Lawrence’s Logan Carpenter pops up a pitch from Cony’s Kyle Douin on Wednesday in Augusta. Cony catcher Aiden Fleck is at lower right. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — Kyle Douin had an excellent sophomore season for the Cony baseball team. He didn’t have one at all as a junior.

As a senior, though, he’s picked up right where he left off.

Dominant throughout the game and clutch late, Douin struck out 12 while throwing a one-hitter, then hit a tie-breaking two-run double in the bottom of the sixth as Cony defeated Lawrence 5-2 on Wednesday.

“I’m feeling great right now. It was a great team win,” he said. “We got down early, but we came back in the end when it mattered and we fought like a team.”

After leading the staff for a Cony team that made the A North quarterfinals in 2019, Douin was poised to become one of the best pitchers in Class A in his junior year. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, however, those plans were dashed. Or, at least delayed.

“It was very disappointing,” he said. “Every game, I’m trying to play it like it’s my last. Because it very well could be.”

Cony High’s Kris Hinkley waits for a pitch while masked teammates watch from the dugout during a game against Lawrence on Wednesday in Augusta. The Maine Principals’ Association announced earlier in the day that it is dropping its mask requirement for outdoor high school sports. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

He was sharp on Wednesday. He went to three balls on only three batters all game, and kept his pitch count low enough to finish what he started. Douin needed 102 pitches to finish the seven innings.

“I was just trying to throw strikes. Make them hit the pitch, rather than give them free bases, give them free passes,” he said. “Just pound the zone early.”

“This is kind of the first time we’ve let him air it out,” Cony coach Don Plourde said. “In game one, I think he threw 28 pitches. We’ve been really watching guys this spring and making sure we have them for June. And he got stronger as the game went on.”

With Douin staying in the zone, Lawrence coach Rusty Mercier told his hitters they were going to have to earn the bases they got.

“The one adjustment we tried to make was to swing early in the zone, because he was in the strike zone a lot” he said. “And try to look fastball, but he of course had a nice off-speed pitch, too. He’s a good pitcher.”

And yet, for a while it looked like it wasn’t going to be enough. Lawrence sophomore Ben Ryder, who learned on the bus ride over that he would be getting the ball, was dueling the Cony senior and slipping out of every threat the Rams mounted. As the bottom of the sixth began, the Bulldogs led 2-1.

Lawrence baserunner Ben Ryder dives back to first base in time to beat the attempted pickoff throw during a game against Cony on Wednesday in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“He did a really nice job,” said Mercier, whose teams got runs in the third inning from Ryder and Andrew Trombley, who had the lone hit. “He’s pitched well so far for us. Today I was hoping to get three, four innings out of him, but he went deep, which is nice.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Cony looked to its ace to get it done at the plate as well. The Rams had already tied the score on a wild pitch, and Douin came to the plate against Zach Nickerson with runners on first and third and one out. He got a 2-2 pitch and hit it over center fielder Andrew Trombley’s head, scoring James Presti and Brayden Barbeau with the go-ahead runs.

Douin later scored to make it 5-2 on a rundown play, and punctuated the win by striking out the side in the seventh.

“I had a few rough at-bats (earlier), but I knew I had to let that go and focus on this one at-bat,” Douin said. “I was just thinking I’ve got to hit the ball hard somewhere, get that run in. And when it came off the bat, I was like ‘That felt good. Go, go!'”

Cony baseball players chat in the dugout before a a game against Lawrence on Wednesday in Augusta. New rules allow players to be unmasked on the field but they must wear them when in the dugout. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Douin did it all, but he was the first to acknowledge that he didn’t do it himself. He credited the bottom of the Rams’ order — No. 7 batter Kris Hinkley, No. 8 batter Presti and No. 9 batter Davis Kibler — with sparking the Cony offense. The three had nine plate appearances, reached base on seven of them, and keyed the sixth-inning rally when Hinkley led off with a double to left-center, Presti drew a walk and Kibler moved them into scoring position with a perfect bunt.

“They were the ones who started this,” Douin said. “Without them, we probably don’t win this game.”

“That’s what we talk about,” said Plourde, whose team got a double and run from Isaac Gammon in the fourth. “The five-through-nine guys, those are the guys that get the job done.”

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