Marshwood High School baseball beats Berwick Academy in Class A South preliminary

Marshwood relief pitcher Reed Smaracko (left) is congratulated by his teammates after Smaracko completed a two-inning save in Marshwood's 7-5 victory over Berwick Academy in a Class A South preliminary round game on Tuesday at Marshwood.

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine – Though separated by less than 3 miles down Route 236, the Marshwood High School and Berwick Academy baseball teams had never competitively played against each other until this season.

That meant Tuesday afternoon’s matchup between the schools in the preliminary round of the Class A South tournament was the first — and perhaps only — time that they would meet in the postseason.

No. 13 Berwick proved it was ready by jumping out to a 5-2 lead through two innings, but Marshwood starting pitcher Andrew Gray settled down, and the fourth-seeded Hawks chipped their way back into the next round.

Marshwood's D.J. Cagnina beats the throw to Berwick Academy shortstop Tyler Shelgren for a stolen base in the second inning of Tuesday's Class A South preliminary round game.

Marshwood gave Gray the lead in the fourth and Reed Smaracko threw the final two innings, preserving a 7-5 victory over the Bulldogs. It was the fourth time Marshwood beat Berwick this season, posting regular-season wins of 15-0, 6-3 and 6-5.

“This was the kind of game I expected,” Marshwood head coach Eric Wells said. “We played them three times and it’s been close in two of them and I knew they’d be ready. They have a good coaching staff and I know a couple of their leaders would want to come out and beat us. It’s hard to beat a team four times. We know each other.”

Marshwood (12-5) will host No. 5 Falmouth (14-3) in Thursday’s regional quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m. Falmouth advanced with a 5-3 win over No. 12 Biddeford.

Marshwood second baseman Jackson Pollard settles under a pop up in the fifth inning of Tuesday's Class A South preliminary round game against Berwick Academy.

“(Gray) didn’t have his best stuff today,” Wells said. “He gutted it out, and the offense kept grinding.” 

Berwick (4-11) normally plays in the New England Prep School Conference, but with inter-state travel hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Berwick athletics were allowed to compete in the Maine Principals Association this season.

The Bulldogs opened the game with three straight hits, including a double Spencer Aubin, a Dover resident who will play at UMass-Lowell next season. Mila Michaud (three hits) had an RBI single, and Aubin scored on a double play to give Berwick a 2-0 lead.

Smaracko and Gray had RBI singles in the Marshwood’s half of the first, tying the game at 2-2 off Berwick starter Zack Hawry-Lein.

Marshwood's Reed Smaracko heads to tag third base for a forceout in the first inning as Berwick Academy's Mila Michaud approaches the bag. Smaracko would then throw across the diamond to complete a double play.

The Bulldogs came back with three runs in the second. Berwick took advantage of an error and scored on RBI hits from Tyler Shelgren and Ian Kula, along with a sacrifice fly from Aubin to take a 5-2 lead.

“‘That’s been our season where we’ve been in 85 percent of the games and come up a little short,” Berwick coach James Smucker said. “This team had beaten us three times, but what we wanted to focus on was trying to take the next step and get over that hump of losing one- and two-run games. We just couldn’t figure it out.”

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