Achorn brothers spark Southern Maine River Rats to Super 17 win

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 26, 2024

Colin Sullivan takes off on a steal of second for the Southern Maine River Rats.

By Sean Reilly

No matter the results — and they’ve turned out to be very good — the 2024 baseball season was going to be a lot of fun for two brothers from Maine. 

Michael Achorn and his younger brother, Sean, are two years apart, so they haven’t gotten to play much ball together since they were very young. 

But this year has been different, since Michael was a junior and Sean a freshman at Messalonskee High School. They were teammates during the spring, and are together again this summer for the Southern Maine River Rats. To make it even better, they are often batterymates, with Michael catching and Sean pitching. 

The River Rats are competing this week at the Diamond Nation Super 17 Invitational, Powered By Victus, and played their first game of the summer on Tuesday afternoon against the PPH Mafia 16U Scout from Central Jersey. 

Michael Achorn hit a go-ahead two-run triple with two out in the bottom of the sixth and Sean earned the win with two shutdown innings of relief as Southern Maine gained a 6-4 win in Flemington. 

Michael Achorn’s line-drive triple to left-center field scored Brayden Duane, who walked with one out, and Jacob Fish, who doubled to left field with two out. The triple snapped a 4-4 tie.

Chase Hamerschlag scores for PPH Mafia on bases-clearing double by Hayden Caruso.

“I wasn’t looking for any one pitch,” Michael said. “I just went up there trying to hit and got a pitch right down the middle and hit it into the gap.” 

Sean Achorn faced six batters and he retired them all. Three were by strikeout. 

“It felt nice, a great start to the summer overall,” Sean said. “Other than when we were really young, this has been the first time we’ve been together, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

The River Rats took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Duane, who went 2-for-2 along with the walk, singled to right field with one out. He scored on a two-out wild pitch with Michael Achorn at the plate. 

PPH Mafia, also playing its first game of the tournament, commanded a 3-1 lead in the second. 

Akhil Penkala led off with a walk and Chase Hamerschlag followed by getting hit by a pitch. They each advanced on a wild pitch before the next two batters were retired. Alexander Rudisill walked on a full count to load the bases for Hayden Caruso, who then cleared the bases with a two-run double compounded by an error which allowed the additional run to score. 

Michael Achorn, who was at-bat when the third out was recorded in the first inning, led off the second for the River Rats with a walk. He moved to third when Colby Moholland singled to right field. Colin Sullivan followed with a ground out to second to get Southern Maine within 3-2.

John Smith led off the third for PPH Mafia with a double to left field. Joe Spinello then hit an RBI double to right for a 4-2 lead. 

Southern Maine tied it in the bottom of the frame. Sean Achorn drew a one-out walk, and Wyatt Soucie followed with a triple to right-center. Duane then hit an RBI single to left. 

“It’s always fun catching for my brother,” Michael Achorn said. “It’s a blessing to play with him. We have a brotherly connection.” 

His familiarity with his brother’s command is obviously an advantage. 

“His fastballs and curveballs were definitely working,” Michael said. “His curveball has been working all season.”

Each team has three more games to play at the event, where more close to 90 teams are competing. The top five finishers will qualify for the Super 17 Top 25 Showcase in August. The River Rats returned against Bombers Baseball from Long Island on Wednesday morning. PPH Mafia played the Virginia Cardinals, also on Wednesday morning.

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