WATERVILLE — Gardiner and Waterville have combined for 22 wins this season, but both were hungry for Heal points when they met on the baseball diamond Friday. Whoever emerged victorious would boost their chances considerably of hosting at least one tournament game.

Waterville picked up the 5-2 victory and a boost in the Heals thanks to a big fourth inning, some gritty pitching from A.J. Godin and several big plays from its defense.

“It’s a very big win,” said Godin, who allowed eight hits and walked one while fanning two. “We keep winning games but going down in the Heal points. It doesn’t make any sense.”

“If we’re in 13th (in the Eastern B Heal point standings) in the morning, I’ll be calling the MPA,” said Waterville coach Don Sawyer, whose team is 7-1 since losing to the Tigers, 4-1, in Gardiner three weeks ago. “It was huge to get this, on senior day no less.”

Seniors came up huge for the Purple Panthers (11-4). Corey Huerfano had a single and a double and drove in two runs. Ben Cox had an RBI single and right fielder Cody Lyons threw out a runner at the plate.

Godin, another senior, benefited from three double plays. He set the tone himself in the first by ranging off the mound to catch a soft bloop to the first base side and doubling-up Eli Fish at first.

In the fifth, Fish (two hits) singled to right field in hopes of scoring Hunter Chasse from second, but Lyons unleashed a strike to the plate and Huerfano applied the tag to end the inning.

“We practice that stuff all the time, and our right fielder Cody Lyons has been doing it all year in practice. He hasn’t really gotten an opportunity (in a game), but he showed it there,” Huerfano said.

Gardiner (11-4) starter Nic Berube got a little help from his defense, too, when Logan Peacock made a diving catch in center field charging in on a ball that would have scored Huerfano for the game’s first run if it dropped in..

A defensive mistake cost the Tigers in the next inning, though. With runners on first and second, Godin’s sacrifice bunt attempt ended up scoring Dan Pooler to break the scoreless tie when the catcher’s high throw to first tipped off the glove of the second baseman.

Cox followed with his RBI single to make it 2-0, then Huerfano doubled the lead with a two-run single to left.

“I haven’t been hitting as well this year, but the last week or so I’ve been choking up and doing some drills,” Huerfano said. “I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable at the plate.”

Gardiner finally got to Godin in the sixth. With two on and nobody out, Brad Weston hit a deep fly to center that Andrew Rodrigue couldn’t quite track down, scoring Peacock. Godin hit Brady Smith to load the bases, then allowed an RBI single by Ryan Kelley that made it 4-2.

Still with nobody out, Godin got Chasse to hit a bouncer to third. Pooler fielded it, tagged the bag and fired home, where Huerfano tagged Weston for the Panthers’ third double play. Godin ended the threat with a force out at second.

“The defense was fantastic. You can’t ask for much better,” Godin said.

“We hit the ball enough, but it was one base at a time, station-to-station baseball, which, being down, is kind of the way you have to play it,” Gardiner coach Russell Beckwith said.

Godin sent the Tigers down 1-2-3 in the seventh, as Pooler provided a fitting ending with a diving stop and throw to first on a Peacock smash.

“We come off a game where we made seven errors up to MCI and it’s kind of like, ‘OK, which team are we going to be today?” Sawyer said. “But that’s more of what we expected from our team all year, with our senior infielders and Cody Lyons, a senior, in right field, that they could get it done.”

Each team has one game left in the regular season — both scheduled for Monday — and should be able to secure a home game with a win. Gardiner hosts Winslow while Waterville goes on the road to face Maranacook.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: #RAWmaterial33