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Joyce Endee

MA baseball rebounds after tough I-L loss, beats Lin-Wood

Moultonboro Academy starter Tyler Jepson delivers a pitch in the fourth inning of the Panthers’ 14-4 victory over Lin-Wood on May 5. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2011
MOULTONBORO – Now that the Moultonboro Academy baseball season is finally starting to include some games, the Panthers are playing catch-up with the rest of the teams in the state.

MA had played just two games entering last week, and the squad split a pair to kick off the month of May. The week started with a tough 7-2 loss to rival Inter-Lakes on May 2 before the Panthers came back with a convincing 14-4 victory over Division IV foe Lin-Wood High School.

Moultonboro looked strong for most of the game against Inter-Lakes, as the Panthers fell behind 1-0 in the second but responded immediately in the bottom of the frame. Paul Dubuque led off the inning with a ground rule double and would come around to score on a Mitch Fleming RBI double to tie the game 1-1.

The teams stayed tied until the bottom of the fifth, when Adam Ryan, Duncan Richards and Hunter Jensen all singled to load the bases with no outs for MA. Patrick Cotter gave the home team its first lead of the game when he singled in Ryan for a 2-1 advantage. But while the inning had the potential to bust the game wide open, Inter-Lakes escaped the jam and put together a big inning at the plate in the sixth.

"We had the bases loaded and no outs so it was a pivotal point in the game," said MA coach Todd Clifford. "Inter-Lakes answered with their big inning immediately after."

Fleming cruised through the first five innings on the mound for the Panthers, but he ran into trouble in the sixth. Three walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch allowed the Lakers to score two runs and take a 3-2 lead. I-L would tack on three more in the six-run inning and never look back en route to the win.

"Mitch had a strong outing showing improvement from last season," said Clifford. "He has good stuff, he just needs to pound the strike zone. It was one inning that got away from him. I think we are headed in the right direction though."

The Panthers outhit I-L, 8-5, but runners stranded proved costly in the loss.

Things turned around nicely three days later, as MA defeated Lin-Wood, 14-4, in Moultonboro on May 5.

Tyler Jepson picked up the win on the mound, overpowering a young and inexperienced Lin-Wood team to help his squad improve to 2-2 on the season. Jepson cruised through the lineup the first time through, picking up seven strikeouts through three innings. The righty had a no-hitter into the fifth but a sharp single to left center broke up the no-hit bid.

"Tyler pitched well," said Clifford. "He walked seven his first outing out the year but he was really around the plate today. I had him on a pitch count but he had a no-hitter going so we sent him back out there."

The MA bats were hot all day long against Lin-Wood, as the team pounded out 13 hits in the game, including six doubles. Dubuque led the way at the plate as he finished 3-for-4 with two RBI. Cotter was 2-for-3 with three RBI while Jensen, Fleming and Richards all contributed two hits in the win.

"We've been putting together good at bats all season so far," Clifford explained. "I think our lineup is decent and we can put the ball in play, so it's all going to come down to pitching and defense. I think we've only had one error in all four games we've played so that's been a positive."

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