By Tris Wykes
WEST CANAAN – Two games and two late rallies, but also two Lebanon High baseball victories over Mascoma in three days. Wednesday, the visiting Raiders surrendered four runs during the Royals’ final at-bat before hanging on for a 7-5 triumph.
Mascoma scored the final three runs Monday during a 9-7 loss at Lebanon in the teams’ season opener. Wednesday’s tilt appeared tied for a moment when the Royals’ Alex Shareiko cranked a long ball down the left field line with two runners on base and his team down three runs in the seventh inning. The blast, however, curved foul.
“Another nail-biter,” said fourth-year Mascoma coach Dave Isom. “It’s nice to see that we still have life late in games and we’re not letting teams close us out easily.”
The Royals received early help when Lebanon starting pitcher Jon Carrier walked the first three batters. A strikeout and two ground outs ended that threat with only one run scoring, however, and the hosts eventually left 12 runners on base.
“That’s something we’re going to have to work on,” Isom said. “That’s a lot of runs out there.”
Carrier settled down after the first frame, working four more and allowing only one run and four hits. The senior righthander struck out eight Royals and walked one, building on a pitching career that died out in middle school but which has been resurrected during summer competition the last few years.
“Jon sometimes gets off to a slow start but he usually cleans it up,” said first-year Lebanon coach Chauncey Wood, whose team faces Stevens twice next week. “But he’s a real cornerstone for our pitching staff this year and we trust him. He’s got great velocity and seemed to have pretty decent movement today.”
Carrier said his troubles came from recently fiddling with his pitching motion. In an attempt to add a slide step to his repertoire and use the resulting quick delivery to keep runners honest, he instead threw off his control. Catcher Calvin Bates urged Carrier to forget about the new stuff and resume his old ways for the afternoon.
“I didn’t have any mobility,” said Carrier, who had two singles as a hitter. “The most important thing is to throw strikes.”
Carrier said he failed to do that two years ago as a sophomore, the last time a high school season occurred. Instead, he spent time with local American Legion coaches Travis Pelletier and Rob Woodward and more recently, current Lebanon assistant Ray Royce. If the senior, who’s also a football lineman, can be a reliable starter along with junior Braeden Falzarano, that will go a long way towards a successful season.
“We thought we had today’s game in the bag,” Carrier said. “We’re going to have other games where it might seem that way for either team in the second or third inning and we have to finish them out.”
Lebanon, which led, 3-1, after an inning and 7-1 after two panels, had seven hits, including a Sebastian Yates double and two Hewett singles. Aldrich and Zach Howland each had a single. Aidan Yates threw the Raiders’ last two innings.
Mascoma starting pitcher Elyas Jenkins allowed seven hits and seven runs in six innings and was relieved by Michael Evans for the seventh. Jenkins struck out five Raiders, walked three and hit Bates in the back. Shareiko and Zach Thompson each had two singles.
Notes: Isom coached the Royals JV for two seasons before taking on the varsity job. He also helped coach Mascoma football for a season and works in information technology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center… Mascoma had only 11 players for the game. One was on spring break and the other was at driver’s education, Isom said. He’s heard the Indian River Middle School has 24 players this spring and is hopeful he’ll have enough competitors next season to reinstate the Royals’ JV squad… Lebanon outfielder Cole Fabry is likely out for the season after his jaw was broken in two places by an airborne ball during a practice last week… Wood started Zach Aldrich in left field and Bennett Hewett in right field. Both are freshmen. Sophomore Francis Calandrella was a late insertion at shortstop. “I look at how guys play; I don’t look at their age,” the coach said… Mascoma is scheduled to play Hanover twice next week.
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