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Cougar boys edge Phoenix, 7-6
LIVERMORE FALLS -- When opportunity knocks, its important to be able to take advantage and light-hitting Jake Dowland made the most of it by smashing a solo home run in the seventh inning for the lead, with freshman Kane Hutchins closing the door in the bottom of the frame as Dirigo won 7-6 over Spruce Mountain Friday afternoon.
The Cougars received timely hitting, including a Spencer Trenoweth two-run homer for a 6-4 lead. Cody St. Germain had singled and was pinch run for by Brian Volkernick.
Dowland, who has been struggling with his batting stance and swing this spring, has a flair for the dramatics. In the 2010 quarterfinal playoff game, the Peru resident smashed a game-winning hit against Winthrop.
St. Germain started the game and held the Phoenix batters in check except for a two-run single by Jake Bessey. St. Germain encountered trouble when Spruce loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth. The Cougars recorded the second out, but a batted ball plated one run and the throw from left field went by the third baseman and bounced through an opening in the chain-link fence; the ball was declared dead and the tying run was allowed to trot home.
Dirigo coach Ryan Palmer had Kane warmed up and immediately inserted him in the game. The right hander struck out a batter to end the inning.
"We just didn't get the hits (in late innings)," said Spruce Mountain coach Brian Dube, who also referred to losing out when a runner on third failed to score on a ball that had bounced away from Dowland. "We had the right batters up, but didn't produce and at the same time Dirigo came through with some hits."
The Cougars received solid contributions from their entire lineup. Caleb Turner, despite playing on an injured knee tendon, singled and stole second and eventually scored. Chad Snowman, Ben Holmes and Robbie Babb each singled. Brett Whittemore induced two walks and scored. Hunter Ross laid down a pair of well-placed bunts, the former for a sacrifice and the latter for a single toward third base line. Ross also stole a base.