Depth is a coach’s best friend in any double-elimination tournament.

Several players contributed off the bench for Tim Rodrigue’s Augusta Elks in a 5-3 victory over Pastime Club in the Zone 2 American Legion on Wednesday. The Elks are now a victory on Thursday away from clinching a spot in the state tournament.

Cam Brochu belted three hits, including two doubles, and Reid Shostak drove in a pair of runs with a single and double to lead Augusta. Justin Rodrigue, Ryan Rodrigue and Payton Kennison combined on the mound to frustrate Pastime hitters to the tune of 11 runners left on base at McGuire Field.

Augusta (14-6) will meet top seed Bessey Motors (17-3) of South Paris in the winner’s bracket game at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Morton Field. The winner of that game automatically advances to the zone championship and earns a state berth. Pastime (14-6) of Lewiston will meet Tri-Town (11-9) of Poland in the loser’s bracket game also at 4:30 at McGuire Field.

Ray Mosca came off the bench to drive in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Tyler Bailey pinch hit in the ninth, walked, stole second and third and scored the insurance run when the throw on his the latter got away from the third baseman.

“Every player that I brought in for a sub contributed, got a hit, made a play in the field,” Augusta coach Tim Rodrigue said. “That last run we scored, that was just all-out effort on his part. Those kids come prepared. They play as a team.”

“This was a good team win today. Everyone helped out, really,” said first baseman Taylor Lockhart, who had a single and a sacrifice bunt that set up Mosca’s sac fly. “We’re a really deep team. They’re all big players on the team coming together as one. It’s good to see.”

Pastime rallied from down 3-1 to tie the game with single runs in the sixth and seventh against Ryan Rodrigue. Augusta took the lead back for good in the eighth when Mitchell Caron led off with a walk, moved to second on Tayler Carrier’s single, than to third on Lockhart’s bunt and scored on Mosca’s fly ball to left.

Pastime threatened to tie it again in the eighth. Kennison hit Matt Poulin to start the frame, then uncorked a wild pitch to move him to second. With one out, Caleb Dostie dropped a bloop single behind second, a ball that Mosca came close enough to catching to force Poulin to hold his ground at second.

The next batter, Gage Cote, blooped one to virtually the same spot, leaving Poulin in no-man’s land again. This time, he had no choice but to go to third when it landed in front of Mosca but was easily forced out. Kennison then struck out Brock Belanger looking to end the threat.

“In that situation, a shallow ball to left-center field, if he gets too overconfident thinking that ball’s going to drop, he gets doubled off second base,” Pastime coach Andrew Cessario said. “That’s the game of baseball.”

Kennison, who threw four innings of one-hit relief in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over Gardiner, set the side down in order in the ninth.

“The change of speed seems to be working well. If it works, we’re going to keep doing it,” Tim Rodrigue said.

“Payton’s always clutch. We know he’s going to come through,” Lockhart said. “We know if he has the lead by the eighth, we’re going to finish it.”

Augusta took a 2-0 lead off Pastime starter Austin Wing in the top of the first with a two-out rally. Brochu doubled, Shostak singled him home, stole second, then scored on Caron’s single.

Pastime got one back in the fourth on Gage Cote’s RBI single. Ryan Rodrigue relieved Justin Rodrigue and ended the rally when Lockhart beat Brock Belanger in a foot race to the first base bag. Pastime left seven runners on base through the first four innings.

“When you leave 11 guys on base, you’re really going to have to scrape or you’ve really got to have a stud pitching on the mound. You can’t leave that many guys and not execute in those situations,” Cessario said.

Augusta got the run back in the fifth when Ryan Rodrigue doubled with one out and scored on Shostak’s two-out double.

The Elks wore out the hole between shortstop and third for many of their 11 hits on the day.

“We hit the ball very well today and had a lot of hard outs,” Tim Rodrigue said.

Wing and R.J. Sargent had two hits apiece for Pastime.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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