PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs opened up the 21st home season in franchise history with a 6-4 win over the New Britain Rock Cats Thursday night at Hadlock Field.
The 6,022 in attendance marked the largest for a home opener since 2003 for the Sea Dogs.
New Britain looked to spoil the home opener and plated an unearned run against Keith Couch in the first inning. Kennys Vargas connected on a sacrifice fly to right and plated Brad Boyer.
The Sea Dogs pulled ahead 2-1 in the second. With one out, Carlos Rivero tucked a double down the left field line and Matt Spring followed with a wall ball double off the Maine Monster that pulled the Dogs even at 1-1. Peter Hissey drove home the second run with a groundout to first that scored Spring.
Portland connected for another in the fourth, courtesy of a Sean Coyle single that plated Rivero and upped the lead to 3-1.
The left fielder Rivero was at it again with two down in the fifth. He dropped a single into center that scored both Mookie Betts and Shannon Wilkerson to give Portland the 5-1 advantage.
Couch (2-0) settled into a groove after the first and never looked back. He retired the side in order in the second, and weaved his way through minimal trouble over the next three plus innings before being removed with two outs in the sixth.
For the second start in a row, the righty went 5 ⅔ innings and allowed an unearned run. New Britain tallied five hits against Couch, walked once, and struck out five times.
The Sea Dogs tallied the final run of the night in the seventh on a triple to center by Mookie Betts. He came around to score on a throwing error on the relay throw from center by the shortstop Aderling Mejia to make it 6-1.
The Rock Cats attempted to mount a comeback late against Portland righty, Noe Ramirez. The run in the eighth came when Nate Hanson singled off of Ramirez and was guided around the diamond on three wild pitches by the righty.
Ramirez was sent back out to the mound for the ninth and was greeted by back-to-back base hits, which put runners on second and third with nobody out. Corey Wimberly produced a run with a groundout to second and cut the deficit three.
Ramirez battled back and retired the next batter, but gave up an RBI single to Hanson and New Britain pulled to within two, at 6-4. Jose Valdez took over for Ramirez with two on and two out in the final frame. The veteran righty induced a groundout to second off the bat of Daniel Ortiz for the final out of the game.
Before the game, the Sea Dogs commemorated Bill Troubh as part of opening ceremonies.
Troubh, who died last November, was instrumental in bringing the Portland Sea Dogs to the city in 1994. He served multiple terms on the Portland City Council and was mayor in 1974 and 1975 and again in 1983 and 1984.
The Sea Dogs dedicated a Hadlock Field Skybox in his honor and established the “William Troubh Community Service Award.”
On most summer nights Troubh could be at Hadlock Field enjoying a Sea Dogs game with family and friends. He was inducted into the Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame in 2010.
“While my father is described as the founder of the Sea Dogs, he was also the first to say that the team would not be here had it not been for the heroic efforts of Bill Troubh,” said Sea Dogs chairman Bill Burke. “Bill was a great man, a valued advisor and a cherished friend. We miss him terribly but are pleased for the opportunity to honor his memory on a day that was always circled on his calendar, the home opener at Hadlock Field.”
Troubh’s wife Nancy along with their children, grandchildren, and friends were in attendance Thursday. A replica Sea Dogs jersey with Troubh’s name and the number 13 are displayed on the outside of the box. A plaque inside the box honors Troubh’s contributions.