Collin Peckham threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings for Hampden Academy in the baseball team’s season opener at home against Skowhegan and helped lead the Broncos to a 5-0 victory on Tuesday afternoon.
Peckham twice let a pair of Skowhegan runners on base in the second and fifth innings, but good defense and composed pitching helped the junior escape unscathed.
“I knew my fastball was on and was feeling confident with it,” Peckham said. “I knew where I had to throw it and so I just did it. I had like two or three strikeouts so the defense behind me helped me a lot.”
Peckham struck out five Skowhegan batters.
“Collin is a pitcher,” Hampden coach Jon Perry said. “He’s solid, he battles, he’s a competitor, he has so much poise. He’s got command over three pitchers, a captain and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
After both teams left a base runner on in the first but ended their frames scoreless, Hampden was able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second.
Logan Burns singled to begin the second, followed by a bunt single from Zach McLaughlin. With runners on first and second, Jose Lorenzo reached on an infield single to load the bases.
Ryan Adams reached on an error that scored Burns, followed two batters later by TJ Llerna reaching on another error that was able to plate McLaughlin and give Hampden an early 2-0 advantage.
In the third, Kayson Wildman reached on an error as the leadoff batter. He was followed by Gavin Munyoc two batters later, who scored Wildman via a single. Burns singled and scored Munyoc to give Hampden a 4-0 lead after three innings.
“That helped a lot,” Peckham said of the early run support. “Last year in these early games we were winning 2-1, 1-0 and it was stressful, so this early run support helped me keep my composure and do what I had to do.”
In the fourth inning, Skowhegan’s Hunter McEwen doubled into left field and reached third on a ground out, but Peckham and the Broncos were able to strand McEwen at third with the help of an inning-ending diving catch by Munyoc. In the fifth, Peckham struck out the first two batters before allowing two batters to reach base. A routine groundout ended the frame.
Munyoc, a freshman, kicked off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and three batters later scored his second run of the game on a wild pitch that increased Hampden’s lead to 5-0.
Skowhegan’s starter Jackson Quinn pitched five innings, allowing five runs and striking out five batters, as well.
“I like how we got quality at-bats, got the pitch count up,” Perry said. “I told the kids that we have to put the ball in play on 3-2 counts and good things happen and [Skowhegan] made miscues on defense but that happens when you can put the ball in play.”
Skowhegan notched five total hits with Quinn reaching on a hit and a walk on Tuesday.
Peckham led Hampden with two singles.
“Our hitting is a lot better than last year so I think if we keep playing like this we could be a top team in the league,” Peckham said.