WALDOBORO, Maine — A year of firsts for Oceanside High School continued Wednesday afternoon as the brand-new Mariners’ baseball team earned its inaugural victory.
Coach Don Shields’ club scored seven runs in the top of the second inning, then rode the pitching of Dylan Maloney and Taylor Overlock and an errorless defense to a season-opening 13-3, five-inning win over Medomak Valley.
“It’s a good start to the season, especially since Medomak is going to be a rival down the road,” said Maloney, a senior righthander who spent his first three years at Georges Valley of Thomaston before that school merged with Rockland last summer to form Oceanside. “It’s good to make a big splash in our first game and let everyone in the [Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference] know that we’re here to win games this year.”
Maloney pitched into the fifth inning, scattering eight hits while striking out two batters and walking three before giving way to Overlock, who earned a save of sorts by stranding a Medomak Valley runner who could have cut the Panthers’ deficit to nine runs and kept the game going had he scored from second base.
“Dylan’s not going to go out and strike out 10 or 12 batters in a game, but he pitches to contact, he’s smart and he doesn’t walk a lot of guys, so he’s not going to get himself in trouble that way,” said Shields. “I thought even when he missed today he was right around the plate.”
The Oceanside pitchers were supported by a nine-hit attack that included two singles each from freshman Zac Roman and Dan Hendricks and two-run doubles by Drew Townsend and Billy Joyce in the top of the fifth that put the Mariners over the top.
“Everybody did their job today one through nine,” said Joyce, a senior left fielder. “We all participated, we all gave it our all and we played as a team today and that’s what counts.”
And while Oceanside’s defense did not make a mistake, the Mariners capitalized on three Medomak Valley errors to go with singles by Seth Batty — the first base hit in Oceanside history — and Hendricks and four walks to build a 7-0 lead against Panthers’ starter Isaac Greenrose in the top of the second.
“The biggest thing with the BBCOR bats [being used in high school baseball for the first time this year in an effort to reduce the speed of the ball upon impact] is that if you can’t field the ball in the infield you’re going to be hurt by it,” said Shields. “There are going to be more plays for infielders, so we’ve taken the philosophy that we have to be solid in the infield and we can’t give up extra outs.
“And then they made three errors in that inning and we were able to take advantage.”
Medomak Valley loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second on a leadoff single by Michael Kee and infield hits by Ryan Merrifield and Michah Williamson, but Maloney induced Cody Ames to pop out to catcher J.T. Tobin in foul territory and then got Brandon Soper to ground out to Townsend at third base to end the inning.
Roman grounded a one-out single up the middle in the Oceanside third and scored on Hendricks’ two-out single to make it an 8-1 game, but Alex Greenrose got that run back for Medomak Valley in the bottom of the inning as he walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Isaac Greenrose’s single.
Oceanside extended its lead to 13-2 with a five-run uprising in the top of the fifth that featured two-run doubles off the left-field fence by both Townsend and Joyce after an RBI single to right by leadoff batter Anthony Campagnoli.
Medomak Valley tried to extend the game in the bottom of the fifth as Alex Greenrose reached on an infield single, stole second and went to third on twin brother Isaac’s single to center.
Overlock then came on in relief and retired all three batters he faced, though Alex Greenrose did score the game’s final run, a sacrifice by Ryan Ripley.
Isaac Greenrose and Kee each had two singles for Medomak Valley.