MONMOUTH — As a pitcher at Kents Hill, Riley Boivin never faced the players on high school teams in central Maine. As Thursday evening showed, that probably wasn’t a bad thing for the hitters.

Boivin, who is playing American Legion Baseball this summer for The Red Barn, wasn’t overpowering on Thursday, but he certainly was overly effective. Boivin went all eight innings and tossed a two-hit shutout as The Red Barn defeated host Gardiner, 3-0.

“Once he gets into a groove, he really gets it going,” Red Barn coach Eric Brown said. “He tends to overthrow a little bit here and there, so we sort of calm him down, and get him to that point where he’s more relaxed, and then he starts throwing a lot more strikes.”

Through most of the evening, Boivin was matched by Gardiner’s Jake Martin, who allowed four hits in seven-plus innings. Through six innings, Boivin and Martin were both working on two-hit shutouts, and Boivin had both of those hits off Martin.

“(Jake) threw unbelievable,” Gardiner coach Dan Burdin said. “That’s the best I think I’ve seen him pitch, between high school and here for the last couple years. He kept them off balance. He really kept us in the game the whole way. It’s too bad we couldn’t get him a run to at least get him a win.”

Ironically, Boivin was teetering in each of the first three innings. With two out in the bottom of the first, he hit Ben Allen and gave up a single to Brady Dion. In the second, Martin slashed a leadoff double and Jake Bannister was hit by a pitch, but Gardiner again left two runners on base. In the third, a walk, an error, and two stolen bases gave Gardiner runners on second and third with one out, but Boivin wriggled out of trouble on two groundouts. That started a string where Boivin retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced, with only Kyle Fletcher reaching on an error.

“As the game went on I got my control back and sort of started throwing the ball, instead of trying to aim where my pitches were going,” Boivin said. “I got more comfortable as the game went on.”

But The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, couldn’t do much with Martin either, and didn’t get a runner past second base until the top of the eighth.

“We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to steal and stuff like that,” Brown said. “We missed about three or four signs during the game. There were some steals that were put on that were missed. We actually had a squeeze that was missed.”

In the eighth, The Red Barn finally got Martin out of the game when Cam Brochu led off with a single and Tayler Carrier was plunked with a pitch. Jonah Martin came in from right field to pitch, and Ryan Sinclair singled to load the bases. After a forceout at the plate, Tyler Bailey got an infield single and another run scored on an error. Taylor Lockhart then scored the third and final run on a wild pitch.

Boivin didn’t allow a hit to the last 24 batters he saw, and threw only 84 pitches in the game. The win puts The Red Barn at 4-5 and in a tie for fourth place in the six-team Zone 2. The top two seeds get a bye to the Zone tournament, and The Red Barn is a game and a half behind Franklin for the second bye.

“We’re in the middle of the pack,” Brown said. “If we can get up to that first or second bye, that’d be great. But really, we’re looking at getting guys the experience.”

Gardiner, on the other hand, is 2-6 and in last place. But the standings have changed quickly this summer, and anyway, Burdin is more concerned with the postseason.

“(Our) coaches we’re talking before the game,” Burdin said, “and just kind of saying, ‘all we got to do is get in and get our pitching lined up the way we want it, and then make a run from there.’ We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, and working on our things, and get better.”

FRANKLIN COUNTY 4, RTD 2: Colton Lawrence fired a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts as the Flyers defeated the 39ers in Madison.

RTD (8-4) had won eight straight entering the game, but is still in first place in Zone 2. Franklin County (5-3) is in second place.

Ryan Pratt and Andrew Pratt each had two hits for the Flyers. Trevor Hisler and D.J. Allen each doubled for RTD, and Cody Laweryson pitched three innings of hitless relief.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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