Cony has bounced back from an 0-5 start to win three of its last four games and get into tournament contention in Eastern Class A.
The Rams (3-6), who play at Mt. Ararat today, have received strong pitching from seniors Payton Kennison and Mitchell Bonenfant. Kennison has a no-hitter and a two-hitter in his last two starts while Bonenfant allowed five hits in a win over Mt. Blue on Wednesday.
“The last couple of games his curveball has been really solid,” Cony coach Don Plourde said of Kennison. “And he really has a command of the strike zone with his fastball.”
The key for both pitchers has been throwing first-pitch strikes, Plourde said. Kennison was at 73 percent in his last start and 82 percent in his no-hitter against Brewer. Bonenfant has been around 65 percent and is making good use of a curveball he’s worked on since preseason.
“It really showed (Wednesday),” Plourde said. “He had really big strikeouts in key situations with his curveball.”
Plourde is still searching for a reliable third starter. Seniors Charlie Hallak and John Jensen have both had starts and Jensen will get the nod today. The offense is coming around, too Plourde said with some timely hits, led by junior Mitchell Caron.
“He’s locked in right now, hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen him hit,” Plourde said.
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Oak Hill may be flying under the radar in the Mountain Valley Conference but the Raiders are very much in the race for best team in the MVC.
They’re 8-2 heading into Monday’s game against Winthrop with a pair of two-run losses to perennial conference powers St. Dominic and Dirigo, currently 1-2 in the Western C Heal point standings.
“We’re hitting the ball very well,” Oak Hill coach Mike Bray said. “The main thing is the team keeps coming back, something we didn’t do last year. Everybody’s hitting, top to bottom.”
The Raiders belted three home runs in Monday’s win against Boothbay, including a grand slam from sophomore Dalton Therrien who went 4 for 4. Pitching has been solid, too, led by seniors Parker Asselin, Jacob Martin and Jared Glazier.
“We have a lot of seniors,” Bray said. “We’re kind of where we should be. We feel like we can compete with anybody.”
Although the Raiders play in the predominantly Class C MVC, they compete for a tournament berth in Western B where they’re currently in fourth place.
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Monmouth dropped its first game of the season Wednesday, losing 5-3 at home to once-beaten St. Dominic.
“We hit some balls at people,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “Defensively, we played solid and we pitched well.”
The Saints scored three runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of a walk and an error.
“They were able to get that timely hit,” Palleschi said.
St. Dom’s starter Mitchell Lorenz allowed seven hits in going the distance for the win.
“He mixed in a great changeup that had us out on our front foot,” Palleschi said.
Palleschi went with three different pitchers as he’s done throughout the season.
“We stuck with the game plan that’s been working,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll see them again in June.”
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Gardiner is 1-8 heading into today’s home game against Erskine, a team the Tigers beat to open the season.
“Of our eight losses, we’ve been in six of them” Gardiner coach Chris McLaughlin said. “We’re making too many mistakes to get over that edge. We’re still playing hard. They’re young and they’re learning.”
Sophomore Nic Berube has been a bright spot for the Tigers at shortstop while junior Brad Weston has provided some power in the lineup. McLaughlin has an inexperienced pitching staff with the exception of junior Josh McKelvey, who has been up and down so far.
“He pitches a lot of innings,” McLaughlin said.
Sophomore lefty Eli Fish has missed most of the season with a concussion but could see action today on the mound for the first time.