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Cougar nine edge Phoenix in opener
Dirigo's Tyler Frost slides safely into third base. (Photo courtesy of Dave McLaughlin)
Dirigo's Spencer Trenoweth was very effective in his opening game start on the mound. (Photo courtesy of Dave McLaughlin)
LIVERMORE FALLS -- To say that the Dirigo baseball team was hog tied would be right on. However, when things were on the line the Cougars buckled down and got the job done in a Mountain Valley Conference season opener.
The Cougars keys lies directly in the players abilities to execute and things worked out as Tyler Frost and Spencer Trenoweth delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the sixth inning and then held on for a 2-1 win against Spruce Mountain.
The game proved to be a pitching dual between the Phoenix Payton Kennison and Trenoweth, who each matched pitches through the first five innings. In fact, the flame-throwing Kennison, who was clocked in the low 80's early on, fanned the side in the first, third and seventh.
In the top of the sixth, pinch-hitter Justin Chartier walked and gave way to pinch-runner Nick Young. Mitch Kubesh laid down a sacrifice bunt and Brett Whittemore also walked. Frost hit a ball down the third base line, that scored Young and Trenoweth drilled the ball by SM shortstop Scottie Hall's dive, which allowed Whittemore to race home.
Trenoweth admitted to have been over patient against Kennison (14 strikeouts) and the team needed to swing the bats. Trenoweth also established himself on the mound, after having been informed by coach Ryan Palmer that regardless, three innings would be his maximum.
''The way Spence was dealing, we had to stick with him as long as we did,'' said Palmer, who noted that 40 of 45 Trenoweth's pitches had been strikes and six strikeouts through five innings. ''He was around the plate. Everything was strikes, and that was great.''
Trenoweth was lifted, after walking Brandon Hodges leading off the sixth. Frost relived and induced two fly balls, the latter had Robbie Babb (single) making an over-the-shoulder catch in right field fence. SM threatened, but Frost struck out Lou Preble as catcher Brian Volkernick gripped the foul tip.
The Phoenix scored in the seventh on Hall's sacrfice fly and Kaine Hutchins (triple) was summoned. A passed ball had the tying run on second base, but Hutchins struck out Kyle Souther (two hits) to close the door. Exactly one year ago, Hutchins also had earned a save in Dirigo's 7-6 win on the same field.