HERMON, Maine — Momentum in high school baseball often stems from executing the fundamentals and taking advantage of opportunities. It is a formula that has served the surging Hermon Hawks throughout the spring and during their latest outing.
Sophomore Nick Guerette threw a four-hitter, the defense behind him did not commit an error and turned two double plays, and the offense capitalized on seven walks and five hit batsmen as coach Matt Kinney’s club scored an 8-1 Senior Day victory over Ellsworth in a Class B encounter Thursday.
The Hawks are 10-4 in their first season under Kinney, the former major league pitcher from Bangor who took over the Hermon coaching reins this spring after moving his family back to his home state from Arizona.
The kids have worked hard,” Kinney said. “When we’ve had a game here or there, where we didn’t play real well, they’ve rebounded real well and really made the adjustments they’ve needed to make.
“They’re young kids so when they do mistakes we address them and the next game they make the adjustments. That’s what keeps you from having a long slide.”
Guerette performed in a manner any professional pitcher would appreciate, requiring just 79 pitches to shut down an Ellsworth team that was 24 hours removed from ending Bucksport’s 11-game winning streak.
The right-hander had four strikeouts, two walks and hit a batter, with a pair of double plays turned by shortstop Tyler Beaton and second baseman Matt Leach, helping prevent the Eagles from mounting any sustained rallies.
“He was throwing a lot of strikes, and when you do that it keeps your defense in the game, that’s a byproduct of attacking the hitters,” Kinney said. “He’s throwing strikes and they’re making plays. I thought it was the best he’s thrown this year.”
Senior left fielder Tyler Thayer had two of the Hawks’ four hits and scored twice and stealing two bases from the leadoff position in the Hermon lineup.
“When he gets on base he seems to score,” Kinney said. “That’s how our team has gone this year, when the Tylers [Thayer and Beaton] are getting on base in the one and two slots, we have some quality hitters throughout the lineup and while their batting averages may not always show it they’ve done a good job with runners on base.”
Third baseman Gresley Langbein epitomized that opportunistic tendency, producing three RBIs from the No. 8 spot in the order with a groundout, a sacrifice fly and one of three bases-loaded hit by pitches issued by Ellsworth hurlers.
Catcher Conner Farmer added two RBIs for Hermon while Guerette scored twice and stole three bases. Cleanup batter Ben Wheeler also scored twice.
Ellsworth, 5-9, took a 1-0 lead in the third inning as Cooper Henderson walked, reached second on an opposite-field single by Aaron Malone and third on a fielder’s choice grounder by Steven Mahon before scoring on Conor Maguire’s two-out pop single to shallow right field.
Hermon tied the game without a hit in the fourth, with Langbein’s hit-by-pitch forcing home pinch-runner Hunter Clukey after three walks had loaded the bases with two outs.
The Hawks broke the game open an inning later with four runs off Ellsworth starter Hunter Cote.
Thayer hit a leadoff single to right — Hermon’s first hit of the game — and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Beaton. A walk to Guerette and a double steal were followed by a comebacker to the mound by Wheeler that Cote couldn’t handle, enabling Thayer to score the go-ahead run.
After a walk to Jeremy Beaulieu, Quentin Wood grounded a single through a drawn-in infield to produce a run, Farmer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Langbein followed with a sacrifice fly to center.
Hermon added four more runs in the fifth on just two hits, a leadoff single to left by Thayer and ground single to right by Wheeler. Two more hit batters, an outfield error on a sacrifice fly by Farmer and an RBI groundout by Langbein also contributed to the rally.
“The thing I like is that the kids are starting to believe they can win, and that’s a process when you haven’t done it for a little bit,” Kinney said. “At the beginning of the season I don’t think they expected to do as much as I thought they could, because I looked at the talent and saw what they had.
“Whatever happens, happens, but I think now they believe they can accomplish something.”