PORTLAND >> After spoiling Portland’s Senior Day a year ago, it looked like Hale-Ray was up to some old tricks again.
The Noises turned a first inning bases-loaded double play and cruised into the bottom of the fourth with a 1-0 lead behind the one-hit pitching from junior Bryan Ziobron.
“We played pretty well early on and gave them a little bit of a scare,” Hale-Ray coach Rich Gable said. “But we didn’t make enough plays, which has plagued us this year.”
Senior Jake Winakor sparked the Highlanders with a two-run homer, while junior Austin White blasted a home run and made a sensational catch in center field to fuel Portland’s 9-2 Shoreline Conference victory Thursday at Dyer Field.
Portland’s seniors all contributed to the win. Matt Wyslick struck out nine and scattered five hits over six innings to earn the pitching win. Jordan Vogt went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, Justin Staub had an RBI single, Evan Sweet reached base twice and scored a run, and Winakor had two hits and three RBIs.
“It could have been a problem if we didn’t break it open,” Portland coach Rick Borg said. “Usually, our seniors are in La-La Land on Senior Day.”
It’s been a season of growing pains for a young and inexperienced Hale-Ray team, whose only win came against Hyde back on April 27. But the Noises took an early 1-0 lead on Connor Egan’s single and Victor Medero’s line double to left center.
Ziobron set the Highlanders down in order in the second and third innings. The fourth, however, was a microcosm of Hale-Ray’s season.
After White led off by reaching on an infield error, Winakor crushed a one-out homer over the center field fence. The Noises made another infield miscue and the Highlanders responded with RBI singles from Staub and Vogt to stretch their lead to 4-1.
“If you’re going to lose a game like we lost today you’re going to make an error or two and a good team is going to capitalize on that,” Gable said. “And when you’re playing in the Shoreline Conference you’re playing good teams.”
Hale-Ray (1-18) threatened in the top of the fifth by loading the bases with one out. Egan then blasted a Wyslick offering to the deepest part of the field where White made a terrific running catch at the fence in center. Ben Prue scored on the sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.
“That was a great catch,” Borg said. “And of course (White) followed it up like ‘The Natural’…off the scoreboard.”
White gave Portland a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth by homering off the scoreboard in right field. Portland then capped its big Senior Day win a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by White’s scorching two-run double and RBI singles from Connor Murray and Winakor.
Julian Ventres had a pair of singles for the Noises, who end their season with a non-league contest at Law-Milford on Monday.
“I was pleased with the way our guys hit the ball today,” said Gable, now in his 17th season. “We had great at-bats. And maybe if it wasn’t Austin (White) playing out there, and maybe a couple of more runs score.”
Portland (12-8) will be the seventh or eighth seed for next week’s Shoreline Conference tournament.
“We are capable of playing a good game but we’re capable of playing a stinky game too,” Borg added. ‘We just hope that the good games come at the right time.”