THORNDIKE, Maine — As the high school baseball season reaches its midpoint for many teams, the sense of urgency increases — particularly for those on the borderline for playoff berths.
Two such teams from Eastern Maine Class B met Wednesday afternoon, with that sense of urgency helping to set up a thrilling finish. Brandon Soper’s double to left-center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh drove home Micah Williamson to give Medomak Valley of Waldoboro an 8-7 victory over Mount View. Medomak Valley was the home team but the game was played at Mount View because of field and weather considerations in Waldoboro.
Medomak Valley, which began the day in the 13th and final playoff qualifying spot in the division, is 4-3-1 on the season, while Mount View — currently out of the playoff mix — fell to 3-6.
“This is what keeps us still in the picture and keeps them out at this point,” said Medomak Valley coach Scott Hastings. “We’re still pretty close for those last couple of spots, and Mount View is a good team. They’ve lost some one-run games and can still turn things around and finish ahead of us, so it’s important that we keep winning.”
Williamson, a freshman third baseman who bats ninth in the Medomak Valley order, started the game-ending rally by flaring a one-out single to right-center field off Mount View reliever Craig Nealley.
Williamson looked overmatched by Nealley’s fastball while falling behind 1-2 in the count before guiding a breaking pitch to the opposite field.
“I just didn’t want to strike out, and he just gave me a pitch and I swung and hoped for the best,” said Williamson. “He got me with a couple fastballs, but I knew he was going to throw a curve, so I moved up in the box and the pitch was a lot slower — my speed.”
Soper followed by rifling the first pitch he saw to deep left-center field.
“That’s what I was thinking, first-pitch fastball. It was that way every at-bat, so I was ready for it,” said Soper, a junior shortstop.
Williamson was off with the contact and scored easily from first base to give Medomak Valley the sudden victory.
“Micah’s a freshman who came up with a big hit, and then Brandon came up in a big situation and ripped the ball over the center fielder’s head. Micah read the ball just as he should and took off, he knew it was going to hit the ground and he ran home.”
Senior righthander Isaac Greenrose, the third Medomak Valley pitcher of the day, earned the win by retiring Mount View in order in the top of the seventh.
Greenrose also paced the Panthers’ 13-hit attack with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored, while Soper doubled and singled and Adam Lynch, Kerry Marden and Williamson each singled twice.
Tyler McCormick and Kyle Turner each doubled and singled for Mount View, while Aaron Elkins singled twice and Adam Higgins doubled and had three RBIs.
This was a 6-6 contest through 3½ innings, with Medomak Valley using a four-run third that included doubles by Soper and Greenrose and three Mount View errors to build a 6-3 lead, only to have a two-run double down the right field line by Higgins spark a game-tying three-run uprising by the Mustangs in the top of the fourth.
Relievers Nealley and Lynch then settled the game down, with each team scratching out just a single run in the sixth inning to leave the teams tied at 7-7.
Mount View took a 7-6 lead in the top of the sixth when McCormick walked and stole both second and third bases before scoring on a groundout by Higgins.
Medomak Valley re-tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Greenrose hit a one-out double to deep left, reached third as Robby Griffin grounded out to second base and scored when Ryan Merrifield ripped a single off the glove of Mount View third baseman Ken McGray.