ELLSWORTH, Maine – One of the signs of a good baseball team is its ability to score two-out runs.
The second-seeded Ellsworth High School Eagles scored eight two-out runs en route to a 12-2 win over No. 10 Rockland in their Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal Thursday.
The game was called in the bottom of the fifth due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Ellsworth, 14-3, will entertain No. 3 Waterville, 15-3, in Saturday’s semifinal. Rockland wound up 10-8.
The Eagles pounded out 12 hits with Brad Folmer and Jordan Carter collecting three apiece. Folmer had a triple among his hits and had two RBIs and Carter knocked in one run.
“We had a good week all week,” explained Folmer. “We had a scrimmage against GSA [Class C top seed George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill] and hit the ball [well] there. Every practice we kept hitting the ball good and it carried over.”
The Eagles erupted for six, second-inning runs to erase a 2-1 deficit. Five of the runs were scored with two outs and were unearned.
Ross Saunders drew a one-out walk off hard-throwing Dylan Meklin and Garrett Kaspala lined a single to center. The lefthanded-hitting Folmer followed by dropping a soft pop fly single into left field to score Saunders and tie the game.
“[Meklin] threw me a curve and definitely fooled me. He’s a good pitcher. I stepped out but then I saw it curving so I stepped back in and just stuck my bat out and blooped it right in,” said Folmer.
Pat Kelley lined to second and Kaspala came a whisker away from being doubled up at second when second baseman Andy Murphy flipped to shortstop Lucas Morrill.
Mickey Manning reached on an infield error that produced the go-ahead run. A double steal plated another run before Adam Kaspala, Garrett’s twin brother, ripped a two-run opposite-field triple to left center.
“It was a fastball right over the heart of the plate, right where I like it,” said Kaspala, who scored on a passed ball.
Ellsworth scored two more off reliever Morrill in the third on Seth Cote’s infield single, a walk, Folmer’s scorching RBI single off second baseman Murphy’s body and an ensuing outfield throwing error.
Saunders and Garrett Kaspala singled home fourth-inning runs to make it 11-2 and Adam Kaspala’s sacrifice fly in the fifth ended it.
The undefeated Kelley went three innings for his fifth win and 21st of his career. He gave up six hits and a walk but allowed just two runs.
“They’re a real good hitting team. They hit me hard, I’ll admit that. I just tried to mix my pitches up to keep them off balance,” said Kelley.
Ellsworth coach Dana Smith lifted Kelley to keep him eligible to pitch on Saturday.
Andy Hodge pitched two impressive relief innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.
Garrett Kaspala had two hits while his twin brother Adam drove in three runs.
Rockland’s Nick Beal doubled home both Rockland runs and also singled. In two playoff games, he reached base in all five plate appearances: four hits and a hit-by-pitch.
Nick Little had two singles for Rockland.
“We didn’t hit the ball the way we should have and we didn’t throw strikes and execute the fundamentals,” said Rockland coach Brian Plourde. “But Ellsworth did well.”