2018-04-13 / Sports

Falcons hold off Knights in baseball opener, 7-4

Wagner brothers lead the way
BY BOB CONN
Times Record Staff

POLAND

Brothers Shea, Colby and Gabe Wagner have discussed how much fun it will be to play together this year for the Freeport High School baseball team.

On Thursday in the Falcons’Western Maine Conference opener against Poland, the threesome showed that they have the capability of leading Freeport while also having fun.

They combined to go 5-of- 11 at the plate, scored three runs and drove in three as the Falcons held off a Knights late-game rally for a 7-4 victory.

Early, it was all about Freeport aggressiveness on the bases. In all, the Falcons stole five bases and seemed to always find a way to take the extra base when it was available.

“We had some aggressive base running, and we put a lot of pressure on them and used our aggressiveness well,” said Freeport (1-0) coach Bill Ridge. “It is nine guys that are aggressive by nature in other sports, and it is something that we’re going to use.”

“What we have is an extremely athletic team,” said senior catcher Colby Wagner, who was 2-for-4 at the plate.

“Freeport did a great job coming out and being aggressive,” said Poland (0- 1) coach Charlie Pray, whose Knights return to action April 20 at Medomak Valley. “They put people on base and ran the bases extremely well. They took advantage of our passed balls and set the tone.”

Freeport jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first. Shea Wagner doubled to the gap in right-center field off of Poland starter Brady Downing. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sharp single by Colby Wagner.

The lead doubled in the second for the visitors. Gabe Wagner walked and stole second. One out later, Anthony Ponciocco dropped a bunt. The throw to first was in time for the second out, but Gabe Wagner kept running, sliding head first into home ahead of a tag.

“They are a special group, and when I talk about taking extra bases, it starts with them,” said Ridge of the Wagner brothers. “They have played a lot of baseball, and that aggressiveness is contagious. We were able to manufacture runs today.”

Blowing it open

Freeport tacked on three more runs in the third. With two outs, Colby Wagner singled and Toby Holt walked. They each stole a base, and Colby Wagner scooted home on a wild pitch. Heath Cockburn hit a slow roller to shortstop and just beat the throw for an infield single, with Holt touching home, again scoring from second base for a 5-0 lead.

The Falcons made it 6-0 in the fourth, with Eriksen Shea coming home on a ground ball by Shea Wagner.

On the mound for Freeport was Cockburn, who retired nine of the first 10 Poland hitters, allowing only a single to left field by Josh Powers.

However, the Knights made a game of it in the fourth. A pair of Freeport errors opened the door, with two Poland runners scoring. An infield single by Garrett Goss scored Daulton Bolduc to get the Knights to 6-3.

“We want to play seven innings, and we talked a lot when we were down 6-0 of what we wanted to do from there, scratch some runs across and be aggressive,” said Pray.

Downing went the first four frames on the mound for Poland, allowing six runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Colby Bell relieved and tossed two scoreless frames to keep his team close.

Poland threatened again in the fifth, putting two runners on against Cockburn. Shea Wagner relieved and retired a Knights hitter to keep the Falcons ahead by three.

Freeport made it a 7-3 game in the seventh as Cockburn (2-for-3) walked. Gabe Wagner ripped a single to right that was misplayed for an error, allowing Cockburn to score.

Poland completed the scoring in its final at-bat, with Gawain Tibbetts coming home on a wild pitch.

Cockburn (win) and Shea Wagner (save) combined to allow just two hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

“They looked great, threw strikes, and their curveballs were fantastic,” said Colby Wagner.

Freeport has 13 days until its next game, a WMC contest at Lake Region on April 25. In the mean time, “We go to North Carolina. We’re out of here tomorrow morning and we will play four games down there over a week,” said Ridge.

Colby Wagner, Gabe Wagner and Cockburn each had two hits for the Falcons.

Bell threw the final three frames for Poland, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Freeport 7, Poland 4

At Poland

Freeport — 113 100 1 7-8-3
Poland 000 300 1 4-2-1

Heath Cockburn, Shea Wagner (5)
and Colby Wagner; Brady Downing,
Colby Bell (5) and Davin Cloutier.
WP — Cockburn; LP — Downing;
Sv. — Shea Wagner.
Doubles — (F) Shea Wagner, Gabe
Wagner.
Repeat hitters — (F) Colby Wagner,
Heath Cockburn, Gabe Wagner.
Records — Freeport 1-0, Poland 0-1.
Up next for the Falcons — April 25
at Lake Region, 4 p.m.

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