AUGUSTA — The Red Barn was dead. Deader than dead. Deader than deader than dead.

Down by eight runs and looking flat, there was every indication that The Red Barn’s season would end Thursday afternoon at the hands of Fayette-Staples.

Things turned gradually in the sixth and eighth, then turned dramatically in the ninth. Trailing by four runs with three outs to go, The Red Barn scored five times for a memorable 11-10 victory on the second day of the American Legion Baseball state tournament.

“It’s just how we drew up,” The Red Barn coach Don Plourde said with a grin. “We did what we needed to do. You saw these guys. They just never gave up.”

With the loss at Morton Field, Fayette-Staples became the first team eliminated from the tournament. The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, plays at 1 p.m., Friday against the loser of Wednesday’s game between Westbrook and Staples Crossing.

For much of the game, the biggest entertainment was a woman in the stands who would scream when a pitch was fouled into the bleachers — whether the ball landed near her or not. Fayette-Staples scored six runs in the first three innings. Cam Jackman (3 for 3) hit a solo home run in the second inning and a two-run double in the third.

“I’m not sure what it was,” said The Red Barn shortstop Chandler Shostak, who went 2 for 2 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances. “We just came out a little flat. We let them score a couple runs on us, and we kind of went quiet there for a bit.”

Thomas Foster came on in relief and retired the first eight batters he faced, but Fayette-Staples touched him for four runs in the top of the sixth. It looked like the 10-run rule was a possibility, as Fayette-Staples led 10-2 at that point.

After striking out 17 times against Pastime Club on Wednesday, The Red Barn fanned eight times in the first five innings against Fayette-Staples pitcher Drew Gelinas. At the same time, however, Gelinas was running up his pitch count. He was pulled after giving up solo home runs to Cam Brochu and Zack Lachance in the sixth, and left having thrown 115 pitches.

A play that might have been just as important was the one before Lachance’s home run. Sean Cabaniss dropped a single into left, and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It certainly wasn’t a percentage play — The Red Barn was down 10-3 at the time — but it was a hustle play that a team going through the motions doesn’t make.

“When he came back in, I told him, ‘Son, we’re down seven runs,'” Plourde said. “But there was a big part of me that was happy that he did what he did, because he plays the game right. I wish every kid played the way he played, because he (goes) 100 percent.”

With the score 10-4 entering the seventh, Plourde also sent a message that he wasn’t giving up by calling Jory Humphrey in to pitch. Humphrey is The Red Barn’s No. 2 starter, but Plourde bypassed him on Thursday, hoping to save him for Friday. Humphrey would go on to face the minimum nine batters over three shutout innings.

The Red Barn got closer in the eighth, as Tucker Whitman singled, Brochu followed with a double, and Lachance singled both runners home. But after Tayler Carrier’s potential home run to left went just foul, The Red Barn still trailed 10-6 entering the bottom of the ninth.

In the ninth, Shostak led off with a walk. It was a good omen. In Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Pastime, The Red Barn put the leadoff batter on four times, but never brought him around to score. On Thursday, The Red Barn again put the leadoff man on four times, and he scored every time.

Humphrey followed with another walk, and a wild pitch moved the runners up and took away the double-play possibility. Ben Lucas grounded a single through the right side to score Shostak, and Whitman singled to drive home Humphrey and put the tying run on base.

With its lead down to 10-8, Fayette-Staples tried to stop the deluge by bringing in Ben Lambert to pitch. The first batter he faced was Brochu, who was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Cabaniss was up next, and he fouled off two two-strike pitches before lining a single to right that Fayette-Staples right fielder Matt Rutherford had to play on a hop. With the score now 10-9, Lachance drove a ball toward right field. This time, Rutherford turned, watched, and put his head down, as the ball bounced off the fence for a two-run double and an improbable comeback.

“I just knew I had to calm down at the plate, and get it done,” Lachance said. “We’re always in it. At the beginning of the game, we were a little down, yeah. But we knew we had the chance to fight back, and we took it.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

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