BEVERLY – Fort Frye scored in every inning but the third en route to a 10-4 triumph over visiting Frontier in Pioneer Valley Conference baseball action Thursday.
The Cadets improved to 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the PVC. The Cougars fell to 4-7 overall.
“We had some lulls in our game tonight,” said veteran FFHS skipper Sonny Bidwell. “We started off kind of slow, but the boys did a nice job of getting into the game. It was a good team win.”
Fort Frye right-hander Caden Brooker was the winning pitcher, striking out three, walking three, and allowing three runs, two of which were unearned, in six innings of work. He also picked off two Cougars in the opening inning.
“I thought Caden pitched a nice game,” Bidwell said.
Said Brooker, “My arm was feeling pretty good today. I was able to spot my fastball and had my curveball working. And, I was able to get ahead in the count, and my teammates made plays behind me.”
Offensively for winners, Derek Layton stroked two hits, and Spencer Lang and Colton Shuster each drove in two runs.
Frontier southpaw Mitch Minder suffered the mound setback, throwing just four innings. Jay Eddy had two hits, and Levi Cochran and Josh Saunders drove in one run apiece.
“I thought Minder did a nice job, keeping us off balance early,” Bidwell said.
Only six of the Cadet runs were earned as the Cougars committed six errors.
“We battled them, but errors and mental mistakes got us again,” said Frontier head coach Erin Curtis. “We didn’t get the timely hits when we needed them, but we’re going to continue to work at it.”
Frontier got two runners on base in the top of the first but both were picked off by Brooker.
“We work on pickoffs almost every day,” Brooker said. “It’s one of the fundamental things of baseball, and you have to work on it every day to get better.”
Said Curtis, “We’ve got to be awake on the basepaths.”
With two outs in the bottom half of the frame, Casey Hall singled to left and Brooker walked. Up next, Derek Layton singled home Hall to stake the Cadets to a 1-0 advantage.
Frontier tied the score at 1-all in the second when Saunders singled home Cochran, who had led off the inning with a single to center.
The Fort regained the lead 2-1 in the bottom half of the frame when Lang doubled to deep left to drive in Tanner Rice.
In the fourth, Shuster’s two-run double down the left field line helped Fort Frye stretch its lead to 5-1. The following frame, the Cadets tacked on two more to make it 7-1 with one run scoring on a wild pitch, and Rice singling home another tally.
“Hitting-wise, we put the ball in play and moved runners,” Bidwell said. “And, we fundamentally did some things good.”
Frontier, without the benefit of a hit, plated two runs in the top of the sixth with one scoring on a Cadet error and another on Cochran’s sacrifice fly to left. That cut it to 7-3.
“Defensively, we didn’t play too badly,” Bidwell said. “We made two too many errors but we’ll keep working on trying to get better in the field.”
Fort answered that with three unearned runs on three Cougar miscues in the bottom half of the frame to make it 10-3.
Capping all the scoring in the game, Frontier’s Austin Amos doubled with one out in the top of the seventh, and came around to score on two wild pitches.
Fort Frye is scheduled to host Cambridge in a non-league game at 5 p.m. today, while Frontier is slated to entertain St. Marys at 4:30 p.m. today.