May 10, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Lachance, Lucas come up big in victory

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- This year's Cony High School baseball team won't knock your socks off like some of their recent home-run hitting ball clubs. But the Rams find a way to get the job done.

click image to enlarge

YOU’RE OUT: Skowhegan’s Kaleb Brown, left, can’t beat the pick-off throw back to first base in time and gets tagged out by Cony’s Ben Lucas on Friday in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

LOOK OUT: Skowhegan shortstop Kameron Wallace leaps out of the way of sliding Cony baserunner Mitchell Caron on Friday in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Friday, senior Zack Lachance pitched a three-hitter and his teammates came through with some timely hits in a 4-2 win against Skowhegan in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A action at Morton Field.

Cony (8-2) scored a couple of runs in the first inning off Skowhegan starter Chase Nelson and Lachance held the Indians at bay until the seventh when he allowed a pair of unearned runs on three errors.

"I felt good," said Lachance (3-1), who walked the second batter he faced then promptly picked him off first. "I haven't thrown all week. I probably should have warmed up a little more."

Once the senior right-hander found his groove, he kept the Indians off balance with his curve ball. He finished with seven strikeouts and one walk.

"When he gets his curve ball going, it makes his fastball that much better," Cony coach Don Plourde said. "His curve ball's almost like a slider. It's not sharp-breaking, but he certainly hits spots with it."

Skowhegan (5-5) played without 11 players, who were suspended four games for violating the school's disciplinary code and watched from the stands. The Indians hung tough, though, getting a strong pitching performance from junior Chase Nelson.

"He's a fighter," Skowhegan coach Rick York said. "He's done a real good job pitching for us. He was all over the zone."

The Rams scored twice against Nelson in the first inning but had a run taken off the board when Spencer Buck was called for interference. Cleanup batter Ben Lucas singled home a pair of runs and finished with three hits and three RBIs.

"He's done a much better job of using the middle of the field this year," Plourde said. "Jake Lachance, who works with hitters a lot, has been really emphasizing that."

Lucas singled home a run in the third inning after Chandler Shostak doubled. Freshman Reid Shostak, playing right field, made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch of Chase McKenney's foul ball in the second inning.

"Catch of the year," Plourde said.

Lachance cruised into the seventh and had one out when Trey Michonski and McKenney reached on back to back errors. Both moved up on a passed ball and scored when Lachance threw high on a pickoff attempt at third base.

"That's on me," said Plourde, who called the pickoff play from the dugout. "We play aggressive and that's on me."

Skowhegan's players will return after Monday's game against Messalonskee. The team has gone 0-3 in their absence.

"I'm real proud of how they've handled the whole situation," York said. "We're staying together and we will not falter as a team."

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com

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