Sanford, Maine - The Sanford Mainers used a four run third to take a five run lead en route to a 17-5 win over the Vermont Mountaineers in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action on Saturday night. The loss was the fourth straight for Vermont (17-20) as they split the season series with their Eastern Division rival.
The Mountaineers did get the scoring started however taking a 1-0 lead on a Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anselm) home run. Sanford would tie it up the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly from Jordan Betts. Vermont took another one run lead in the top of the second as Brett Johnson (Little Elm, Texas/TCU) doubled to begin the frame before stealing third and scoring on an RBI ground out from Ryan Karl (Towaco, N.J./Louisville).
Andrew LeBlanc (Unionville, Conn./Clark) struggled in his first start of the summer and couldn't hold the 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the second he allowed the first two Mainers to reach before a sacrifice fly from Ino Patron tied the game at 2-2. Jordan Hagel then followed by hitting a hard hit ball that popped out of the glove of Johnson and into left field bringing in another run and giving Sanford (14-22) a lead they would not relinquish.
They would add four more in the third inning eventually chasing LeBlanc with two outs a runner on. Walker Stadler would then enter for Vermont and finish the inning while also pitching a scoreless fourth.
Trailing 7-2 in the fifth, the Mountaineers manufactured a run with two outs as Aaron Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern) singled and then proceeded to swipe second and third before scoring on an Austin Green (San Diego, Calif./San Diego) RBI single. An error from Mainers second baseman Cam Young loaded the bases with two outs but pitcher Steven Rice forced a weak grounder off the bat of Johnson to get out of the jam.
The Mainers would then tack on another run in the fifth off of Stadler (Glenview, Ill/Indiana) before putting two on with nobody out in the sixth. A couple wild pitches brought home one run to take a 9-3 advantage. Stadler was able to strike out Paul Kronenfeld before giving up an RBI single to Jose Torralba which ended his day. Luke Crocker would come on in relief allowing one inherited runner to score before ending the inning.
The Mountaineers again attempted to get the offense going in the seventh off new pitcher Nate Jones as Barbosa led off with a single and stole second. He would then score as Green singled him home for his second RBI of the day. Jones would retire the next two batters in order as Vermont left a total of twelve men on base in the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, leading 11-3, Sanford woul add to their lead on a sacrifice fly before scoring five more in the eighth forcing another pitching change. Bill Brooks (Montpelier, Vt./Endicott) would coe on with two outs and two on allowing an inherited runner to score before finishing the inning.
Trailing 17-4 going into the ninth, Vermont attempted to get back on the board putting two on with one out. Greg Partyka (Bartlett, Ill/Bradley) was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Johnson brought in a run on an RBI fielders choice.
LeBlanc (0-1) took the loss giving up seven runs on seven hits in just two and two thirds innings. Rice (2-2) got the win going six strong innings allowing just three runs on nine hits while striking out four.
Vermont returns to action on Sunday when they travel to Newport, Rhode Island to take on the Gulls. All game action can be heard live on ESPN 1240, WSKI and online at www.thevermontmountaineers.com
Game Notes: Kelly's homer gives him 41 RBI on the year as his next will tie the NECBL single season record set by Effrey Valdez in 2010...Barbosa's three steals give him 19 on the season and put him six back of the Mountaineers single season record...The team as a whole stole four bags giving them 106 on the season.