Patriots remain in contention with walk-off win

15 years ago
    Hunter Caron crushed a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Presque Isle Patriots to a 5-4 victory over the Orono Twins Thursday under the lights at Presque Isle High School’s James E. Dyer Field.
The victory improved the Patriots’ record at the time to 4-8 while the Twins fell to 2-9 on the season.  Presque Isle went on to lose both games of a doubleheader against Steamboat Petroleum at Searsport Saturday, 9-1 and 10-9, before defeating Hampden in another road game Sunday, 8-2.         The Patriots were at 5-10 heading into yesterday’s crucial home game against Motor City of Bangor.
On Thursday, both teams saw great pitching out of their starters as Matt Chasse of Presque Isle threw the first six innings and gave up three runs, all earned, on only six hits while walking four and striking out four. Pat Thibodeau came in for the Patriots in the seventh, giving up an unearned run on one hit to earn the win.
Zac Kochis pitched all seven innings for the visiting Twins and allowed five runs, three of them earned, on six hits. He struck out six and walked five.
Orono broke through in the first as Casey Estes led off with a base hit, stole second and advanced to third when Dan LeBreton singled. Estes came across when Lebreton was caught in a rundown after leaning too far from first. He avoiding being tagged out until the run scored to give Orono a 1-0 lead.
Presque Isle tied the score in the bottom of the third when Manny Martinez reached second on an error. He scored on Pat Thibodeau’s RBI single.
Orono quickly responded in the top of the fourth to take the lead back when Ben Perry hit his third home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left field fence.
The resilient Patriots hung in there, surviving a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fifth by the Twins, who left all three runners stranded. The Patriots then tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Wilder York earned a base on balls and Thibodeau singled.
The game was then delayed for almost 10 minutes due to a problem with the lights on the field, but after it was corrected, both baserunners advanced on a wild pitch from Kochis. Ted Walker then singled home York. Logan McLaughlin recorded an RBI, driving in Thibodeau.
Orono threatened again in the top of the sixth, but stranded two more baserunners, this time leaving them at second and third.
The seventh inning started with the only pitching change of the game as Thibodeau came on in relief of Chasse. The lefty struck out the first batter he faced, but then give up a single to Dan Lebreton, who would end up 3 for 4 on the day. Lebreton advanced to second on a passed ball and to third when Thibodeau would force a ground ball to second for the second out. Lebreton then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Thibodeau concluded that half of the inning with his second strikeout.
Feisty to the end, the Patriots came out swinging in the bottom of the seventh. Thibodeau got his third single of the day (finishing 3 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored) when he took a 3-1 pitch right up the middle. Next up, Hunter Caron.
“I was just looking for a fast ball to hit is all,” explained Caron, who got just that and took the 0-1 pitch deep to left center field. “It felt real good when it left the bat.”
The home run was Caron’s second in as many games and the win keeps the Patriots in playoff contention.
“This is a very good win for us,” Coach Rich Parsons said. “We needed to win this one to keep in the hunt. We need to take this win and build upon it now.”
The Patriots lost two to the Waldo-based Steamboat Petroleum team Saturday.
PI led 9-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh of game two, but squandered it by surrendering six runs. Thibodeau homered, singled and drove in three runs, while Kasey Brewer added three hits and Walker and Mitch Folsom added two each.
Four different pitchers combined on a six-hitter as Steamboat Petroleum prevailed in game one, 9-1. Chasse homered, while Thibodeau and Caron contributed two hits each for Presque Isle.
Caron homered and singled Sunday, driving in three runs as the Patriots upended Hampden, 8-2.
Kasey Brewer hit a two-run double and Dan Brewer had two hits and an RBI for the winners.