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Baseball: Oxford Hills holds off Edward Little

Apr. 22—AUBURN — Oxford Hills finished off Edward Little, and that's not a small feat for a young team early in the baseball season.

Two runs in the top of the seventh and a three-up, three-down bottom of the seventh wrapped up the Vikings' 9-6 victory Monday at Central Maine Community College.

"I really liked our last inning," Oxford Hills coach Shane Slicer said. "What did we get, two runs? We needed that just to relax a little bit."

The Vikings jumped out to a 6-0 lead with a four-run first inning and two-run second, but the Red Eddies battled back to within a run, 7-6, heading into the seventh.

Last Thursday, Oxford Hills was locked into a similarly close contest in the late innings against Brewer, but a massive run by the Witches turned into a 12-2 Vikings loss.

In the top of the seventh on Monday, Carter Holbrook reached on an error and Colton Jendrick walked. Both players stole bases with Brady Truman at the plate. Truman singled in Holbrook to make it 8-6.

"I told the team a second ago, that at-bat, his last at-bat, was phenomenal," Slicer said. "He let guys steal, taking a strike, fouled a couple tough pitches off and goes with a pitch that may not have even been a strike, just slapped it to left.

"Just doing his job, getting a runner in, and it ended up being a hit, and got a (runner from second) to third. Then we have a fly ball. It just gave us the two runs, just that at-bat."

Truman advanced to second base, and the next batter, Nick Binette, brought home Jendrick with a sacrifice fly to center field.

"They had all the momentum there at the end of the game, and we had some errors," Truman said, "but in the top of the seventh, we came out, got guys on, stole bases, got timely hits and got some insurance, and then we had our guy some in and close it down and throw strikes. And that's really what we needed."

In the bottom half of the seventh inning, Oxford Hills relief pitcher Ross Campbell induced a pop up to catcher Dylan Truman, a groundout to Brady Truman at shortstop and then finished the game with a strikeout.

Campbell relieved starter Carson Stevens with two outs in the sixth inning and retired all four batters he faced to earn a save.

Stevens, a sophomore, takes the win after allowing only two hits while walking five batters.

"Not bad," Slicer said. "He didn't give up many hits at all. He was little bit erratic at times, he threw too many pitches, but that's his second good outing. He's a sophomore, he still has to work on his command a little bit, but I thought he had a gritty performance. I thought he did a pretty good job."

Brady Truman, Oxford Hills' No. 3 hitter, made solid contact throughout the game and finished with three singles, three RBIs and two runs.

"I want to keep going into every game with the same mindset," Truman said. "Teams think I'm a 3 hitter, I'm going to hit bombs, but I just go up there looking to hit singles, get guys moving on the base paths."

Truman's first two RBIs came on a first-inning single after Holbrook and Jendrick, the first two batters of the game, reached base. Truman later scored on an infield single by Hunter Tardiff, and Ryder Kennison drove in Cam Pulkkinen to make it 4-0.

Brady Truman and Binette each singled and scored in the second inning.

Edward Little made three of its six errors in the first two innings, which forced starting pitcher Owen Scott to throw a lot of pitches.

"At this point in the season, we don't have pitchers who can go out and overpower people," Red Eddies coach Dave Jordan said. "We need to back them up in the field by playing cleaner defense."

Edward Little scored its first run in the bottom of the third when Eli St. Laurent hit a sacrifice to center field that allowed Isaac Jalbert to tag up and score from third.

In the top of the fourth, Tardiff drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice that scored Pulkkinen to restore the Vikings' six-run lead at 7-1.

The Red Eddies finished with only two hits — singles by Jalbert and Ben DuBois — but managed to manufacture runs through other means.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the fifth, TJ Kramarz hit a pop fly to right field that was misplayed and allowed all three base runners to score.

In the sixth, Scott and Brooks Beaudry drew walks for the Red Eddies, and through base running and a sacrifice by Jalbert were able to add two more runs and cut the deficit to 7-6.

Edward Little had seven sacrifices Monday, including three by St. Laurent and two by Elliott Hill.

Hitting has been a struggle for the Red Eddies this season. They've recorded only eight hits in three games.

"We haven't come up with a lot of clutch hits, especially with two outs and runners in scoring position," Jordan said. "We've stranded a lot of runners so far."

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