SOUTH CHINA — Many high school baseball teams have that midseason game in which the pitching is just gone, when strikes are a limited resource and the plate seems like a moving target.

On Friday afternoon, both Belfast and Erskine Academy had that game.

This Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game wasn’t decided until Erskine’s Cody Beaudoin came on to pitch with two out in the top of the sixth innig. Beaudoin got the final out of the sixth, and after allowing a leadoff single in the seventh, struck out the side to clinch an 8-5 win for Erskine.

The win avenges a 3-1 loss at Belfast in the season opener by the Eagles, and puts both teams at 6-4 heading into the final stretch of the regular season. The win was the fifth in a row for Erskine.

“The last time we played them, we had one preseason game. We had some kids who hadn’t played sports since soccer season,” Erskine catcher Nick Turcotte said. “We’re really clicking right now.”

The two teams combined to use eight pitchers — four each — and issued a combined 13 walks.

“I figured there’s going to be a time when we’re going to have to, and we’re pretty fortunate to have four guys that can go. Cody’s had some tough finishes. He’s a tough guy,” Erskine coach Mark Bailey said.

It appeared that the Eagles had the game well in hand after they scored three runs in the fourth inning and four more in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Zack Isbell’s single with the bases loaded in the fifth scored Turcotte, and Erskine had a six-run cushion.

“That really shifted the momentum our way. It helped us come into some confidence, and obviously helped out in the end, with the three run lead,” Turcotte, who drove in a run in the fourth with a sacrifice fly to left field and another in the fifth with a single, said.

Erskine’s momentum didn’t last long. The Lions answered in the top of the sixth with three runs on just two hits. When Lucien Smith scored on an error, the Eagles’ lead was down to 8-5. Belfast was aided by three walks in the inning.

“In this league, everybody’s hitting. Everybody’s scoring runs. You’ve just got to get baserunners and put the pressure on,” Bailey said. “Everybody just seems to tighten up. I don’t think it’s been the cleanest baseball in the league this year, us included, but certainly the guys making the fewest mistakes is coming out on top lately.”

Ryan Rodrigue got the start for Erskine, and was relieved by Nate Howard in the fifth. Zach Glidden came on in the sixth for the Eagles, before giving way to Beaudoin, who got the final four outs for the save.

For Belfast, Matt Smith started and was relieved by Drew Stanky in the fourth. Smith and Peter Spectre also pitched for the Lions.

Erskine took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run to left field by Rodrigue in the first inning. Belfast answered in the second when Matt Smith singled to score Alex Canning.

Rodrigue, Beaudoin and Alex Browne each scored two runs for Erskine. Lucien Smith scored twice for the Lions.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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