AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, Lawrence High School sophomore Nick Grard made just his second start in the Bulldogs outfield. It’s fair to say Grard earned more playing time.

Grard had three hits, including the game-tying RBI single with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Brandon Hill’s RBI single in the eighth gave the Bulldogs the lead, and Riley Parlin finished his complete game by getting out of a jam in the bottom of the inning to preserve Lawrence’s 5-4 victory at Cony.

“He just had three very good at bats, and obviously the last one with two outs, coming through with the big hit for us. That was huge,” Lawrence (3-5) coach Rusty Mercier said of Grard.

Grard’s game-tying single scored Jacob Bickford, who reached on a fielder’s choice force out at second base, then took second when Parlin grounded out to third for the inning’s second out. Grard hit a 2-1 pitch back up the middle, scoring Bickford.

“I could hear my teammates cheering me on in the background, so that gave me a lot more confidence. Coach (Mercier) told me to hit a line drive so that’s what I did. I was looking for one up in the zone and that’s what I got,” Grard said.

In the top of the eighth, Hill came to bat with two on and one out after the Rams (1-5) intentionally walked Josh Dow. Hill dropped a single down the right field line, scoring Kolby Lawrence with the go-ahead run.

“When they put Josh on. I knew it was my time to hit. I knew they made a mistake when they put him on,” Hill said.

Added Mercier: “Hill, he was due. He’s been due for a while. That was a nice clutch at bat.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Parlin got two quick outs before walking Jake Dacus and giving up a single to Matt Wazniak to put the tying run on second base. Parlin got Mike Boivin to hit a soft line drive to Lawrence in center field, ending the game.

For the Rams, it was fourth one-run loss of the season.

“We swung the bat a lot better. We gave up a couple of runs, that’s baseball,” Cony coach Don Plourde said.

Lawrence scored two runs in the top of the first. Dow scored on a Jared Dodge single. Hill then scored from third when Dodge intentionally got into a rundown off first base. Cony answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on three hits and a pair of Bulldogs errors. Mitch McFarland’s RBI single gave Cony a 3-2 lead.

“We’ve had this type of game several times this year, where we don’t defend in the first inning and we find ourselves in a hole,” Mercier said. “That’s something we need to improve on, our mental focus at that time of the game. Riley stepped up big and threw a lot of strikes.”

After McFarland singled to score Taylor Heath and give Cony a 4-3 lead in the third inning, Parlin settled down, allowing just five baserunners over the final five innings. Heath was strong on the mound for Cony, pitching into the eighth before having to leave when he reached the maximum 110 pitches.

“The first outing of the season, I was hoping to get five (innings) out of him, and he threw great,” Plourde said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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