FAIRFIELD — Stopping an opposing rally demanded a big defensive play from the Lawrence baseball team. Thanks to Connor Nutting, the Bulldogs got one.

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh inning of what would be a 1-0 Lawrence victory, Cony’s Aiden Fleck hit a shallow, looping ball just over the head of the Bulldogs’ pitcher, Logan Carpenter. It was the type of awkwardly moving ball that could easily have forced a throwing error or defensive misplay to score multiple runs.

Instead, Nutting, playing in a little bit as a result of the situation, made a diving catch for the inning’s first out. Sprawled out on the ground, the Lawrence second baseman heard his teammates shouting to inform him he had a shot at another.

“I dove down, and then I heard everyone yelling, ‘Second! Third!’” Nutting said. “I looked up and saw their guy on third base was off, so I was able to make the throw over and get two.”

The double play was exactly what Lawrence needed to stop Cony’s final bid at a comeback attempt in a battle between two of the top teams in Class B North. The one-run victory helped the Bulldogs preserve their place toward the top of the standings with just three games left until the playoffs.

Lawrence (10-3) put a runner on third in the bottom of the first inning but failed to score as Cony’s Sam Flannery made a diving catch in center field for the third out. Although the Bulldogs would put two runners in scoring position an inning later, the Rams again emerged unscathed as a long flyout to center ended the home team’s scoring threat.


After Cony (11-2) failed to capitalize on its own scoring threat in the top of the fourth, Lawrence finally broke through for the game’s lone run in the bottom of the inning. The Bulldogs’ Nate Grard walked to begin the inning and advanced to second on a pair of fielder’s choices before Gavin Lunt ripped a single to right off the Rams’ Brayden Barbeau to give the home team the lead.

“That was a lefty-vs.-lefty situation against a guy who was doing a good job of keeping us off-balance and staying in the strike zone, and that’s not easy,” said Lawrence head coach Rusty Mercier. “He was throwing a lot of offspeed stuff, but Gavin just stayed back and got a big two-out hit for us.”

Lawrence’s Gavin Wilson (20) is out at first after Cony pitcher Brayden Barbeau covered first base during a baseball game Monday in Fairfield. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Lawrence pitcher Logan Carpenter then retired the side in quick fashion in the fifth and sixth innings before Cony loaded the bases following a walk, an error and a bunt single by Barbeau. Nutting then stifled the rally with his diving catch and throw to third to double off Tyler Pelletier, and Carpenter followed by forcing a popout in foul territory to end the game.

“Connor as a second baseman has been growing all year, and he showed it there,” Mercier said. “Prior to that pitch, I said to the players, ‘Be aggressive; make a play.’ In a situation like that, your defense has to make a play, and Connor did that for us.”

Carpenter finished with nine strikeouts and one walk for Lawrence, while Barbeau finished with two strikeouts and four walks for Cony. Lunt, Andrew Trombley and Hunter Lee singled for the Bulldogs, and Barbeau, Tyler Pelletier (double) and Landon Foster (single) had hits for the Rams.

Carpenter’s complete-game shutout on the mound came as the Lawrence ace confounded a potent Cony lineup. The visitors struck out looking six times as Carpenter effectively mixed up a vast array of pitches to earn his second victory over the Rams this season.


“They saw me the first time we played them this year, so I knew we had to mix and match,” Carpenter said. “I mixed in a curveball and got a few of them looking at that, and my fastball got to them good. Like I said, I knew I had to mix because they’ve seen me before.”

A gust of wind catches the cap of Cony pitcher Brayden Barbeau as he fires a pitch to a Lawrence batter during a baseball game Monday in Fairfield. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Only Lawrence has been able to figure out Cony in the Rams’ move down from Class A to Class B this season. The Rams, who have beaten all other opponents this season, are 0-2 against the Bulldogs following the 1-0 defeat Monday and an 8-2 loss in the previous matchup May 2 in Augusta.

“We knew coming into this game that it was huge, so we’ve been putting in some extra work at practice before school,” Carpenter said. “This is the biggest confidence-booster we could have had, and you can see it in our dugout with how happy everyone is.”

It was a confidence-booster that might not have come without a key defensive play from his second baseman. Nutting’s catch and throw was, in Carpenter’s words, “the biggest play we’ll have all year.”

“That was huge,” Carpenter added. “It’s going to boost us the rest of the way.”

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