FARMINGTON — Partly out of necessity, Franklin County coach Kyle Gunzinger started Colton Lawrence on three days rest in Monday night’s game against The Red Barn.

Oddly enough, Lawrence acted nothing like a hurler throwing on short rest. He gave up three runs in the first inning, then allowed only two hits the rest of the way for a complete-game, five-hitter as Franklin County posted a 9-4 victory in American Legion Zone 2 Baseball action under the lights at Hippach Field.

“He has a tournament this weekend with AAU,” Gunzinger said. “Between Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we’re going to have six games. So we’re going to need all hands on deck pitching. He actually requested to pitch, too.”

Lawrence was coming off a complete-game, 11-strikeout, 4-2 victory over league-leading Madison on Thursday. Against The Red Barn, he struck out nine and threw 106 pitches.

“I’m used to long pitch counts and I didn’t really get a long pitch count at Madison, so I felt rested,” Lawrence said. “I feel pretty good right now.”

The win was a big one for the Flyers. Combined with Monday’s other results, Franklin is now 6-3 and two games ahead of The First (4-5) for the second and final bye into the Zone 2 tournament. The No. 3 through No. 6 seeds will all need to win a play-in game to get into the Zone tourney. The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, is tied with Post 51 for fourth place at 4-6.

While Lawrence cruised through the final five innings, he scuffled in the first. He began by walking Tayler Carrier, then gave up a home run down the right field line to Ryan Rodrigue. Cam Brochu followed with a double to deep left and although he later scored on an infield grounder, Lawrence limited the damage and trailed only 3-0.

Three runs are often enough to win a game in Zone 2, but in this game it wasn’t even enough to give The Red Barn a lead after one inning. Ryan Pratt singled to lead off the bottom of the first and Lawrence (3 for 3, three runs scored) followed with a booming double. Cam Abbott’s sacrifice fly and Andrew Pratt’s RBI single made it 3-2, and Pratt came around on Ryan Greenman’s single through the right side. When The Red Barn muffed the ball on a delayed double steal, Amos Herrin scored to make it 4-3.

The Red Barn tied things up in the second when Brochu’s sacrifice fly scored Connor Perry, but Lawrence retired 16 of the last 19 batters he faced. Of those three who reached base, one was on a looper just out of Ryan Pratt’s reach, one was on an error and the other was on a two-out walk in the seventh.

“(Colton) gets stronger as he goes on,” Gunzinger said. “He’s well-taught. He does the right things. Some kids would buck up the tent when that kid hit the home run — he crushed that thing. But he pitched a lot better after.”

The two teams combined for eight errors, many on grounders that ate up fielders after bouncing off the hard infield. In the Franklin fourth, Johnny Hart led off by reaching on an error, and pinch hitter Anthony Franchetti drew a walk. Ryan Pratt moved the runners along with a bunt, and after Hart scored on a wild pitch, Lawrence and Herrin each delivered RBI singles.

That made it 7-4, which turned out to be more than enough the way Lawrence was pitching. The Flyers continued to hustle and play aggressively, stealing two bases in the sixth. On one play, Lawrence was running with the pitch and took two bases when it went to the backstop.

“They stayed on top of it,” Red Barn coach Eric Brown said of Franklin. “They just kept battling and fighting, and we got flat. Once we got behind, we just couldn’t get back into it.”

RTD 10, THE FIRST 4: RTD improved to 9-4 behind a victory over The First (4-5) in Rockland.

Taylor Bacon struck out eight, walked one and allowed just two earned runs in the complete-game win, while Trevor Hisler had three hits — including a double — and a pair of RBIs. D.J. Allen added three singles and two RBIs, while Derek LeBlanc, Chase Nelson and Chase Malloy all had two hits as well.

GARDINER 5, POST 51 4: Jake Martin scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by Kyle Fletcher in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Gardiner the win.

Martin led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a Jake Bannister single before scoring on the squeeze play.

Ben Allen added two singles and a double in the win, while Brady Dion had a pair of singles.

Jake Dexter and Devon Wilkie each finished with a pair of singles for Post 51.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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