FAIRFIELD — Mitchell Caron didn’t know he’d hit a home run until he rounded first base and heard his Cony High School teammates cheering.

“It was a fastball. It was low and inside, and I thought it was just a pop that got in the wind, and it kept going,” Caron said.

Caron’s grand slam over the left field wall at Lawrence’s Keyes Field was the big hit in a six-run fifth inning. It broke open a close game and set the Rams on the way to a 12-2 win over Lawrence in the season opener for both teams.

Hitting fifth in Cony’s lineup, Caron had three of the Rams’ 11 hits, drove in six runs, and scored a pair. His grand slam with nobody out in the top of the fifth chased Lawrence starting pitcher Cody Martin from the game.

“We hit when we needed to,” Caron said. “We had to take some pitches, see what (Martin) had, but once we knew, we just jumped on him.”

Added Cony coach Don Plourde: “Even in the early innings, we drove up the pitch count and the guys’ approach was great all day. It wasn’t one guy. It was everybody’s approach.”

Ahead 2-1 after four innings, Keith Cloutier led off the top of the fifth for Cony by reaching on an error. Thomas Foster reached on a bunt single, and Zach Lachance loaded the bases with a fielder’s choice. After Ben Lucas singled to drive in a run, Caron hit his grand slam, and Cony had a 7-1 lead.

Charlie Hallak added an RBI double in the inning to push Cony’s lead to 8-1. The Rams added four more runs in the seventh inning, the big hit a two-run single by Lachance. Cony was helped by five Lawrence errors.

“They got the big home run, and we didn’t field the ball well after that,” Lawrence coach Rusty Mercier said.

Lawrence took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when J.J. Bushaw scored on J.T. Nutting’s groundout to Lachance on the mound. The Bulldogs had other chances to score, but couldn’t capitalize. In the first inning, Lawrence had two on with nobody out, but Matt Champney was picked off first base and thrown out at second by Lachance, and Lachance picked Josh Doolan off third.

“That was very big. It got our spirits up early,” Caron said.

“It certainly helps, but we don’t feel like if we give up a couple runs early, that’s going to hurt us in the long run. We’re just going to play seven innings and do what we do,” Plourde said.

In the fourth inning, Doolan was picked off first base by Lachance to end the inning.

“I feel like they got a little momentum once they got that pickoff play in the fourth,” Mercier said. “Lesson learned for us, that’s for sure. (Lachance) did a nice job with his pickoff move. That was a huge momentum shift.”

Lachance threw six innings for Cony, allowing one unearned run on six hits, with five strikeouts and four walks.

“I think he started popping the mitt a little bit, and that’s usually how he is. In the middle innings he’s at his best,” Plourde said.

Tayler Carrier hit two doubles for Cony and scored two runs. Bushaw had a pair of hits for the Bulldogs.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 

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