FARMINGTON — Gardiner did the best it could against Franklin County on Friday night: Keep the game even as long as Cam Abbott was pitching, and take its chances after that.

In a game that stretched over two days, Abbott pitched as well as he could for Franklin County — seven shutout innings, one hit allowed, and 12 strikeouts. But the game went nine innings, and Gardiner outlasted the Flyers for a 5-1 victory in an American Legion Zone 2 Baseball play-in game at Hippach Field.

The win gives Gardiner the final spot in this weekend’s Zone 2 tournament. Gardiner will open the double-elimination tournament against The Red Barn at 10 a.m., today at Morton Field in Augusta.

The game began Thursday night, and was postponed by rain with the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning. Abbott pitched five innings Thursday, allowing no hits and throwing 66 pitches.

Abbott went two more innings and 35 pitches Friday, but came out after the seventh. The game was still scoreless at that point, as Jonah Martin pitched 2 1/3 innings of solid relief for Gardiner.

“He was done,” Franklin County coach Kyle Gunzinger said of Abbott.

Gardiner broke through in the top of the eighth when Jensen Orewiler led off with a double and scored on a dropped fly ball with two out. The Flyers tied it in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of an error to score on Abbott’s RBI single.

In the ninth, Gardiner had runners on first and second with one out and Dalton Therrien at the plate. Therrien flied out to center field, and Jim Theriault moved to third. Franklin pitcher Amos Herrin, believing Theriault might have left the base early, threw to second on an appeal play. The ball got away, and Theriault scampered home.

“The umpire was signaling safe as they threw to second,” Gardiner coach Dan Burdin said. “I saw the ball roll away, and I saw them walk after it. Jimmy’s pretty quick, so we told him to go.”

Gardiner extended the inning with a single by Orewiler, a triple by Zach Farrin, and an infield single by Mario Meucci. That made it 5-1 and decided the game.

“Anyone different than Abbott, I thought we would hit,” Burdin said. “Once Abbott was out, it seemed like the attitude kind of changed. We weren’t looking to go the other way because we were late on everything.”

Franklin County’s season ends at 8-11, which was an impressive season after core school Mt. Blue struggled this spring.

“The kids played great,” Gunzinger said. “Obviously, we’d like to have a couple games back, but that’s baseball. We’d like to be on the other side of the ledger, over .500, and I think that’s a goal going forward.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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