ORONO, Maine — The Old Town Coyotes displayed virtually every facet of a high school baseball team focused on winning a second straight state championship during their 2017 season opener Monday afternoon.
Three pitchers backed by errorless defense combined to throw a four-hit shutout and eight different batters contributed to a 15-hit offense as coach Brad Goody’s club scored a 13-0 victory over Orono at Mahaney Diamond on the campus of the University of Maine.
“You really never know what you have,” said Goody, whose team never trailed after scoring twice in the top of the first inning. “I knew they’d be a tough team but we’re just happy to get that first one out of the way.”
Senior right-hander Ethan Stoddard, who earned the pitching win in Old Town’s 12-2, five-inning victory over Freeport in the 2016 Class B state final, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first and went on to limit Class C Orono to two hits over four innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.
“He threw last Friday and didn’t look as sharp as he was then,” said Goody. “But he’s got good stuff so even if he doesn’t have his ‘A’ game he can still get us deep into the game.”
Classmate Ryan Hoogterp scattered two hits while working the fifth and sixth innings for Old Town before sophomore Brenden Gasaway added a scoreless seventh.
Catcher Cole Daniel and right fielder Nick Swift each had three singles and two RBIs to pace the Coyotes’ offense while Hoogterp, Stoddard and first baseman Austin Sheehan each singled twice. Stoddard and Sheehan added two RBIs apiece.
Senior left fielder Jacob Ketch added the game’s lone extra-base hit, a two-run homer to deep right field in the top of the fifth.
Old Town reached Orono ace Jackson Coutts for two runs in the top of the first. Swift and Stoddard singled with one out before Swift scored on a low throw to second base on Sheehan’s fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop.
Daniel singled to left to deliver Stoddard before the University of Rhode Island-bound Coutts struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
A sharp single off the first-base bag by Coutts and a walk to Connor McCluskey gave Orono runners at first and second with one out in the bottom of the inning.
Stoddard struck out the next batter he faced but issued a bases-loading walk to Kaleb Newell before striking out Connor Robertson to end the threat.
“Ethan buckled down when he had to after a hit and a couple of walks,” said Goody. “I was just happy to get out of that inning and things kind of took off from there.”
A two-out RBI single by Jake Dubay made it 3-0 in the third. Stoddard singled home Swift an inning later and came all the way around to score on an errant throw — one of five Orono errors in the game — as the lead grew to 5-0.
Ketch’s home run, a high line drive to deep right that bounced to the fence, extended Old Town’s lead to 7-0 in the fifth. The Coyotes added six more runs in the seventh with a rally that included a two-run single by Swift and additional RBIs from Hoogterp, Stoddard and Sheehan.
“I’ve told the guys a couple of times we’re not defending the championship, no one’s coming to get that  trophy,” said Goody. “We’re all after the same 2017 state championship trophy.”