AUGUSTA — Thanks to the cold wind whipping in from left field at Morton Field, Cony pitcher Thomas Foster had a hard time gripping the baseball early in Friday’s home opener against Lewiston.

When an opportunity to win the game with his bat presented itself later, however, Foster wasn’t about to let it slip through his fingers.

Foster’s single to left-center in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Reid Shostak with the winning run as Cony rallied from a 2-0 deficit and picked up its first win of the season, 3-2.

Foster, who like most of the Rams had been stymied by Lewiston starter Austin Wing for most of the day, hit a sharp grounder past the diving Lewiston shortstop on a 1-1 pitch to plate Shostak without a play at the plate. Shostak had reached on a one-out throwing error by the shortstop.

“I’m speechless. It’s an unreal feeling,” Foster said. “I was just looking for a fastball in the middle of the plate and that’s what I got.”

Not long before his hitting heroics, it appeared all Foster would get was a tough-luck loss to Wing, who limited the Rams (1-1) to just a Ben Leet infield hit and a walk through six very efficient innings. He took the mound for the seventh with just 62 pitches thrown.

“I thought we were a little impatient in the early innings, swinging at some first pitches and not making him work,” Cony coach Don Plourde said. “The last inning, we took a strike and I think it allowed guys to relax, and we had some big hits in that inning.”

Spencer Buck got the game-tying rally started with a leadoff double down the left field line. He moved to third on Foster’s ground out to second, then scored when Justin Rodrigue reached on an infield error.

Evan Bowers followed with an infield single, moving Rodrigue, representing the tying run, into scoring position. Wing struck out Leet looking for the second out, but Tyler Tardiff ripped an 0-1 pitch to center for a single. The shortstop’s relay throw to the plate was high as Rodrigue slid in head first with the tying run.

“As the No. 9 hitter, I was expecting fastball, and he gave me one right down the middle,” Tardiff said. “I haven’t gotten a hit all year, so it was a good feeling.”

“Nobody’s happier for Tyler than I am,” Plourde added. “He’s a senior. He struggled in the preseason. But he’s a good hitter and I had all of the faith in the world in him.”

In the first inning, a leadoff walk and an error on an ensuing sacrifice bunt attempt came back to haunt Foster. Carter Chabot singled in Ryan Bell with the game’s first run and David Cusson made it 2-0 by stealing home on a double steal.

Foster (8 IP, three hits, one earned run, six strikeouts, three walks) flourished from there, allowing just one base runner as far as third and retiring 10 of the last 11 batters.

“I settled in,” Foster said. “My fastball was definitely on today. My curveball, I didn’t have a very good day with that thing.”

“He pitched his heart out,” Plourde added. “Early in the game, he had trouble getting grips on the baseball. He was pitching from behind a lot. I think as the game wore on, he started to get a little warmer and a little more comfortable and in the middle innings he started getting first-pitch strikes and that was huge.”

Wing (7 IP, one earned run, five hits, three Ks, three walks) worked the corners of the plate and reached just four three-ball counts all day (not including one intentional walk).

“He threw a lot of strikes. We played tremendous defense. There were a lot of plays at the beginning of the game where you were, like, ‘Wow, we’re really feeling it,'” Lewiston coach Andrew Cessario said. “We manufactured a couple of runs in the first inning. But that’s a good ball club and they came at it and got us at the end. You’ve got to tip your cap to that.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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