AUGUSTA — It took Madison pitcher Chase Nelson an inning against Gardiner to shake off the rust that comes with not pitching for more than a week. The Madison bats, those never showed any tarnish at all.
Nelson threw a complete game, while Madison pounded 19 hits, to take a 10-3 win in an elimination game of the Zone 2 American Legion baseball tournament. Madison, which lost a 4-3 game in 10 innings to Red Barn of Augusta in Sunday’s first game, will play Red Barn at 4 p.m. today at Morton Field. If Madison wins, the if necessary game will be on Tuesday.
In the second game of the day, Gardiner eliminated Post 51 with a 5-1 win, setting up the game against Madison.
“We’ve always said all season, we’ve got a lot of speed. If we can get guys on base, we can make a lot of things happen. That many hits, good things are going to happen,” Madison manager Peter Kirby said.
Gardiner took a 1-0 lead over Madison in the top of the first inning. Kyle Fletcher reached on an error and scored on an Alex Curtis single.
Madison answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Derek LeBlanc led off with a 13-pitch at-bat and reached when hit by a Fletcher pitcher. With two outs, Garrett Emery singled to score LeBlanc, and scored on Kameron Nelson’s double. Kameron Nelson scored on an error.
Fletcher, who started Gardiner’s first-round win at Franklin County on Thursday and threw 1 2/3 innings in the earlier win over Post 51, lasted just 2/3 of an inning for Gardiner. Jonah Martin came in, and worked out of jams into the sixth, when Madison scored four runs to take a 7-1 lead.
“Kyle threw Thursday. He threw pretty good in the first one (on Sunday). We thought maybe we could shut him down and get him back into it, but he didn’t have any gas left,” Gardiner manager Dan Burdin said. “You could tell from the get-go that that pop wasn’t there.”
Madison added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. LeBlanc scored three runs, while Emery had three hits and drove in three runs. Kameron Nelson had three hits and drove in two. Trevor Hisler had three hits for Madison.
Chase Nelson, who also had three hits, cruised on the mound. He allowed eight hits and one walk while striking out six. A strong curveball helped Nelson get 12 outs via pop up or fly out.
“He hasn’t pitched in over a week. He’s one of those kids who’s competitive, so we knew he would settle down,” Kirby said.
Added Nelson: “I think it was we just started mixing the pitches up.”
Against Post 51, Curtis gave Gardiner the lead for good, 2-1, with a solo home run to lead off the top of the sixth inning.
“It was an inside pitch, right in my zone,” Curtis, who had three hits in the win, said.
Three Gardiner pitchers, Zach Farrin, Fletcher and Jake Martin, held Post 51 to four hits.
“Honestly, we’ve struggled with hitting all year. We’ve tried to move guys around to try to get some type of action, but it never came together,” Post 51 manager Paul Jacobs said.
In the first game of the day, Red Barn won when Raymond Mosca was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning. Red Barn scored three runs in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead before Madison tied the game with a three-run eighth, helped by three Red Barn errors.
Zach Elwell earned the win in relief of Zach Lachance.
“I told the guys, we’ve at least made states,” Red Barn manager Don Plourde said.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242