Monmouth Academy 11 Waynflete/NYA 2
MA- 113 501 0- 11 15 0
W/NYA- 010 100 0- 2 4 0
S. Calder grounded out, Fletcher scored.
Oliveira scored on wild pitch.
Kullman singled to left, Pecora scored.
O’Connell singled to left, M. Calder scored. Oliveira singled to left, Godbout scored. Palleschi doubled to left-center, Oliveira scored.
S. Calder singled to center, Fletcher scored. Harmon singled to center, M. Calder scored. Harding singled to right, S. Calder scored. Palleschi singled to left, Harmon and Harding scored.
C. St. Hilaire scored on wild pitch.
Fletcher singled to center, Harding scored.
MA- Palleschi 3, M. Calder, Fletcher, Harding, Oliveira
MA- Oliveira 3, M. Calder, Fletcher, Harding 2, S. Calder, Godbout
W/NYA- Pecora, C. St. Hilaire
MA- Palleschi 3, S. Calder 2, Fletcher, Harding, Harmon, O’Connell, Oliveira
MA- Palleschi 2, M. Calder
MA- Godbout, Harding, McKenney, Oliveira, Palleschi
Left on base:
Palleschi, Oliveira (6) and M. Calder; Smith, C. S. Hilaire (4) and C. St. Hilaire, Slocumb (4).
Palleschi (W) 5 IP 3 H 2 R 2 ER 3 BB 3 K 2 WP 2 HBP
Oliveira 2 IP 1 H 0 R 1 BB 2 K
Smith (L) 3.1 IP 7 H 7 R 7 ER 4 BB 2 K 1 WP 1 HBP
C. St. Hilaire 3.2 IP 8 H 4 R 4 ER 2 BB 2 K 2 Balks
PORTLAND—The Waynflete/NYA co-op baseball team has established itself as a consistent contender.
And three days after a palpitating preliminary round playoff win, the squad hoped to keep the good times rolling when Monmouth Academy paid a visit to Fore River Fields Thursday afternoon.
But unfortunately for the home team, the Mustangs brought their booming bats with them and that ushered in the end of Waynflete/NYA’s season.
Monmouth Academy racked up 15 hits, took the lead for good in the first inning, then broke the game open with three runs in the third and five more in the fourth and went on to an 11-2 victory.
The Mustangs improved to 14-4, will either visit top-ranked Lisbon (17-0) or host No. 8 Oak Hill (11-6) in Saturday’s semifinal round and in the process, ended Waynflete/NYA’s fine campaign at 13-5.
“(Monmouth) came out and had a plan and hit the ball around,” said Waynflete/NYA coach Paul Grazia. “They made more plays than us and it went from there. They’re definitely a good team.”
End of the line
Coming off a 12-6 campaign a year ago, which ended with a tough one-run loss to Lisbon in Class C South quarterfinals, Waynflete/NYA has remained a model co-op program this spring, utilizing multiple players from both schools to produce positive results.
Waynflete/NYA started with a loss at Maranacook, then won four straight. After a loss at St. Dom’s, the squad beat Old Orchard Beach and Maranacook and after falling at Sacopee Valley, it won six straight before losing at home to Sacopee Valley in the regular season finale.
Waynflete/NYA then escaped No. 13 Old Orchard Beach, 8-7 (in eight-innings), in a thrilling preliminary round game Monday.
The Mustangs, meanwhile, won their first five games and later enjoyed a six-game win streak. Monmouth Academy had no trouble in its prelim, blanking No. 12 Madison (10-0, in six-innings).
Waynflete/NYA and Monmouth Academy did not play this year. Waynflete had lost two prior playoff meetings with the Mustangs, while NYA was 2-1 all-time.
For much of Thursday, rain appeared likely to postpone the game, but it ceased early in the afternoon and after yeoman’s work from the grounds crew, the field was deemed playable.
On what proved to be a pleasant late-afternoon/early-evening (66 degrees at first pitch), Monmouth Academy showed up with its hitting shoes on and quickly got the jump against Waynflete/NYA senior pitcher Payton Smith.
Leadoff hitter Hayden Fletcher, the shortstop, got things started by grounding a single into rightfield. First baseman Matt Marquis then drew a walk on four pitches and catcher Manny Calder battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk to load the bases. Designated hitter Sam Calder then grounded into a short-to-second force out and Fletcher came home with the game’s first run. Payton then got rightfielder Luke Harmon to pop out to short and Calder was thrown out trying to steal, keeping the score 1-0.
Waynflete/NYA hit the ball hard in the bottom of the inning against Mustangs starter Kyle Palleschi, but junior shortstop Daxton St. Hilaire’s blast to center was caught by Hunter Frost, junior rightfielder Lincoln Smith lined out to center and sophomore third baseman Connor Wolverton grounded out to second to retire the side.
In the top of the second, Payton Smith got second baseman Carter O’Connell to line out to short on the first pitch, but third baseman Issac Oliveira followed with a single to right and he moved to third when Palleschi doubled to right-center. Smith then threw a wild pitch and Oliveira came home to make it 2-0. Leftfielder Seth McKenney struck out swinging, but Fletcher walked before Marquis lined to right-center, where senior centerfielder Liam Slocumb made a highlight-reel running, diving catch to retire the side.
