SOUTH CHINA — One team’s hope is another team’s doubt. So as Erskine Academy’s dugout got a little louder as the Eagles chiseled away at Lincoln Academy’s seven-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, Lincoln’s players felt everything getting tighter.

“I was nervous,” Lincoln catcher Wally Morris said. “I was definitely nervous.”

With the tying run at third base and the winning run at first, Lincoln finally got a ground ball out to end Erskine’s incredible rally and the game, and escaped with a 9-8 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B win.

Lincoln (3-2) led 9-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, and after getting two quick outs the win looked well in hand.

Not so fast.

Ryan Roderigue started Erskine’s comeback with a single. An error, a Nate Martin single, and another error extended the inning. Back-to-back RBI singles by Cody Beaudoin and Andrew Browne cut Lincoln’s lead to 9-6.

“We had three or four wins last year in our last at-bat, so we were going to fight to the last out, every time,” Erskine coach Mark Bailey said.

Zack Isbell, the 10th batter of the inning, hit a two-run single, and Erskine (1-3) was down just one run. When Luke Peabody swiped third base, the Eagles had the tying run at third base.

“Those are typically routine plays, a lot of those, and there should’ve been the third out,” Morris said of his team’s seventh inning errors. “In a way, that’s baseball. A lot of those hits were also put into good places.”

The game ended when relief pitcher Travis Creamer got a groundout from Tyler Bailey, and Lincoln was able to end Erskine’s improbable comeback.

This one was a scoreless pitcher’s duel between Erskine’s Rodrigue and Lincoln’s Devin Scherer for three innings. Lincoln pushed across a pair of runs in the fourth. Scherer, who led off the inning with a double, scored on a sacrifice fly to left field from Creamer. Brady Leeman, who reached on an error, scored on a Hunter Williams single.

It looked as though Lincoln broke the game open in the top of the fifth, when Morris hit a bases-clearing double to right center field. Erskine set up Morris’ big hit by intentionally walking Scherer to load the bases with one out. Morris, who struck out in his first at-bat and grounded out to second in the fourth, drove a 1-0 pitch in the gap, pushing Lincoln’s lead to 5-0.

“They saw my first at bat, and it was not pretty. It was rather ugly. I think they were taking a chance, and I broke it open. I’ve been all right this year in those kinds of situations,” Morris said.

Added coach Bailey: “I think it all broke apart for us when we put on Scherer. It’s a matter of pick your poison. Scherer or Morris. They’re both great hitters, experienced. We decided we’d go for a force, and (Morris) made us pay, that’s for sure. It was a good piece of hitting on his part.”

Morris added a two-run single in the top of the sixth inning to extend Lincoln’s lead to 8-0. Erskine got back a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth when Caleb Cummings scored on an error and Martin scored on a Browne groundout.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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