HERMON — The Hermon High School baseball team celebrated Saturday’s come-from-behind 5-4 victory over Bucksport as more than the typical April 30 win — because the Hawks hope it serves as a springboard to even more success.
“This is a huge win, Bucksport’s a great team,” said Hawks’ sophomore left fielder Will Perkins. “We’re going to get huge [Heal] points from this game. This is the biggest game we’ve had, and our confidence is way up now.”
Cody Veilleux pitched an eight-hit complete game and Perkins’ two-run single highlighted a four-run fifth-inning that rallied the Hawks from a two-run deficit.
The victory improves Hermon to 4-1, but while the team’s previous three wins came over teams with a combined 1-6 record (Caribou and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln), this one was different, coming against a team that perennially is among the top contenders in Eastern Maine Class B.
“We let the kids know before the game that we needed everybody to step up and play,” said Hermon coach Doug McGinley, “and that instead of them hearing from me how good they are they needed to go out and show how good they are. I believe they did that today.”
Bucksport (2-1) took a 3-1 lead with two runs in the top of the fifth, as Ryan Bailey reached on an error, Billy DeRedin doubled to left and both runners scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler French as Hermon’s Dylan Smith fell down after ranging into deep right field to make the catch.
But Hermon countered in the bottom of the inning, sending nine batters to the plate against Bucksport righthander Evan Eldridge.
Zach Pond hit a one-out single to center and pinch-runner Logan Trembley went to second when Reid McGinley reached on an infield error. Tyler Fournier singled to center on the next pitch to drive home Trembley, and the bases became loaded when Braddock Deabay — making his return to the Hermon lineup after being sidelined with mononucleosis — drew a walk.
Perkins then grounded a 1-0 pitch into left field, driving home McGinley and Fournier to give Hermon its first lead at 4-3.
“I saw a great pitch, a fastball, and I just tried to hit it hard,” said Perkins. “I just sat back and shot it through.”
Deabay then scored on Bucksport’s second error of the inning to give the Hawks a two-run advantage.
Bucksport got one run back in the sixth when Shawn Smith walked and pinch-runner Josh Gray came around to score on a single by Bailey and a throwing error by Hermon.
The Golden Bucks then put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the seventh, but Veilleux induced Mike Cummings to hit a comebacker to the mound that the Hermon righthander turned into a game-ending 1-4-3 double play.
“It’s hard to get behind a team like Bucksport, but Cody just got tougher,” said coach McGinley. “He settled down and threw strikes, his breaking ball was working well, and he had them off balance a few times.
“Then in the last inning, he was just pumped.”
Veilleux struck out eight batters while walking five and yielding one earned run. Eldridge also pitched a complete game, allowing three earned runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.
“I just went at them with fastballs because they kept saying they could see my curveball,” said Veilleux. “I went mostly with fastballs and then just mixed in the curveball.”
Fournier and Perkins each singled twice for Hermon, while Veilleux tripled and McGinley doubled.
Tyler McAllian singled twice for Bucksport.
Bucksport took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Veilleux issued one-out walks to DeRedin and French and McAllian followed with an RBI single to the fence in left-center field.
“The first inning I struggled with my control,” said Veilleux, “but I settled down after that. I think I was just nervous about the big game.”