 1-0 baseball victory Monday.

Wallingford, a senior, struck out 13 batters. He didn’t allow a base runner until the fourth inning and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, when Dakota Tompkins singled for Dirigo’s only hit of the game.

“Oh, yeah, all four pitches were working, and it was the first time the changeup was working this year, which was nice,” Wallingford said. “It was good knowing I could go to any one I wanted.”

With the win, Leavitt (5-8) ends a three-game losing streak that was capped by a 10-4 loss to Edward Little last week. 

“We were just talking, that through our little three-game losing streak we just had, the pitching was not the problem,” Leavitt coach Chris Cifelli said. “We struggled to score some runs and we chucked it around in another game, but our starting pitching has been really good and our bullpen has also been really good. We certainly needed his performance today.”

While Wallingford did his job on the mound, the Hornets struggled to get any offense going for the first two innings. Dirigo (6-6) pitcher Charlie Houghton struck out two batters in the first inning and was helped in the second inning by an unassisted double play by Cole Brown, who caught a line drive and dove to second base to double up Jayden Ruel. 


In the third, Ben Sirois singled for Leavitt, and then Wyatt Hathaway drove a fly ball to right field. Dirigo outfielder Trent Holman got under the ball and appeared set to make the catch, but Cougars coach Bob Karcher said Holman told him that the ball slipped through a hole in between parts of his glove and roll to the back of the outfield. Hathaway reached third, on what Leavitt’s scorebook marked as a triple that drove in Sirois for the game’s only run.

“He said the ball went through his glove and he had to tighten it,” Karcher said. “That’s what he said. It looked like he had a beat on it, and he’s usually a pretty reliable guy.

“It’s unfortunate that that’s how it had to go down, but we didn’t score any runs.”

Houghton settled back in on the mound for Dirigo, pitching a scoreless fourth and fifth innings and finishing with seven strikeouts. 

“I thought he was phenomenal. For a sophomore? He was phenomenal,” Karcher said. “No earned runs, he did everything you wanted to do, but we didn’t give him any runs. That was a credit to the guy they had on the mound. I was happy with the way we played, they had their ace on the mound and we had problems with him the first time, also.”

In the team’s first matchup, Wallingford pitched Leavitt to a 9-1 win.

Dirigo was able to get two batters on base in the fifth, but Wallingford got out of the jam. He said his focus never wavered and his anxiety never heightened, a theme for Wallingford this season.

“I didn’t really have any anxiety going into this,” Wallingford said. “I knew they were going to be swinging the bat and I knew they were going to be a lot tougher than last time, so I just had to pitch my game and throw strikes.”

Wallingford notched a hit in the fifth inning and stole a base before Dirigo got out of the inning without allowing a run.

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