BUCKFIELD – The St. Dominic Academy baseball team picked a perfect time to win its first game of the season.

The 10th-seeded Saints (1-14), whose roster is made up of sophomores, freshmen and even an eighth-grader, defeated seventh-seeded Buckfield 8-1 in a Class D South first-round game Tuesday.

Freshman Ashton Hammond was stellar on the mound, going the distance and allowing only one hit, striking out two and walking three.

Hammond likes to work with three pitches — fastball, changeup, and a curveball — two of which were especially sharp Tuesday.

“My curveball wasn’t working, so I went to the changeup and fastball,” Hammond said. “They couldn’t touch the fastball, so it was easier to go to the changeup after.”

Since every team makes the playoffs this season, the entire season was building up to this game, Saints coach Bob Blackman said.


“You didn’t have to put the pressure on them midseason,” Blackman said. “You start in a normal season 0-10, 0-11, 0-12 and you start to get the pressure to say, ‘Hey guys, we need to win to make playoffs.’ We didn’t have to worry about that. So, I didn’t have to put that pressure on them in games 10, 11, and 12 to look for that win. Because of that, it made it easier.”

The Saints did the most of their damage in the first inning when No. 2 hitter Miles Frenette hit a single and Hammond followed with a walk. Both came home on a Ridge Dionne single to put St. Dom’s up 2-0. Dionne later stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before coming home on an Ethan Pelletier single.

Ryan Bussiere then drove home Tom Casserly and Ethan Pelletier to cap a five-run inning for the Saints.

Buckfield (1-14) coach Justin Davis said starter Gabriel White had a hamstring injury and it took him time to get loose.

“He started the game with a little tightness in his hamstring, but after that, he turned it around,” Davis said. “He pitched very well after that, he shut down some very solid batters.”

White went three innings and only allowed one hit after the first. Rich Kraske pitched the fourth through the sixth inning and Keegan Jack pitched the seventh.


Hammond, meanwhile, cruised through the first two innings, facing the minimum six batters. He ended the second inning by picking off Cody Litchfield at first base.

“There was a lot on us, for sure,” Davis said. “There (were) a lot of mental mistakes, that was kind of our big thing, a lot of mental mistakes. There (were) a lot of things we should have and could have worked on through the season, and we did work on (some things). It didn’t show up today, it happens, unfortunately.”

Dionne scored the Saints’ sixth run in the top of the third. He reached on a single to centerfield, stole second, moved to third on a putout and then home on a balk by White. In the bottom of the third, Buckfield had two runners reach base, but they were stranded.

Hammond and Ben DuBois scored for the Saints in the top of the fifth extend the lead to 8-0.

DuBois, an eighth-grader, started the year with the middle school team, but by the second week of the season he was on the varsity team. Sine his oldest teammate was only two grades ahead of him, he felt comfortable around his teammates, who also are experiencing varsity baseball for the first time.

“It was good having younger guys on the team because they were in the same boat that I was in,” DuBois said.

Blackman, who has been the Saints’ coach since 2002 and has won four Class C state championships during that time, took a little while to adjust to coaching with no players with varsity experience, and changing from expecting to win, like in the past, to working on fundamentals in order to be a better team at the end of the season.

“I did not know how I would react to it,” Blackman said. “Early on, I had to accept that it would be a process to it. It wasn’t going to happen by turning the switch on; when you got one sophomore, 10 freshmen and an eighth-grader, it’s different than having a (well-seasoned) team. I really had to focus on the process and not every game was (to) win or lose.”

Litchfield scored the Bucks’ lone run in the bottom of the fifth, coming home on Hunter Driscoll’s ground out to second base.

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