ORONO, Maine — The Orono Red Riots baseball team proved that endurance and timing are key to winning baseball games.
Down late in the game Monday at Mahaney Diamond, the Red Riots had not given up hope after having their bats silenced.
“One of our players said late in the game, we’ve scored runs before with two out. Just keep going and be confident in yourselves,” Orono coach Don Joseph said.
In their 3-2 comeback victory against George Stevens Academy, the Red Riots mustered just two hits and six baserunners.
“You have to find a crack and eventually it gets wider and then you can bring in the players and get through there,” said Joseph about his team’s ability to persevere and battle back.
The Red Riots found that crack in the sixth, as both hits and four of their baserunners were generated in the decisive sixth inning.
GSA lefthander Ben Olivari stymied the Orono bats, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning with two outs. Olivari did not allow a runner past second through his first five innings and got within an out of getting out of the sixth.
After getting the first two outs in the sixth, Olivari walked Dom Mowrer and then had his no-hit bid erased with an RBI single by Justin White to bring the Red Riots within one at 2-1. After a Tyler Eddy walk, Cam Dwyer stepped up and dropped a double down the left-field line to score White and Eddy to give Orono a 3-2 lead.
Eddy put down the Eagles in order in the seventh to end the ballgame.
While Olivari took the spotlight for most of the game, Eddy quietly matched his counterpart by allowing only three hits and striking out six over seven strong innings.
“He was getting us out early, going through us 1-2-3,” said Eddy, “I knew I had to step up my game to make sure they didn’t get any more runs with the way we were going.”
Joseph praised Eddy for keeping the team in the game until the offense caught fire.
“Tyler pitched well. He didn’t get discouraged,” Joseph said.
GSA jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Cooper Smallidge hit into a fielder’s choice to bring in Schuyler Van der Eb in the first inning. Ben Eley reached on an error to start the third and later came around on a Loriman Looke single to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles’ early lead held up with some great defense to go along with Olivari’s pitching. Center fielder Finn McMahon Allwine came up with a key outfield assist in the fifth, ranging over to make a catch in the gap and then doubled off the runner at second.
The defense continued, as Looke followed that up the next inning with a diving stop into the hole at second and a snap throw to first for the out.
“Our defense was very solid,” said GSA coach Dan Kane, “I think we played fantastic today.”
Orono improves to 7-4, while George Stevens of Blue Hill drops to 6-4.
Orono has now won five in a row, this game being their biggest triumph so far.
“Right down to the wire,” Eddy said, noting it was the best game of the season for his team. “They’re good games to watch, but I’d definitely like a little more cushion there,” he joked.