GARDINER — The players from Erskine Academy lined up in front of the visitors dugout and applauded respectfully and patiently as Gardiner honored its 10 seniors in their final regular season game at Hoch Field.

The Eagles didn’t wait around long to take a heel turn and spoil their hosts’ senior day.

Erskine roared out to a 6-0 lead and refused to let up to put Gardiner away in five innings, 12-1, in both teams’ regular season finale.

The Eagles clubbed 11 hits, more than enough to counter the two singles starting pitcher Noah Bonsant allowed in 4 1/3 innings. Nick Turcotte, Erskine’s No. 9 hitter, singled, doubled, tripled, and drove in four runs. Cody Taylor doubled, tripled and walked while driving in two and scoring two runs.

“I think we’re just hungry,” Taylor said of the victory, the Eagles’ eighth in a row since losing to the Tigers 5-3 on May 9. “One through nine, I think we have a strong lineup and going into the playoffs that’s going to mean a lot.”

“It gave us a little extra oomph in our step to beat them,” Bonsant added of the May 9 loss.

The Eagles (13-3), who clinched a bye to the Class B North quarterfinals, jumped on senior starter Eli Fish in the first inning with Taylor’s RBI double and Turcotte’s seeing-eye, two-run single the big blows. Caleb Barden and Cody Beaudoin added RBI singles.

Erskine tacked on single runs in the third — on Turcotte’s RBI triple — and again in the fourth when Taylor walked, stole second, moved to third on cleanup hitter Barden’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Bonsant’s ground out.

Having his cleanup hitter bunt with a seven-run lead was one of many signs that Erskine coach Lars Jonassen wasn’t going to let his team give Gardiner an opening.

“We wanted to get out of here. Our program is still building and sometimes you just have to do that,” he said. “In high school baseball, eight runs is not that much.”

The Eagles added the final four runs in the fifth just to make sure, with RBI singles from Turcotte and Dylan Presby coupled with Taylor’s run-scoring triple.

Bonsant struck out two, walked two and hit a batter before Jonassen brought in his closer, Zack Glidden, to finish it off with the last two outs.

“I think the key for us lately is we’ve been pretty lights-out pitching in terms of bases on balls, and today I thought Noah did a great job,” Jonassen said.

“I wouldn’t be able to do what I did without the defense behind me, because they had a lot of good plays,” Bonsant added.

The Eagles’ only two fielding miscues, an errant pickoff throw to first by Bonsant and a dropped fly ball in left, led to Gardiner’s lone run in the fifth.

Nic Berube and Logan Peacock had the Gardiner (9-7) hits. The Tigers will play a prelim game next week, although the final Heals won’t be settled until later this week.

“It just snowballed after that first inning,” Gardiner coach Russ Beckwith said. “I don’t think there was anything that was overwhelming for us. I just think that we didn’t bring our best effort today. Kudos to them. They put a good program together. It was a much different look the second time around for them.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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