Waynflete/NYA then rode that momentum and got on the board in the bottom half.
Junior catcher Cooper St. Hilaire grounded out to third, but junior second baseman Jack Byrnes drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch and after he was erased on a grounder to first off the bat of junior leftfielder Nolan Pecora, Pecora stole second and came around to score on an RBI single from freshman first baseman Dylan Kullman. Kullman moved up on a wild pitch and senior designated hitter Danny Noone drew a walk, but Palleschi got Slocumb to pop to short to keep the score 2-1.
Monmouth Academy then produced some two-out magic in the top of the third.
After Manny Calder walked to start the frame, Sam Calder lined out to shortstop and Harmon grounded out slowly to second with Manny Calder moving up to second. That brought up O’Connell, who lined a single down the leftfield line to score Calder. O’Connell was injured on the play and Jake Godbout came on to replace him. Godbout then stole second and scored when Olvieira singled to left. Oliveira moved up to second on the throw and he scored as well when Palleschi helped himself with an RBI double. Palleschi stole third before Smith fanned McKenney on a 3-2 pitch, but the Mustangs were now up, 5-1.
Waynflete/NYA couldn’t answer in the bottom half, as Daxton St. Hilaire bounced out to second, Lincoln Smith grounded back to the mound and Wolverton popped out to short.
The Mustangs then ended any remaining doubt in the top of the fourth with a five-spot.
Fletcher started the uprising by being hit by a pitch. Marquis then flew out to center, but Manny Calder ripped a double on a sharp liner past Daxton St. Hilaire at short which rolled all the way to the wall, putting runners at second and third and ending Payton Smith’s day on the mound.
Cooper St. Hilaire came on to pitch with Smith going to center and Slocumb coming in to catch.
Sam Calder greeted St. Hilaire with a blooper to center which fell in to drive home a run. Harmon followed with a single to center on the first pitch he saw to drive in another run. After a balk moved the runners up, Owen Harding singled to right to make it 8-1. Harding stole second to put two runners in scoring position and after Oliveira hit a ground ball that resulted in an out at the plate, Oliveira stole second before Palleschi singled through the hole to score two more runs. Palleschi took second on the throw and moved to third on another balk and after McKenney and Fletcher drew walks to reload the bases, Marquis popped out to short to finally end the frame, but not before Monmouth Academy had extended its advantage to 10-1.
To its credit, Waynflete/NYA continued to battle and was rewarded by scoring a run in the bottom half.
Palleschi hit Cooper St. Hilaire with a pitch to start the frame, then Byrnes blooped a single to left before Pecora was also hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kullman struck out swinging, but a wild pitch scored Cooper St. Hilaire and put runners at second and third. After Noone walked on a 3-2 pitch, the bases were loaded again, but Byrnes was out at home when he tried to score on a wild pitch and Slocumb lined out to short, keeping the score 10-2.
The Mustangs went quietly in the top of the fifth, as Manny Calder and Sam Calder both popped to short an Harmon chased the first pitch he saw and bounced out to first.
In the bottom half, Palleschi struck out Daxton St. Hilaire on a 3-2 pitch, caught Lincoln Smith looking at strike three, then, after Wolverton singled to right on a 3-2 pitch, Cooper St. Hilaire ended the frame by hitting a deep fly ball to left which was caught.
Monmouth Academy returned to its scoring ways in the top of the sixth.
Harding led off with a single past short and after pinch-hitter Liam Burgess struck out looking and Palleschi flew out to deep center, McKenney singled to left, then Fletcher delivered an RBI single to center. Marquis struck out, but the Mustangs were ahead, 11-2.
In the bottom half, Oliveira came on in relief of Palleschi and got Byrnes to fly out to deep left, Pecora to fly out to left and after Kullman singled and Noone walked, he got Slocumb to bounce out on a bang-bang play to second to retire the side.
Manny Calder led off the top of the seventh with a single up the middle, but Frost lined out to second, Harmon grounded into a shortstop-to-second force out and Harding lined out to center for the third out.
Waynflete/NYA had one final chance to rally, but instead, it would go quietly, as Daxton St. Hilaire grounded out to second, Lincoln Smith watched strike three and Wolverton struck out to end Monmouth Academy’s 11-2 victory.
“We had some chances,” said Grazia. “Like we did all year, the team never gave up. We had three walk-off wins this year and I think we were one play away from getting back into it and getting momentum back.”
Waynflete/NYA will graduate Noone, Slocumb and Payton Smith, but will return everyone else, with some newcomers looking to make a mark as well.
That means the squad should be primed to make another deep playoff run in 2023.
“We’ve really turned the corner the last couple years,” said Grazia. “We’ve had two of our best years in Class C ever. It’s been revitalizing for the program to be competitive. We’ve had a lot of really talented pitchers. Our offense has been hit-or-miss at times, but pitching and defense has carried us. It’s always been an emphasis of this program and it’s great to see all that hard work show up.
“We’ll have a lot of younger talented players who will get an opportunity to play. We return a lot and I really hope we can get back here. We want to learn from this experience to take the next step next year. I’m very excited about where we’re heading.”