BANGOR — Colton Lawrence was tired. Going into the ninth inning of Saturday morning’s play-in game against Westbrook, the Franklin County pitcher had thrown 114 pitches. Lawrence wasn’t tired enough, however, to hand the ball over to manager Kyle Gunzinger.

“My brain told me I should (take him out), but he told me he wanted another one (inning). So we gave him one more,” Gunzinger said.

Lawrence battled in the ninth, getting out of a runners on first and second base jam with the help of a double play, giving Franklin a 4-1 win at the Winkin Complex at Husson University. Franklin now moves on to the double elimination American Legion state tournament, where it will play Pastime of Lewiston on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30.

“I knew I had to get it across the plate. We have a good defense. They hit the ball to our infielders and made outs. That’s how I got out of it,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence ended the game with 127 pitches, allowing five hits and three walks with six strikeouts. The Flyers turned a pair of double plays in defense of Lawrence, and he helped himself by picking Westbrook’s Brett Goodnow off second base in the fifth inning.

DJ Henrikson and Goodnow hit back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the fifth, and a wild pitch moved them up to second and third base with nobody out. Lawrence struck out Bailey Sawyer for one out. With Goodnow taking a big lead off second base, Lawrence made eye contact with second baseman Cam Abbott, letting him know the pick off throw was coming.

“The runner on second was getting cocky,” Lawrence said. “He was taking a big lead, so I took a look, the lead was getting big, so I picked him off.”

A groundout to short ended the inning, and Westbrook didn’t score.

“If you watched it, it was just a little nod between the two of them. Cam and (Lawrence), they go back a little bit,” Gunzinger said.

Between the fifth and eighth innings, Lawrence retired nine hitters in a row, and got out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth. Catcher Andrew Pratt said Lawrence had a good fastball and a good curve. By throwing the curve in counts the Westbrook hitters wouldn’t expect, Lawrence kept them off balance the entire game.

“It had them all screwed up. They didn’t know what was coming,” Pratt said.

Franklin took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and never trailed. After Ryan Pratt reached on an error and Lawrence walked, Andrew Pratt hit a single down the right field line to score his brother with the game’s first run. Abbott followed with a sacrifice fly to center to push the lead to 2-0.

“I got two strikes on me, and I was thinking the curveball was coming, and that’s what came. It was outside, so I took it over the first baseman’s head, and we got a big run in,” Andrew Pratt said.

After Westbrook scored an unearned run in the second, Franklin added a run in the top of the third when Andrew Pratt (2 for 4 with two runs) scored on Jay Chennard’s single. Amos Herrin’s sacrifice fly to right scored Pratt in the fifth for a 4-1 lead.

Bailey Ryan threw eight plus innings for Westbrook, allowing six hits and four walks while striking out four. Henrikson hit two singles for Westbrook.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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