GARDINER — Nick Sanborn had never pitched nine innings in a baseball game. Now, the recent Monmouth Academy graduate can cross that off his baseball bucket list.

Pitching for Gardiner, Sanborn threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout on Monday afternoon, leading his team to a 4-0 win over Augusta in the first round of the American Legion Zone 2 tournament. Gardiner will face top seed Pastime of Lewiston on Tuesday.

“(Sanborn) was in command most of the game,” Gardiner coach Josh Martin said.

The only time the lefty Sanborn found himself in a jam was in the top of the ninth, when Augusta put runners on first and third base with one out. Martin went to the mound to ask Sanborn how he felt, but he already knew the answer.

“I just asked him if he wanted the last couple of batters. I mean, he’s not going to say no. He’s a gamer,” Martin said.

Sanborn got a strikeout and a groundout to end the game and preserve the shutout. After giving up a single to Justin Rodrigue in the top of the third, Sanborn didn’t allow another hit until Riley Boivin’s single in the ninth. He struck out eight and walked four.

“I’ve just got to keep throwing strikes. That’s all I’ve got to do. I knew I was tired, but I knew I could do it,” Sanborn said of his approach over the final two innings. “My fastball location was really good and I was able to keep them off balance with a changeup. My curveball and changeup would both get groundouts.”

Gardiner scored the winning run in the bottom of the second inning, when Ryan Kelley came home on the back end of a double steal with two outs. Ryan Kappelmann took second on the play.

“You’ve got to get the runners going, and it ended up paying off for us,” Martin said.

Kappelmann’s RBI double in the fourth scored Hunter Richardson and gave Gardiner a 2-0 lead. Dalton Therrien’s two-run double in the eighth inning scored Richardson and Conner Nilsson with a pair of insurance runs.

Augusta, meanwhile, couldn’t get anything going offensively against Sanborn and a strong Gardiner defense that made just one error. Augusta stranded seven runners on base, and when Kolbe Merfeld reached third in the top of the ninth, he was the first Augusta baserunner to make it that far.

“We just didn’t hit today. We struggled offensively all day and just couldn’t put anything together,” Augusta coach Tim Rodrigue said.

Ryan Sinclair took the tough loss for Augusta. He pitched into the eighth inning and allowed nine hits and three walks while striking out six.

“Ryan, he pitched an awesome game. He said ‘If anybody gets on, I want you to pull me.’ So I did. He was at 130 pitches, so it was time. He was still throwing hard, but it was time,” Rodrigue said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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