HOLDEN, Maine — The Holbrook Little League All-Stars had a sense of urgency in their contest Monday against Glenburn.
After losing by just a run in its first-round game, the Holbrook stars dropped into the losers bracket of the District 3 Little League baseball tournament and were faced with an elimination game.
Holbrook stepped up its efforts in a big way with an 11-0 mercy-rule victory to stave off elimination and advance.
Coach Tom Smith knew his team would rise to the occasion and respond in a must-win situation.
“This is a great bunch of kids, and I knew they would battle after that close loss to Brewer,” said Smith.
Holbrook batters found their timing early and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. After Max Perkins doubled and Collin Rhodes-Doyle singled, both used their speed to advance around the bases and score on passed balls.
Perkins came back up in the second and hit an RBI single to score Logan Dempsey and make it 3-0.
The third inning proved to be the most lethal for the Holbrook stars, as they sent 10 men to the plate and scored six runs. Joe Murphy jump started the big inning with a solo home run that put Holbrook up 4-0.
Murphy was more than happy to spark his team with his second home run in the tournament and sixth of the year.
“It felt great,” said Murphy. “I got my pitch and I drove it to center field.”
Tyler Hurd, Zach Duncan, and Rhodes-Doyle later followed with RBI singles, while Hurd and Duncan also came around to score on two Glenburn errors to up the Holbrook lead to 9-0.
The knockout blow came in the fifth, as Noah Tomah ripped a two-run double to center to make it 11-0 and secure the win for Holbrook.
Holbrook was led offensively Murphy’s blast to go along with two-hit performances from Perkins, Rhodes-Doyle and Duncan.
Holbrook starter Nate Smith was able to stay focused through all the offense and shut down the Glenburn bats.
Smith worked quickly and efficiently through the lineup, allowing just two singles to J.J. Higgins and Jacob Morrison while striking out seven in his four innings. The righthander threw strictly fastballs, which were spotted well with some movement to keep hitters guessing throughout.
Coach Smith had foreseen this type of game for his boys, knowing their capabilities.
“We’ve got some good pitching and we can pound the ball as you saw here today,” he said, noting his defense also showed up in a timely fashion to aid in the victory.
While the game was full of positives, coach Smith said there is room for improvement.
“There’s always stuff to work on,” he said.“Just a lot of situational stuff and little things that we can fine tune.”
The win propels Holbrook into the next round of the elimination bracket, where it will face either Millinocket or Old Town on Friday.
“We have no idea what we are going to face,” he said. “I tell the boys that we just need to take care of ourselves and what we need to do.”
The opponent is not important to Smith, knowing no matter who the opponent may be that his boys will have to win to advance.
“It doesn’t matter who we face,” he said. “As long as we take care of our business and play our game, then good things will happen.”