MILLINOCKET — After losing back-to-back games to Brewer and Bangor by a combined 24-4 score during the previous 48 hours, the last thing the Lincoln Lumber American Legion baseball team wanted was to fall behind for a third straight game.
But there they were, trailing Motor City of Bangor 4-0 midway through Tuesday’s Zone 1 contest at DiFrederico Memorial Field.
Only this time Lincoln used its collective lumber to fight back, pounding out 15 hits overall and scoring eight runs in its final two at-bats to surge to a 9-6 victory that improved their record to 5-3 on the summer.
“We played Bangor and Brewer and they’re both tough, and we had some mistakes early tonight that got us down,” said Lincoln catcher A.J. Harris. “But we have five wins so far and we’ve come back in three or four of them, so whether we’re down 1-0 or more we’ve bounced back.”
Lincoln scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to snap a 6-6 tie. Back-to-back doubles by Garen Manzo and Jordan Morrow produced the go-ahead run, and Logan McLaughlin and Dustin Sawtelle added RBI singles to help the Lumber defeat Motor City for the third time this summer.
“We finally got the bats going tonight,” said Manzo, the former Stearns of Millinocket standout who played basketball last winter at Thomas College of Waterville. “Last night I think we had five or six hits against Bangor, that’s tough pitching. Today we came out and had a lot of hits. We were down, but we got our bats going and that’s what helped us come back.”
Manzo also had two singles for coach John Montgomery’s club, while Morrow and Sawtelle each doubled and singled and Harris and Dylan Whirty each singled twice.
That offensive outburst helped McLaughlin earn the complete-game pitching victory. The righthander, a recent graduate of Central Aroostook High School, made his 85-mile drive from his home in Mars Hill to this home game a worthwhile trek, scattering seven hits while striking out four batters and walking three.
“He two-hit them at Husson at the start of the season and pitched them tough,” said Harris. “He was all worried before the game thinking they were going to rope him because they already saw him, but I told him just to battle and throw strikes and we’d be all set. He battled, we stuck with him, and it worked out.”
Motor City (4-5) scored two unearned runs aided by two Lincoln errors in the top of the third, then used three hits — including an RBI single by Tyler Eddy — and a wild pitch to extend its lead to four runs an inning later.
Harris singled and scored on Whirty’s two-out ground single to right to get Lincoln on the board in the bottom of the fourth, then sent nine batters to the plate in each of its final two at-bats.
Lincoln reached Motor City starter Casey Estes for five runs in the fifth to take a 6-4 lead, with Harris hitting a two-run single and Sawtelle following with a two-run double to left-center to highlight the rally before Motor City reliever Cameron Archer came on to retire three straight batters to prevent further damage.
Motor City then tied the game in the top of the sixth. Cody Cross and Gabe Melmed each singled, and Cross scored on a wild pitch before Melmed crossed the plate with the tying run as pinch-hitter Cody Collins reached on an infield error.
Cross had three singles and scored twice for Motor City, while Archer singled twice and laid down a successful sacrifice bunt.