AUGUSTA — Cony High School senior Zack Lachance knew he’d have to be at the top of his game to beat Skowhegan ace Taylor Bacon.

He was and he did.

Lachance allowed just a third-inning infield hit Wednesday to lead the Rams to a 2-1 victory in the quarterfinal round of the Eastern Maine Class A baseball tournament. Fourth-seeded Cony (12-5) takes on No. 1 Oxford Hills in the semifinal round Saturday. Fifth-seeded Skowhegan finishes at 8-9.

Lachance (5-2) beat an undermanned Skowhegan team 4-2 last month but was much sharper Wednesday, finishing with eight strikeouts and three walks on 98 pitches. He gave up a couple of loud outs, but for the most part kept Indian hitters guessing. When he beat them three weeks ago, they were missing several players who were suspended due to code of conduct violations.

“I knew they had players out last game, so I had to step it up this game,” Lachance said. “The curve ball was going pretty well. I had the cutter going a little bit, too.”

Bacon allowed nine hits, struck out four and didn’t issue a walk before giving way to John Swett in the bottom of the sixth inning. He kept Cony hitters guessing by changing speed and throwing from different arm angles,

“(Bacon) was good and Lachance maybe a little bit better,” Skowhegan coach Rick York said. “He had a lot of pop today and he was spotting his curveball early on. That’s what you need in the first round of the playoffs. You need your ace to throw a gem and he did.”

The Rams scored a run in the third inning on Charlie Hallak’s infield hit, but left the bases loaded when Bacon recorded a strikeout and fielder’s choice. They made it 2-0 in the fifth when Chandler Shostak doubled to right-center with two outs and scored when Tayler Carrier’s sinking line drive to left bounced out of Kaleb Brown’s glove. Brown robbed Shostak of extra bases in the first inning with an outstanding catch near the fence.

The Indians scored a run in the sixth inning when Chase McKenney drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a bunt and then third on a wild pitch. He scored on Trevor Hisler’s groundout. The Rams escaped the inning when Lachance deflected Swett’s ground ball up the middle to Shostak at short and he fired to Ben Lucas, who dug the throw out of the dirt. The Rams ended the Skowhegan fifth with an around-the-horn double play, going from Mitch Caron at third to Thomas Foster to Lucas.

“We played our best baseball today,” Cony coach Don Plourde said.

McKenney got the only hit of the game, a high-hopper that Shostak charged from short and threw the ball on the run wide of first.

“I kind of got it into the stomach a little,” Shostak said. “(It was) do or die.”

Lucas and Foster each had a pair of hits for the Rams while Reid Shostak singled and scored Cony’s run in the second inning after moving to third on a Foster base hit to right.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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