Franklin Countys First News

Spruce Baseball: Phoenix withstand Lions’ roar, slide past Belfast 6-4

This article was made possible through the generosity of Franklin Savings Bank.

LIVERMORE FALLS - On a balmy Wednesday Spruce Mountain High School baseball (6-4) hosted Belfast High School (5-6) in what turned out to be a back and forth base-stealing battle. Both schools fielded starting pitchers that worked with heavy heat that complemented their off-speed pitches with movement.

The Phoenix in the early innings found themselves on the wrong end of a few miscues in the field. How the team handled their uphill battle was what impressed Head Coach Brian Dube.

"We got behind early, but came back strong in what was a good pitching game for us," Dube said.

Spruce Mountain's Austin Gilboe delivering a filthy pitch early in the action.

The second inning was when the strong come back Dube mentioned began. A 2-2 tie was broken by a wild pitch from Belfast's flame thrower, Zach Dyer, that plated Spruce's runner at third. The Phoenix didn't look back after gaining a 3-2 lead.

The third inning saw all six batters for both squads walk to the plate without success. Dyer continued to uncork pop in his pitches, while counterpart Austin Gilboe of Spruce befuddled batters. The arms got the better of the bats in the third, with zero base runners allowed.

Noah Preble of Spruce snags a one hopper in centerfield.

The Phoenix pitcher continued to deal in the forth. Gilboe allowed just a single, which turned into a stranded runner at third after stealing two bags. The bottom of the forth was when the Phoenix struck next. After Phoenix Shane Pelletier walked with one out, he showed sizzling speed to steal second. A single from teammate Nick Lombardi brought Pelletier to plate, 4-2 Phoenix.

Phoenix Nick Lombardi heads into second base with a steal ahead of the throw.

One out from his friends in the field was all Spruce's starter needed in the fifth. Gilboe finished off the side with back to back strikeouts to continue to cage the Lions' offense. Dyer for Belfast regained some of his control in the bottom of the frame, getting three consecutive ground outs by Spruce batters.

The top of the sixth went much like the previous four for the reborn Phoenix. Steady defense behind Gilboe recorded a ground out to the infield followed by a line out in left. Spruce's starting pitcher finished his evening with one final strikeout. The bottom of the sixth was again bountiful for the Spruce sluggers. Singles and steals highlighted a half-inning that earned the Phoenix two more runs, pushing their lead 6-2.

Phoenix Devan Pomeroy powers a lead-off line drive single in the sixth.

Jordan Daigle replaced Gilboe on the mound to close out the Lions. Daigle recorded two quick outs, including a fantastic diving snag by centerfielder Noah Preble. The Lions would have one more roar before the night was over. Belfast bats came alive in their final out, when they strung together a few singles. Plating two runs was the best Belfast could come up with, finally falling 6-4 to Spruce at home.

Spruce Mountain High School's varsity baseball will visit Maine Central Institute for their next game on Friday, May 19.

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