BUCKSPORT, Maine — The future looks bright for the Bucksport baseball program, with seven sophomores among its starters for Wednesday afternoon’s battle against George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill.
The present looks pretty promising, too, as the Golden Bucks scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 7-6 victory and remain atop the Eastern Maine Class C Heal point ratings.
Bucksport is now 6-1 after securing its fifth consecutive victory since a 2-0 loss to Class B Mount Desert Island. George Stevens, which entered the contest ranked third in Eastern C, is 4-2.
“Except for our MDI game I didn’t know how good we were, and I knew this would be a good test,” said Bucksport coach Mike Cowing. “It was, and I loved how the kids battled back. I worry about them and their mental toughness because they’re young, but they’re showing more and more of it.”
George Stevens scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to snap a 4-4 tie as the Eagles combined a leadoff double by Cooper Smallidge, two Bucksport errors, a single by Peter Howell and a sacrifice fly by Finn McMahon-Allwine to take their third lead of the contest.
But Bucksport mounted the deciding counterattack in the bottom of the inning. Bailey Graychase drew a leadoff walk and Josh Gray reached on an error. Graychase scored on Jack Cyr’s sacrifice to shallow right field after a collision at the plate knocked the throw home out of GSA catcher Ben Eley’s glove.
Carter DeRedin followed with an RBI double to deep left, and he scored what proved to be the winning run when cleanup hitter Gabe Stearns singled to left.
“I’ve been in a slump lately, I haven’t been hitting the ball like last season,” said DeRedin, one of Bucksport’s starting sophomores. “I told myself we needed it, the team needed it, and I saw the pitch right down the middle. It was a curveball, I had to sit back on it and got it on the sweet spot.”
Mariner Cheney singled up the middle to open the George Stevens seventh, but when the Eagles missed a sacrifice bunt attempt, DeRedin, the Bucksport catcher, picked Cheney off first base.
It was the third GSA runner thrown out on the basepaths during the game by DeRedin.
“[Assistant coach] Rob [Wadleigh] gives me signs and he gave it high because he saw the bunt coming because they did it three other times,” said DeRedin. “So when it came in high, the runner didn’t go, but it left him off the base quite a few feet.”
Gavin Rogers followed with a single, but Stearns retired the next two batters on groundouts to earn the win in relief of senior starter J.C. Comtois.
George Stevens outhit Bucksport 12-7, with Smallidge contributing a double and a single for the Eagles while McMahon-Allwine, Eley and Anthony Bianco added two singles each.
DeRedin doubled and singled for Bucksport, while Cyr had two singles and two RBIs and Stearns also drove home two runs.
McMahon-Allwine gave GSA a 1-0 lead in the top of the first by hitting a leadoff double to right-center and scoring on two groundouts. Bucksport scored twice in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Stearns and when DeRedin stole home on the back end of a double steal with Asher Bowden.
George Stevens took a 4-2 lead with three runs in the top of the third after loading the bases with no one out. Two came home when a fielder’s choice grounder by Cheney was misplayed, and the third was delivered by Smallidge’s one-out single up the middle.
Bucksport added single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings to forge a 2-2 tie. A sacrifice fly by Comtois plated Stearns in the third, and Cyr’s one-out double to left-center drove home Graychase an inning later.
GSA starter Will Ricker worked five-plus innings on the mound, allowing four hits and six runs — one earned — while striking out five batters and walking five.