AUGUSTA — Sometimes, the final score doesn’t accurately reflect how the game was played.

Monday, it did.

Augusta and Gardiner/Post 204, the final two teams in the American Legion Baseball Zone 2 tournament, happened to be two hard-hitting teams who were running low on pitching. So Monday’s Zone 2 championship game at Morton Field was a three-and-a-half-hour affair, finally won by Augusta 27-17 in a game stopped in the bottom of the eighth inning by the mercy rule.

Augusta will advance directly to the double-elimination part of the state tournament, and will play the Zone 1 champion at 10 a.m. on July 27. Gardiner/Post 204 will need to win a playoff game at 11 a.m., Saturday at Morton Field against the Zone 1 runner-up.

As you might imagine, there were a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard and impressive offensive numbers in the scorebook. Augusta’s Nick Lucas went 4 for 6 and drove in eight runs. Corey Lapierre, who followed Lucas in the order, was 4 for 4 with four RBIs. Colin McKee also went 4 for 6 as Augusta had 21 hits. Gardiner’s Josh Prue, meanwhile, went 3 for 4 and scored five runs.

There were also some more unusual numbers. Augusta’s Erik Ogren was hit by a pitch four times, and was also hit by a throw while running the bases. Augusta pitchers walked 13 batters, including Forrest Chadwick twice intentionally. The two starting pitchers combined to retire one batter.

But for Augusta, it was a win and a Zone 2 title — its first in eight years.

“This is, for our program, the city of Augusta, a big win regardless of the score and the way the game was played,” Augusta coach Ray Vallee said. “I just think that winning breeds winning, and championships are not easy to attain.”

To recap all the scoring might take more paper than you could fit in your hands or on your table, so here’s the quick version: Gardiner led 3-0 in the top of the first, and Augusta scored nine straight runs to take a 9-3 lead. Gardiner came back with 10 straight runs, the last two on a home run by Cody Plourde, to take a 13-9 lead.

“This was a real fun tournament,” said Gardiner assistant coach Chad Drouin, filling in because coach Dan Burdin had to work. “I had a lot of fun with this group. We battled today, and they really thought they were going to win today.”

Augusta followed Gardiner’s onslaught with 10 straight runs to go ahead, 18-13. Gardiner put three on the board in the top of the seventh, including a two-run double by Spencer Allen, to get back within 18-16. Augusta decided things in the bottom of the seventh, when Lucas hit a grand slam to cap a six-run inning and make it 24-16.

“They hit, and we just hit too,” Lapierre said in a bit of an understatement. “It was going to go back and forth like that, because we’re both good teams.”

Augusta has at least a couple scrimmages lined up to stay sharp for the next week. Gardiner also wants to stay on an offensive roll. Plus, if Gardiner can advance past Saturday, pitchers they had to use Monday like Jimmy Theriault and Mike Phelps showed they can provide an extra arm in a pinch.

“I don’t know who we’ll pitch (Saturday), but we’ll have everybody available, and our bats are hot right now,” Drouin said. “The important thing this week is for these guys to keep swinging and take a lot of quality swings. If we can keep doing that this week before Saturday, we’ll be all right.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.