WATERVILLE — Madison coach Peter Kirby thought he had a great plan. Kirby had saved ace Cody Moody for Thursday, giving Moody an extra two days of rest and enabling Moody to pitch two of Madison’s final four games. Kirby envisioned Moody going out and allowing one or two runs in a win.

What played out was dramatically different. Moody pitched two-plus innings and gave up nine runs. Kirby still came out grinning, because everything else worked out Madison’s way.

Madison had its best offensive game of the season, banging out 10 extra base hits on its way to a 16-9 win over Waterville. Not only did Madison rally from six runs down, but rival contenders Franklin County and Amato’s of Rockland each lost, meaning Madison can clinch a spot in the Zone 2 American Legion Baseball tournament by winning two of its final three games.

Madison (7-6) leads Amato’s (6-9) by a game and a half, and Franklin County (5-8) by two games. Madison and Franklin each have three games remaining, while Amato’s has one.

Kameron Nelson and Dustin Warren each went 3 for 4 and drove in five runs for Madison, while Brandon LeHay pitched shutout ball over the final four innings to earn the win.

Madison played “little ball” over the first three innings, scoring on a suicide squeeze, a balk, and a sacrifice fly to take a 3-1 lead. Waterville responded with eight runs in the bottom of the third on five hits and four Madison errors. Mark Beckim and Cody Lyons each had two-run singles in the inning, and the Beavers led, 9-3.

Madison came right back in the fourth with two-run doubles by Warren and Chase Nelson and a two-run single by Kameron Nelson to knot the score at 9. When Waterville came to bat, Kirby removed reliever Ben Salley — who had struck out the final two batters of the third with the bases loaded — in favor of LeHay.

“(Ben) has a cut in his finger, and we might need him Saturday,” Kirby said. “So I figured, he’ll get us out of a jam, and LeHay’s been one of our horses off the bench, so we’ll go with him and he’ll get us out of it.”

LeHay is something of a project as a pitcher. He’s a senior at Carrabec, and he’s a lefty who always pitches from the stretch. He throws hard, and often almost tumbles off the mound from the force of his delivery. But he had it working Thursday, and while nearly every other pitcher was being battered around like a pi ata, LeHay allowed two hits, walked none, and struck out six in his four innings of work.

“I think today, he had a little attitude on him,” Kirby said. “When he goes in, and he’s kind of ticked off, he can play really well.”

“When they put up those runs, I got motivated and ready to go,” LeHay said. “I wanted to shut them down and help the team out.”

Madison also got some help from Waterville (3-9) in the fifth. Brian Bellows was pitching for the Beavers, and Madison’s first three batters went strikeout, popup, and routine ground ball. But Waterville muffed the latter two plays, and the next five Madison batters hit safely as Post 39 took a 14-9 lead. Warren delivered another two-run double in the inning, and followed that up with an RBI triple in the sixth.

“I was out for almost a month in the beginning for work,” Warren said. “Then I come back, and I had a bunch of strikeouts. I had a doubleheader, and I struck out very time. It just feels good to back to into it, and hitting the way I should be hitting.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

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