AUGUSTA — An elimination game between Skowhegan and Pastime Club of Lewiston at the state American Legion baseball tournament began with a controversial ejection of a Pastime player and coach, but the final result revolved around Skowhegan pitcher Cody Laweryson and his hard-hitting teammates.

Laweryson struck out 13 in seven innings of work and contributed a three-run triple among Skowhegan’s 11 hits en route to a 9-4 victory.

Skowhegan, 2-1 in the double-elimination and 18-11 overall, faces Rogers Post of Auburn at 11 a.m. today at Morton Field. Zone 2 champion Pastime finishes at 22-2 after entering the tournament unbeaten.

Home plate umpire Kevin Joyce ejected the game’s second batter, Pastime catcher Brock Belanger, after he complained about a called third strike. In the ensuing argument, Mark Belanger, an assistant coach for Pastime, was also thrown out of the game. Pastime head coach Jake Brown addressed both issues following the game.

“We didn’t lose the game because of the umpires,” Brown said. “We lost because they got some hits … and they had a really good pitcher on the mound and we couldn’t get hits.”

Brown added he thought Brock Belanger’s ejection was premature.


“High school sports is in a scary situation right now,” he said. “These umpires have absolutely no accountability. … To toss a kid out for saying ‘Jesus,’ and him admitting to that, that’s a scary situation because you’re going to toss out a lot of kids.”

Laweryson pitched two innings Thursday before being lifted by head coach Roger Stinson with his team in front 14-0. Stinson wavered between starting Laweryson or Dustin Crawford, but went with Laweryson after talking to him while both pitchers warmed up prior to the game.

“You could see it in his face,” Stinson said. “He wanted the ball.”

Laweryson struck out the side in the first two innings and fanned four more in innings three and four, spotting his fastball while also catching two batters looking at sharp-breaking curves.

“I was attacking hitters, that’s what I always like to do,” Laweryson said. “I don’t like to walk guys. Just attack the zone and let my fielders make plays.”

As was the case in another elimination game Thursday, every batter in the Skowhegan lineup had at least one hit.


“We had a talk after our first game here (an 11-3 loss),” Stinson said. “We talked about not coming out flat. We need to attack the pitcher, not wait. … Now we are spanking the baseball.”

The team got to Pastime starter Lucas Francis for five runs in the third inning. Base hits by Mike Berry and Evan Bess put runners at second and third, and Berry scored on a safety squeeze by Adam Turcotte. A walk to Ryan Emery loaded the bases for Laweryson, who delivered a screaming line drive to right center. Center fielder Hunter Landry took a step in then slipped and fell as he tracked the liner, and the ball sailed over his head for a three-run triple.

“He’s a great center fielder,” Brown said. “I think he’s one of the best center fielders in the state. That was hit very, very hard. There’s nothing you could do with that.”

Skowhegan added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth with Brendan Curran, Will Stinson and Chase Malloy picking up RBIs. Laweryson, who is headed to the University of Maine this fall on a baseball scholarship, crusied into the sixth before encountering any trouble. Evan Cox opened the inning with a base hit and recent Monmouth Academy graduate Gage Cote beat out a bunt. After two were out, Austin Wing delivered a two-run single and Kyle Bourget singled home a third run.

“I think I might have relaxed a little too much,” Laweryson “I was throwing a lot of fastballs, I wasn’t really mixing it up. But they started squaring me up in that inning.”

Laweryon got the side in order in the seventh, including a pair of strikeouts, before giving way to Emery for the final two innings. In addition to fanning 13, he allowed six singles, hit a batter and didn’t walk anyone. He’s still eligible to pitch three innings in the tournament, but Stinson pointed out he has two starting pitchers he hasn’t used yet.

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