Hodgdon baseball team soars to prelim victory over East Grand

7 years ago

HODGDON, Maine — Homefield proved advantageous for the Hodgdon baseball team Monday evening as No. 5 Hodgdon (12-5 overall) scored early and often en route to a 17-7, six inning victory over No. 12 East Grand (5-9) in a Class D North preliminary playoff game.

Hodgdon now faces the winner of No. 4 Woodland vs. No. 13 Schenck in the quarterfinals Thursday. If Woodland is victorious, the Hawks will be on the road for Thursday’s quarterfinal. If the Wolverines pull off the upset, Hodgdon would host Schenck.

Hawk coach Seth Dorr said he felt his team’s best chances for a deep playoff run was to throw a number of different pitchers in Monday’s preliminary playoff game against East Grand. His theory was to have each player throw only a certain number of pitches, so he could save his entire pitching staff for the quarterfinals.

That plan was executed perfectly as the Hawks used five pitchers in Monday’s game, with each throwing no more than 39 pitches. In so doing, under the Maine Principal’s Association new pitch count rule, Dorr has his choice of who he wants to throw in the quarterfinal.

“We had a couple of contingencies depending on how the game played out,” he said. “When you have a prelim game, you want to manage your pitching staff and still make sure you have all of your arms available.”

The Hawks started the game with their ace, Ben Tuttle, on the mound against the Vikings. Tuttle was dominant in 2 1/3 innings as he yielded one run on one hit and two walks, while striking out six of the nine batters he faced.

Wyatt Foster, Josh Foster, Will Belyea and Andrew Tuttle each took their turns on the mound, combining to allow four hits and six walks, with six strikeouts.  

East Grand took an opposite approach and rode one hurler — Peter Apgar — for most of the game. Apgar threw 114 pitches over 5 and 2/3 innings, scattering 15 runs on 11 hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. Noah Farley closed the game for the Vikings, allowing two runs on three hits.

“Peter pitched a very good game for East Grand,” Dorr said. “He has been doing that all year for them. They have improved quite a bit as the season went on.”

Ben Tuttle led the Hawks offensively with three singles and three RBIs. Foster added two doubles and two RBIs, while Jordyn Merritt and Andrew Tuttle each had a double and single and Dillon Buzzell added two singles.

“This really means a lot to us,” Buzzell said. “We have fought hard all year long. When we are hitting the ball, we are tough to beat.”

For East Grand, Thomas Gilman tripled and was hit by a pitch. Apgar, Trevor Noyes, Sam Plummer and Matthew Potter each had a single. The Vikings threatened a couple of times in Monday’s game, closing the gap to just two runs in the top of the fourth inning (7-5). East Grand never led in the contest.

Dorr said he was happy that his seniors were able to secure the playoff win in their final year.

“I started coaching this group back in middle school and have come up through with them,” he said. “They are really excited to win, but I know they are not settled for just winning this prelim. We said all the way back in middle school that we wanted to put the school’s first baseball banner up in the gym.”