The Cony baseball team is hitting .327, which is fairly consistent for a high school ball club, but averages only tell part of the story of the team’s success this season.

The Rams were 8-2 entering Wednesday’s game at Oxford Hills and averaging 10 runs a game.

“One thing we talked about was not being the best hitting team, but being the best offensive team,” Cony coach Don Plourde said. “That includes moving runners and baserunning. We practice signs every day.”

Plourde said the focus of the coaching staff has been less on hits and more on quality at-bats. He said there are 10 ways to get a quality at-bat, including taking several pitches, driving in a run, getting hit by a pitch and hitting the ball hard, among others.

“The kids have really bought into the competition,” he said. “It’s just kind of a philosophy we put in Day 1.”

For the record, freshman Reid Shostak, who moved up from the junior varsity a few games ago, is hitting .428, sophomore Tayler Carrier is batting .424, junior Ben Lucas .389 and senior Zack Lachance .385.

Lachance and junior Charlie Hallak lead the pitching staff. Hallak is 3-0 while Lachance has surrendered 13 hits and has yet to allow an earned run in 28 innings this season.

“(He’s) just keeping the ball down and really getting ahead,” Plourde said. “He’s really been doing a good job of working in and out. He’s gotten stronger every year.”

Sophomore Thomas Foster has started a game but has pitched mostly in relief while sophomore Mitchell Caron got his first start Monday and earned a win against Brunswick.

Plourde said the team faced four or five No. 1 pitchers in their first few games although he admits pitching around the conference is down this year. The defense, he added, has also played well. The Rams face a key opponent Friday when they host defending Class A state champion Messalonskee.

• • •

Monmouth came into the season with seven pitchers and coach Eric Palleschi has used all seven, a couple for just an inning or two.

“I think our pitching’s been pretty good so far,” said Palleschi, who has started four different pitchers and used three in relief. “We’ve got to get more consistent defensively and our hitting’s got to be more consistent.” The Mustangs are 7-3 following Wednesday’s loss to Oak Hill and junior left-hander Kyle Fletcher is 4-0. Fletcher got roughed up while pitching an inning of relief in last week’s 7-3 loss to unbeaten St. Dominic, but two days later threw a three-hitter against Madison.

“It was nice to see him come back against Madison and have a good outing,” Palleschi said.

Junior Nate Gagne has the team’s two losses, but has pitched well as a starter and a reliever. He came on Monday after the Mustangs gave up six first-inning runs and pitched seven shutout innings. He has a sidearm delivery that deceives hitters, especially right-handers.

“He started in Little League that way,” Palleschi said. “The only thing we tell him is to keep his elbow up. He can throw from anywhere, it’s tough to see.”

Although hitting has been a little spotty, the team is batting .346, led by junior Alex Curtis at .406. Junior Brett Wilson and senior Devin West are hitting .384 and .360, respectively.

The Mustangs play a key game Friday when they host defending Class C state champion Dirigo.

• • •

Richmond hosts Forest Hills on Saturday for a key East/West Conference doubleheader. The Bobcats are 4-4 while the visiting Tigers are 6-5.

“We’re all fighting for that 3, 4 and 5 spot,” Richmond coach Ryan Gardner said of the Class D West Heal point tournament standings. The Bobcats are currently third while the Tigers are fourth. Gardner expects to start Eddie and Mike Stewart, both of whom are 2-1.

“I’m very happy with our pitching,” Gardner said. “We’ve had quality starts and quality relief. We’ve got to shore up our defense right now.”

The Bobcats have 11 new players on the team and sometimes their inexperience has shown. They beat once-beaten Buckfield and lost 7-5 to unbeaten Valley.

“Our giveaways are killing us,” Gardner said. “We’re still feeling our way around a few positions.”

Both Stewarts have pitched well and alternate at shortstop when not on the mound. Mike, a freshman, struck out eight and walked one in Monday’s 5-1 win against Greenville in the first game of a doubleheader. But Eddie lost the second game after his teammates committed several errors.

“We’re awfully young when Eddie’s on the mound,” Gardner said.

• • •

A few Messalonskee players are dressing old school this season. The Eagles are wearing the old style stirrups, the kind that are pulled over the sock and show off a racing stripe when a player pulls his pants cuffs up to his knees.

“We had one pair, two pair, lying around last year that we wore. Our athletic office people brought in a bunch of them for us to wear this year,” said sophomore infielder Jake Dexter, who along with junior Devin Warren and freshman Jared Cunningham, sported the stirrups in Monday’s game against Skowhegan. “I like them. The guys like them. They’re cool.”

Monday’s 11-3 win at Skowhegan improved Messalonskee, the defending Class A state champion, to 8-3. The Eagles end the regular season with a tough stretch of games. Three of Messalonskee’s final four games are against Cony, Bangor and Lewiston, clubs the Eagles are competing against for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 

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