OLD TOWN, Maine — Year after year, crosstown rivalries give neighboring teams a chance to prove their abilities and gain bragging rights for another season.
The Orono Red Riots baseball team set out to do all that Thursday against Old Town, but also looked to add momentum going into the final week of the regular season.
“It’s a matter of pride,” Orono coach Don Joseph said, noting that players from both teams know each other and have played together in the past.
The Red Riots accomplished their goals with a 10-0 victory over Old Town in five innings with equal contributions from pitching, offense and defense.
The win, which avenges a season-opening loss to the Coyotes, is the ninth in a row for Orono and puts it atop the Class C standings at 11-4.
Joseph was glad to get the redemption, but did not credit the rivalry as his team’s primary motivation.
“I think knowing we didn’t take care of business the first time was more of a factor,” he said.
The Red Riots were paced by a six-run fourth inning when seven of the 10 batters reached base.
Christian Mowrer walked with the bases loaded and Bryce Menhert followed with an RBI single to put the Red Riots up 5-0. The big blow of the inning came on Cam Mowrer’s two-run single to make it 7-0.
Menhert and Cam Mowrer came around on errors by Old Town in the fourth, as did Justin White for the run in the fifth that ended the game due to the mercy rule.
Orono jumped on the board in the first with the first of Ethan Hall’s three singles, which brought in White.
Christian Mowrer had two-run double in the third to make it 3-0, before the offensive outburst in fourth.
Every starter reached base for the Red Riots, led by Hall’s three hits and two from Menhert.
Hall saw the ball well and saw plenty of opportunity for himself and his teammates to put the ball in play.
“He was throwing a lot of first pitch strikes out there and kept it in the strike zone for us,” he said, as the Red Riots collected 10 hits.
Orono starter Tyler Eddy scattered just two hits over five shutout innings and struck out five to pick up the win. Eddy enjoyed the support from the offense and defense, adding that it couldn’t have come at a better in the year.
“Everyone’s clicking right now and this is the best I’ve ever seen us click,” he said.
Eddy is confident in his team’s ability to win in the big games ahead of them in the postseason.
“I know we can do damage, especially if we keep rolling like this,” he said.
Joseph was impressed with the all-around play of his team, but assured that there was still work to be done.
“We are gonna let the guys know that after Lee on Wednesday, it’s a one-game playoff,” he said, knowing his team must learn from last year’s playoff loss and come into the postseason ready and hungry this time around.
“At this stage of the season you have to come in prepared, because if you don’t, you’re going to get knocked off, “ he added.
For Old Town, Cam Archer and Garvey Melmed each singled and stole a base in the loss.
The Coyotes slip to 5-8 as they cling to the final playoff spot in the Class B standings with only three games to play.