ETHAN HENDERSON looked strong in his first start of the spring, shutting out Gilford over five innings. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
April 16, 2012ALTON — Before the season started, Prospect baseball coach Bubba Noyes knew he had plenty of pitching on which to rely on during the season.
That fact played itself out well in the first week of the season, as the veteran coach used three different starting pitchers and four different arms overall to help his squad jump off to a 3-0 start to the year.
The Timber Wolves closed out the first week of the season at home against Gilford on the second day of back-to-back games, which is never easy to deal with.
"It's tough in any sport to play back-to-back," Noyes said.
The Timber Wolf coach sent junior Ethan Henderson to the hill and he responded by getting out of a one-out, two runners on jam in the first inning, getting a strikeout and a grounder to third to escape damage.
The Timber Wolves then got him all the runs he would need in the bottom of the inning.
Henderson led off the game with a walk and stole second. Andrew Hederman also walked and a Zack Drouin base hit loaded the bases. Jake Biscoe grounded to second, forcing Henderson at the plate, but a wild pitch allowed Hederman to race home with the game's first run. One out later, Cody Symonds laced a base hit to right, bringing home Drouin and Biscoe to make it 3-0. Symonds took second on the throw and stole third. The freshman catcher then scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0. Tom Pasquariello walked to keep the inning alive, but the Golden Eagles got out of the frame without giving up any more runs.
Prospect tacked on another run in the third, as Symonds, Pasquariello and Jeff Olmsted all walked and a passed ball plated another run.
In the fifth, Austin Perrin walked and Brian Gavill took over on the bases. Walks to Symonds and Olmsted loaded the bases and a Pat Cassidy base hit plated the sixth run of the day.
Prospect added one in the sixth, as Henderson doubled and stole third before scoring on a balk for a 7-0 lead.
Drouin took over on the hill in the top of the sixth inning, striking out the side. He then got two groundouts and a strikeout in the seventh to close the game out. Henderson finished with five strikeouts over five innings.
"He threw pretty well," Noyes said of his starting pitcher. "He got out of a few jams. That was really important in the first inning.
"I don't want to call it an ugly win because it was a shutout," Noyes said. "We made some mistakes, but sometimes that happens.
"We got some hits when we had to," the veteran coach added.
The previous day, the Timber Wolves made the trip to Somersworth to take on a solid 'Toppers team and got on the board first, scoring in the third inning. Cassidy walked and stole second. A Henderson bunt moved him to third and when the ball was thrown away, Cassidy scampered home for a 1-0 lead.
Symonds doubled in the fourth and Olmsted reached on an error to chase in another run and in the fifth, Biscoe had a base hit and scored on a double by Perrin, upping the lead to 3-0.
Somersworth scored one in the sixth off of Prospect starter Olmsted, but they couldn't get any more. Hederman took over in the seventh and closed the game out for the 3-1 win.
The week started with a home game against Farmington on Monday, April 9. The Tigers have given the Timber Wolves trouble the last few years and they didn't make things easy this year either.
Farmington scored two in the second against Hederman, but Prospect answered with three in the bottom of the third inning. A walk to Henderson and a bunt by Hederman allowed Drouin to drive home one run. Biscoe followed with a base hit and Symonds reached on an error to bring home another.
In the fifth, Hederman doubled and Drouin singled him home for a 4-2 lead, but the Tigers cut into that lead in the top of the sixth, plating one run.
Prospect upped the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the inning, as Pasquariello reached on an error and scored on a Cassidy base hit.
Farmington rallied in the seventh against Drouin, plating two runs to tie the game at five. Prospect couldn't score in the bottom of the inning and Olmsted took over on the hill, getting the Tigers out in the top of the eighth.
Symonds doubled in the bottom of the eighth and moved to third on a bunt by Olmsted. Cassidy then delivered a two-out, two-strike base hit to plate Symonds with the game-winning run, getting the 6-5 win to open the season.
Hederman finished with four strikeouts in five innings and Drouin struck out three in his two innings.
"That was a good week of baseball, it really was," Noyes said. "Monday was a great win and Somersworth's a good team.
"I'm really pleased," the Timber Wolf coach stated.
Prospect will be in action on Friday, April 20, at Franklin and Monday, April 23, at Campbell, both at 4 p.m.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126