Mascenic baseball scores walkoff win over Wilton-Lyndeborough

Mascenic starting pitcher Isiah Blais pitches against Wilton-Lyndeborough in the Vikings’ 5-4 walkoff win over the visiting Warriors in New Ipswich on Monday, May 6.

Mascenic starting pitcher Isiah Blais pitches against Wilton-Lyndeborough in the Vikings’ 5-4 walkoff win over the visiting Warriors in New Ipswich on Monday, May 6. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

WLC shortstop Tyler Sullivan snags the throw down and tags out Mascenic's Rowen Vautour on an attempted steal of second. 

WLC shortstop Tyler Sullivan snags the throw down and tags out Mascenic's Rowen Vautour on an attempted steal of second.  —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

WLC's Colby Collins gets into third safely as Mascenic's Logan Lucas tries to make a tag.

WLC's Colby Collins gets into third safely as Mascenic's Logan Lucas tries to make a tag. —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

WLC catcher Daxton Richards tags Mascenic's Parker Ketola out at the plate in the bottom of the first inning.

WLC catcher Daxton Richards tags Mascenic's Parker Ketola out at the plate in the bottom of the first inning. —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Somewhere under this pile of jubilant Vikings is Chuck Phillips, who reached base safely on an infield hit as Lucas Leroux raced home to score the winning run. 

Somewhere under this pile of jubilant Vikings is Chuck Phillips, who reached base safely on an infield hit as Lucas Leroux raced home to score the winning run.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

 WLC's Jacob Phillips gets back to first safely on a Mascenic pickoff attempt.

 WLC's Jacob Phillips gets back to first safely on a Mascenic pickoff attempt. —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

 WLC's Colby Collins pitches against Mascenic on Monday.

 WLC's Colby Collins pitches against Mascenic on Monday. —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

By BEN CONANT

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-09-2024 12:06 PM

The Mascenic baseball team trailed Wilton-Lyndeborough for nearly seven full innings Monday afternoon, but, down to their final out, scored on a heads-up walkoff to win 5-4 over the visiting Warriors.

The game was a far cry from the 17-2 Mascenic blowout win early this season, as both the Vikings and Warriors have vastly improved since the early days of April.

WLC head coach Paul Levesque said his team’s journey to improvement actually began back in January, when the majority of his team began offseason workouts, and the dedication is starting to come to fruition.

“Now they’re buying into it,” Levesque said. “I can see the buy-in on their faces. All of these kids are competing as hard as they can. So, I think the system – and oh by the way, the kids buying into it – is really making us a better team.”

That improvement was on display last Friday when WLC upset a Concord Christian team that was 5-1 coming into the game, and it was in evidence Monday, as well. With Colby Collins (6.2 innings, eight strikeouts, three earned runs, 3-4, three steals, two runs) looking good on the mound and on the basepaths, things started well for the Warriors.

“He came out here and pitched his heart out today, kept us in the game all the way through,” Levesque said.

Mascenic, meanwhile, has improved in their own areas, namely pitching, as first-year coach and former college hurler Travis Terrill has been working with the staff. Righty Isaiah Blais (six innings, seven strikeouts, two earned runs) has been the standout, and he was solid on Monday.

“He’s done a complete 180,” Terrill said. “He’s throwing the ball a lot harder; he has three pitches now. I’m very proud of him and he keeps working – and I love it. He just kept throwing strikes and that’s the biggest thing. Don’t walk people and make them beat you.”

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Mascenic made an error in the first inning, which opened the door for WLC to knock in two, with run-scoring hits by shortstop Tyler Sullivan and catcher Daxton Richards. The Vikings evened things up in the fourth on a Payton Vaillancourt RBI double and a run-scoring error, but just a half-inning later, WLC was back on top 4-2 after Sullivan drove in Collins and then scored on a Viking error.

The Warriors just needed to hold on for the win, but that approach is something Levesque is trying to drill out of them.

“What I keep telling them is ‘No, you’ve got to keep being aggressive. You’ve got to keep pushing. You’ve got to keep trying to drive for more and more.’ ”

Indeed, four runs wasn’t quite enough; the Vikings have scored five or more in every game save their losses to Division III Conant and Division IV front-runner Newmarket. Mascenic scored on an error in the fifth to halve the gap and then put the pressure on in the bottom of the seventh.

Down 4-3 and down to their final out, Mascenic got a game-tying double from shortstop Lucas Leroux and brought speedster Chuck Phillips to the plate with Leroux on second. Phillips grounded to Sullivan at shortstop and just beat the throw to first baseman JJ Benson. The Warriors couldn’t believe the call, and reacted to it. Meanwhile, Leroux just kept on running, and by the time the visitors registered the severity of the situation, he’d scored the walkoff run and was racing over to mob Phillips with the rest of the Vikings.

“My college coach used to do that all the time,” Terrill said. “Guy on second, kind of a bang-bang play at first and they’re not going to be looking at you. So right when he took off, I just told him to go, so when it was a bang-bang play, they were looking for a call and he’s already at home plate. So it was kind of like a distraction play.”

Phillips got an ice-bucket dump over the head for his heroics, but the Vikings will hope that doesn’t cool them down. Now 3-6 on the season, they’ll host Sunapee Friday and Farmington Monday.

WLC (2-6) was scheduled to play on the road at Derryfield Tuesday afternoon and keep on traveling Friday to Franklin.