Wildcats upset Tigers in baseball prelim

7 years ago

GARDINER, Maine — The Presque Isle Wildcats’ baseball team pulled off a difficult feat Monday by winning a road playoff game. 

The 10th-seeded Wildcats improved to 9-8 on the season and earned a date with No. 2 Hermon in the Class B North quarterfinals after the 6-3 victory over Gardiner.

The game against the Hawks, who swept the Wildcats in a doubleheader at home by scores of 8-0 and 5-4 on May 27, will be played in Hermon at 4 p.m. Thursday.

PI was able to plate five of its runs off Tiger starting pitcher Hunter Chasse, who went the first five innings.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the third with a two-out rally, which began with a walk drawn by Jonah Hudson. Torey Levesque singled and R.J. Gross reached on an error to load the bases before Nick Bartlett came through with an RBI single.

After Gardiner tied it in its half of the inning, the Wildcats tallied two more runs in the third. Following a leadoff single by Jacob Kinney and walks to Brad Kinney and Connor DeMerchant, Jonah Hudson lofted a fly ball to left field that was dropped, allowing both Kinneys to come across for a 3-1 advantage.

PI reached Chasse for two more runs in the fifth, making it 5-1. Bartlett reached on an error and stole second, then scored on Jacob Kinney’s run-scoring single. He then stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a groundout off the bat of Brad Kinney.

Gardiner scored twice in the bottom of the inning to get back to within two runs, but PI added an insurance tally in the seventh. Jacob Kinney again was part of the rally as he singled, while Brad Kinney doubled. DeMerchant then executed a suicide squeeze bunt that brought in Jacob Kinney.

“I was pleased that we were able to score in four of the innings and that we got good efforts up and down the batting order,” said PI coach Derrick Kinney.

“The field was wet, so we often had to go one base at a time, but I was impressed with the contact we made.”

Presque Isle batters struck out just four times the entire game.

Hudson pitched the first six innings and was very effective. He allowed just two earned runs and four hits during the outing, striking out two and walking only two.

“He stayed ahead in the count and his breaking pitches kept them off balance,” said coach Kinney.

J. Gross came on to pitch the seventh and set Gardiner down in order for the save.

The seventh-ranked Tigers finished with an 11-6 record.

Coach Kinney knows Hermon will be a difficult opponent, but looks forward to the challenge.

“They play really tough defense and have two very solid pitchers, so they will be tough to score against,” he said. “Fortunately, we have our best pitcher (Gross) on the mound so we should be competitive.”