OAKLAND — Messalonskee starting pitcher Josh Joy threw strikes to Cony batters and allowed his defense to play a game of “Can you top this?” during Monday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A matchup. That contest continued, and the game concluded in fittingly spectacular fashion, even after Joy tired and left the mound in the seventh inning.

Joy allowed three hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings and Jake Dexter went 2-for-3 with a home run and four runs batted in as the Eagles tripped up the Rams, 8-1.

Joy gave up just a bunt single and the three walks through the first six innings. The defense wasn’t perfect behind him, committing one error, but it more than made up for it with outstanding plays by Dexter at third base, Sam Bell in right field and two show-stoppers for double plays by second baseman Ben Frazee.

“Spectacular,” Joy said to describe his defense. “We expect our players to make plays like that.”

Dexter crushed a hanging 0-2 curve by Cony starter Justin Rodrigue to left-center to put the Eagles (9-2) up 2-0 in the first.

“I think that was big,” Messalonskee coach Pete McLaughlin said. “He started getting going and we started having some energy. He’s our leader out there. It started with the home run and then he had a rocket at third where he threw a guy out. Everybody plays off of him, and when he has a game like he did today, everyone’s kind of on the edge of their seat wanting to do the next best thing. When we’re playing like that, we’re tough to beat.”

Colby Dexter got the defense started in the top of the second with a nice running catch in the left-center gap to rob Tayler Carrier of potential extra bases. Jake Dexter followed with the aforementioned play to nab Mitchell Caron at first.

Bell’s diving catch in foul territory retired Thomas Foster to lead off the third. The play looked even bigger after Joy got into his first jam with a walk to Connor Perry and a wild pitch that moved him to second. Kolbe Merfeld reached on a bunt single, then stole second to put runners at second and third with two out. Joy wiggled out of trouble by getting Reid Shostak looking at a two-seam fastball over the inside corner.

“For a sophomore, he has a lot of composure out there,” McLaughlin said. “He works hard during the off-season and so he’s not the typical sophomore out there. He goes out there with an approach.”

“He started off a little wild, but then he settled down. He’s a great young pitcher,” senior catcher Trevor Gettig said. “You’ve got to be careful of Shostak and Carrier. They’re a two-man wrecking ball. You get into a situation where they can do some damage and you’ve got to be careful. But we attacked the rest of the lineup and hoped we could avoid getting into those situations.”

Messalonskee doubled its lead in the fourth with a sacrifice fly by Bell, then stole a run with two out when Gettig broke for second and got into a rundown. Not only did he stay in the pickle long enough to score Jonathan Wilkie from third, he forced a bad throw to second base and ended up at third, although he was stranded there.

The Eagles doubled their lead again in the sixth. Zach Mathieu drew a bases loaded walk to make it 5-0. Jake Dexter then cleared the bases with a single that got by the center fielder.

Frazee turned in his first defensive gem in the fifth, making a diving stop to his right on Thomas Foster’s grounder and flipping it with his glove to Jared Cunningham at second base. Cunningham made a nice play to catch the high flip while keeping his foot on the bag and throw to first to complete the double play.

Cony (6-4) got on the board and chased Joy in the seventh with singles by Caron, Tyler Tardif and Foster. Connor Garland came on to face pinch hitter Ben Leet, who promptly hit a line drive to a diving Frazee, who threw to second to double-up the runner and end the game.

“I’m not disappointed at all. We had some really good swings on the bat today. That’s probably one of the top two or three teams in the conference, probably the state,” Cony coach Don Plourde said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.