AUGUSTA — Tri-Town rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to sink Augusta 7-6 in a Zone 2 American Legion tournament elimination game Friday at Morton Field.

With the win, Poland-based Tri-Town (13-9) clinched a spot in next week’s state tournament. It also advanced to the championship round of the double-elimination tournament and lost later in the day to Bessey Motors, 12-2.

Augusta finishes 14-8.

Augusta’s only error of the game opened the door for the winning two-out rally. Matt Rabasco reached on an errant throw by the second baseman, then followed Tanner Marston home with the tying run on Ethan Cailler’s two-out, two-run single. After Kaleb Bridgham was hit by a pitch, Lucas Johnson doubled in him and Cailler to take a 7-5 lead.

“We gave them one too many chances,” Augusta coach Tim Rodrigue said. “I thought the pitching did well. That play at first base cost us the game really. They don’t score any runs that inning if we get that out.”

The Elks pulled within one in the ninth on Reid Shostak’s RBI double, but Brandon Hubbard struck out Tayler Carrier to strand the tying run at second and send Tri-Town to the next round.

“I was leaving some of my fastballs up, and they were able to hit it,” Hubbard said. “That’s when I realized my fastball was a little flat, so I stuck with the curve ball a little bit. Once I got it by him a couple of times, I said I’ve got to ride this train and see if I can get it by him again.”

Tri-Town, which lost to Bessey on the first day of the tournament then beat Pastime Club and Augusta to keep its season alive, outhit Augusta, 15-9. It pounded out 16 hits in Thursday’s 11-1 win over Pastime.

“We all have the same style of hitting,” said Bridgham, who singled, was beaned twice and scored two runs. “It’s really just staying relaxed, getting your front foot down, and getting that left hand or right hand to the ball.”

Shostak had two doubles and a single and drove in three runs. Kolbe Merfeld also had three hits, including an RBI double, for Augusta.

Shostak’s RBI single broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth. Merfeld made it 5-3 with an RBI double in the sixth.

Augusta put the first two on in the seventh and had a chance to increase the lead, but both runners got caught up in some confusion and were thrown out after Hubbard came in to relieve Bridgham and threw his first pitch in the dirt.

“I threw a curve ball in the dirt that just barely squeezed by Tanner. He was able to keep it close enough in range to get that double play,” Hubbard said. “That was a huge momentum shift for us.”

Marston led off the eighth with a single but was still at first with two down when Robasco reached on the error that preceded Cailler’s tying single.

Hubbard gave up back-to-back singles to Merfeld and Justin Rodrigue to start the ninth, then got Cam Brochu to ground into a huge 4-6-3 double play before Shostak’s second double pulled the Elks within one.

Cailler led Tri-Town with three singles. Shawn Murphy had an RBI double. Mitchel Davis had a two-run single.

Augusta lost one of its top pitchers, Payton Kennison, to a finger injury on Thursday. Kennison had a win and a save in their its two wins in the tournament.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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