SOUTH CHINA — In terms of baseball rarities, the sacrifice infield pop up is up there with the triple play and the successful hidden ball trick. They’re interesting to see, until they happen to you. On a sunny, windy Tuesday afternoon, the Erskine Academy baseball team witnessed the last sacrifice infield fly it will want to see.

Alex Baird’s bases-loaded pop up behind second base scored Zach Hartsgrove in the top of the fourth inning, and pitcher Josh Perry made the run hold up by retiring 11 of the final 12 Erskine hitters, giving the Warriors a 1-0 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B win.

This game will go far in determining playoff seeding for both Nokomis (9-1) and Erskine (8-3), each fighting for a bye into the regional quarterfinals.

“We played a good team and got a good win,” Nokomis coach Jared Foster said. “I think this game will carry us.”

Coaching third base, Foster judged the way the game was going and, when Baird hit his high pop up in the wind, took a calculated risk. Erskine second baseman Dylan Presby was backpedaling into center field when he made the catch, so Foster sent Hartsgrove from third. Hartsgrove scored easily, giving the Warriors the 1-0 lead.

“The wind was messing everybody up. I saw (Presby) backpedal, and with this wind, figured we had to take a gamble today,” Foster said.


“That was a great call by their coach,” Erskine coach Lars Jonassen said.

The Eagles prevented Nokomis from making the fourth a big inning one batter later. When Brad Allen singled to right field, Boomer Jorgensen made a good relay throw to first baseman Nate Howard, who fired a strike to catcher Nick Turcotte, who tagged out Gabe Gilley trying to score from second base.

“Nate’s the only guy who could throw him out. He has a cannon,” Jonassen said.

That defensive highlight was overshadowed by Erskine’s missed opportunities at the plate. In the second, third and fourth innings, the Eagles put two runners on base but came away empty each time. In both the third and fourth innings, Erskine put the first two hitters on, only to have Perry clamp down. After Andrew Browne reached on an error and Howard walked to open the fourth, Perry picked up back-to-back strikeouts and a foul pop to get out of his last jam of the game.

Perry finished with nine strikeouts to go with two walks and three hits. Perry felt like his two-seam fastball was his best pitch.

“It was tailing a lot more. At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t throwing it well, but I figured it out,” Perry said.


Noah Bonsant started for Erskine and threw 4 1/3 innings before giving the ball to Howard. Jonassen said the plan was to use both pitchers, keeping each available for Friday’s big game against Oceanside. The duo combined to allow seven hits and one walk while striking out six.

“(Perry) did a great job. We didn’t put the ball in play in big situations,” Jonassen said. “When you don’t get bunts down, you don’t get runs across.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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