DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A 10-day layoff unrelated to the whims of Mother Nature is a fairly rare occurrence for any team during the middle of the high school baseball season, when three games a week is the norm.
And it’s not necessarily a desired respite, particularly for a squad riding the momentum of an undefeated record.
But unbeaten Foxcroft Academy showed no ill effects from such a midseason siesta Tuesday, as Jesse Provost pitched a two-hit shutout and Hunter Law drove home three runs in the first two innings to propel the Ponies to a 9-0 Penobscot Valley Conference Class B baseball victory over Old Town.
The defending Eastern Maine Class B champions are now 9-0 with a single game against Hermon on Thursday and a Saturday doubleheader against Caribou awaiting later this week.
“I was nervous that we might be a little rusty, especially at the plate, but that was clearly not the case,” said Foxcroft coach Mark Chevalier. “We swung the bats really well in the first inning and continued doing so, and the pitching and defense were about as clean as they’ve been all year so I couldn’t be happier with how we played today. I thought it was one of our best performances of the year, and coming off a layoff I’m really happy and proud of how the guys played today.”
Old Town, which had taken Foxcroft to extra innings in their earlier meeting this spring and had defeated Eastern Maine Class B contenders Mount Desert Island and John Bapst of Bangor in its previous two games, is now 5-6.
Provost, a senior righthander making just his second pitching start of the spring, threw 60 of his 89 deliveries for strikes.
He no-hit the Coyotes until Tyler Byther hit an opposite-field single to right with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning, and the only other hit Provost allowed was a pinch single by Zac Miller in the seventh.
“I just wanted to attack their hitters and trust my defense behind me,” said Provost. “I was hitting the corners all day and the defense helped me out a lot.”
Provost struck out six, walked two and hit a batter and has yet to allow a run in 16 innings this season.
“Everything Jesse throws moves, which is why people have a tough time squaring up against him,” Chevalier said. “He usually gets a lot of soft flyouts and groundouts. For not having been on the mound in a game in 2½ weeks I can’t say enough about the way he came out early.
“We talk about putting a zero on the board in the top of the first and coming in and scoring runs. That’s what we did, and it felt like after the first inning we were in command and it all started with Jesse on the mound.”
Hunter Law, a junior, and his older brother, senior Forrest Law, each doubled and singled to pace Foxcroft’s nine-hit attack, whlle leadoff batter Caleb Richard singled twice and scored twice and Kaleb Smith singled, walked twice and scored twice.
“It is hard to come off a 10-day layoff, but coming out against a good team that had just beat John Bapst and MDI we knew we had to be aggressive,” said Hunter Law. “We had some good practices and just transitioned that over to the game.”
Hunter Law — who stepped to the plate in the first inning initially thinking about dropping down a sacrifice bunt with two on and nobody out — instead lined a two-run double to the left-center field gap. And while he was cut down at third trying for a triple on the play, Cameron Fadley followed with a double to the fence in left-center and scored on a sharp single past third base by Smith to give Foxcroft a quick 3-0 lead.
Richard hit a one-out single in the bottom of the second, advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Old Town starter Cam Archer and scored when Hunter Law took a high, outside fastball to the opposite field for a two-out, RBI single to extend the Ponies’ lead to 4-0.
“I’m typically not a good away hitter, but I’ve been working on it in practice, coach has been helping me with it and I just stepped into the pitch and drove it into right,” said Law.
Foxcroft scored three more runs in the third, with Forrest Law contributing a double and Richard adding an RBI single to a rally that also included an Old Town error.
The third of the Law brothers, sophomore Brooks Law, walked and came around to score on a wild pitch in the Foxcroft fifth, and Luke Olson singled home Smith with two out in the sixth for the Ponies’ final run.