AUGUSTA — There are few substitutes for experience, and while the Cony baseball team has plenty of on-the-job training this season, rival Gardiner entered the season ready to play.

They met for the second time this season Tuesday afternoon, and for the second time the Tigers came away with a win. Gardiner survived a couple of late Cony rallies for a 6-3 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference victory.

Gardiner finishes the regular season at 12-4 and awaits the final Heal point standings in Class B North to see who it will host in a prelim game next week. Cony finishes at 4-12 in Class A North and will miss the postseason.

The Rams started four freshmen Tuesday, including starting pitcher Kyle Douin, who was roughed up early for three runs in the first two innings but settled down to keep his team in the game.

 

Staff photo by Andy Molloy Cony shortstop Mike Boivin stops a drive at shortstop during a game against Gardiner on Tuesday Augusta.

Cole Lawrence started for the Tigers and the senior right-hander held Cony scoreless through five innings.

“I felt great,” Lawrence said. “I was really relying on my defense today and they did well.”

Lawrence escaped damage in the fourth when the Tigers turned a double play, and in the fifth Gardiner left-fielder Garrett Lunt threw Mike Levesque out at home as he tried to score from second on Matt Wozniak’s base hit.

The Tigers added two runs in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead with Lawrence, Casey Bourque and Lunt contributing key hits. Douin left after five innings in favor of another freshman, Bob Stolt.

“He wasn’t as sharp today as he was last game,” Cony coach Don Plourde said of Douin. “But he still battled, and I love the fact he loves to compete.”

Staff photo by Andy Molloy Gardiner’s Cam Bourassa can’t reach a liner during a game Tuesday against Cony in Augusta.

Gardiner made it 6-0 in the top of the sixth when Issac Gammon singled and scored on Lawrence’s groundout, but the Rams didn’t fold. Levesque doubled for the second time with one out in the sixth and Stolt and Eli Bezanson followed with base hits, the second scoring Levesque.

“I think after five innings they started to time me up,” Lawrence said. “I was starting to get a little hot and a little gassed.”

Logan Porter relived Lawrence with the bases loaded, one out and three runs in and got Michael Boivin on an infield pop-up and fanned leadoff hitter Riley Geyer to end the inning.

“They gut it out,” Coach Lawrence said. “When things get tough they just gut it out. They don’t get rattled.”

Cony loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh on Gardiner first error of the game and base hits from Tyler Dostie and Levesque. But Porter got the next two hitters on outfield fly balls and Wozniak grounded out to end the game.

Bourque and Lunt had two hits apiece for the Tigers while Dostie, Bezanson and Ashton Cunningham each singled twice for the Rams and Levesque doubled twice and singled. Levesque and Dostie are the only two seniors on the team.

“We knew it was going to be kind of an uphill battle, a lot of learning curves,” Levesque said. “But the season went better as it went on, a lot of growth. These young guys will only be getting better as well.”

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