American Legion baseball: Rogers, Pastime split doubleheader

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Roger’s Post’s catcher, Giles Paradie narrowly misses tagging Pastime’s Mitchell Frisbee out at home plate during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Rogers Post’s catcher Giles Paradie narrowly misses tagging Pastime’s Mitchell Frisbee out at home plate during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Catching both ends of a doubleheader isn’t easy. Not even the pros do it. But Brock Belanger and Giles Paradie wouldn’t have it any other way.

In fact, the Pastime Club and Rogers Post 153 receivers, respectively, might have even been game for a tripleheader the way they were hitting during Saturday’s American Legion doubleheader between the Twin Cities rivals.

Paradie collected five hits, including a home run and the game-winning single in Game 1, while Belanger collected three hits, including a big two-run double in Game 2, as the two teams earned a split of the twinbill. Rogers rallied for three runs in the seventh of a 5-3 win in Game 1. Pastime held on for a  6-5 victory in the second game.

Gavin Bates homered for Rogers (8-3) in Game 2, while Grant Hartley shook off a hitless first game to go 3-for-4 with a double in the nightcap. Austin Brown reached base five times and scored three runs on the day, while Damien St. Pierre drove in two runs and picked up the win on the mound in Game 1.

Jack LeBlond led Pastime (6-1) with four hits, including a double, while Gordon Beckwith had three hits and knocked in a pair of runs. Hunter Richardson gritted out the win on the mound in Game 2.

Paradie’s line drive home run to left to lead off the second inning of Game 1 put Rogers in front first. While hit very hard, the ball didn’t appear to have the trajectory to go out initially. But Paradie had no doubt he would be circling the bases.

“I knew it was gone when I hit it,” he said. “I said, ‘See ya,’ running down the first base line.”

St. Pierre sufficiently frustrated Pastime in the opener, scattering nine hits and stranding nine base runners in six innings before giving way to Ben Cassidy for the 1-2-3 save in the seventh.

“I’ve seen him better this year, but I thought he battled as well as he has this year,” Rogers coach Dave Jordan said of St. Pierre. “We started making some plays behind him as the game progressed.”

“He’s been pretty good for us recently,” Paradie said. “Pastime is good. (St. Pierre) calls a lot of what we do. We get (pitch) calls from the dugout, but if he disagrees, he knows what he wants to throw and where he wants to throw it.”

Pastime had at least one batter reach base in each of St. Pierre’s six innings but didn’t break through until the fifth, when it scored all three of its runs to take a 3-2 lead. Hunter Landry, Evan Cox and Beckwith had RBI singles.

Rogers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh to chase starter Landry, then tied it on Owen Cox’s four-pitch walk to Bates. Paradie followed with the game-winning single to left.

“I’ve just been working on getting my hands back and relaxing,” said Paradie, who  was also Edward Little’s starting catcher this spring. “During the (high school season), I would be super stiff at the plate and worried about getting a hit. Now, it’s not like I have a choice. I tell myself I have to. It’s a lot of confidence. If you’re in the right mindset, you’re going to be able to hit.”

“We’ve kept him in the four spot in the lineup all summer long, and he seems to be getting better at-bats and better contact each game, although the results weren’t showing it,” Jordan said. “Today was kind of his breakout day.”

St. Pierre added an insurance run with an RBI single, then gave way to Cassidy for his 10-pitch save.

Cassidy started Game 2 on the mound, but was not so fortunate, yielding a leadoff bunt single to Belanger. The speedy Pastime catcher was awarded second after Bates’ ill-advised throw to nab him at first went wide. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Evan Cox sent him home with a sacrifice fly.

Rogers took a 2-1 lead in the third on Hartley’s RBI double and Bates’ sacrifice fly. Bates, bound for Dayton University to play baseball in the fall, made it 5-1 an inning later with a towering three-run homer to left.

Pastime exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead for good. Lucas Francis’ sacrifice fly and a wild pitch that scored Landry made it 5-3. Beckwith beat out an infield hit that scored Leblond, then scored what proved to be the winning run on Belanger’s two-out,  two-run ground-rule double to right.”

“We left too many runners on (in the first game),” Belanger said. “We have our innings where we just come alive and start grouping some hits together. That’s what it comes down to.”

“I think we’ve got a lot of depth, so we try to wear pitchers down,” Jake Brown said. “I think we did the same thing in Game 1. I thought we wore St. Pierre down at the end. We just couldn’t get that timely hit.”

Pastime starter Hunter Richardson allowed seven hits and two walks while fanning six in his six innings before giving way to Francis. He stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base by getting Paradie to line into a game-ending 5-4 double play.

“I thought our pitchers did a really good job,” Brown said. “We used up two (starting) pitchers, and we’ve got both Owen Cox and Lucas Francis available (for Sunday’s doubleheader against Augusta). Our pitchers pitched to contact and did a good job with this pitch-count rule.”

Rogers Post’s Ethan Brown forces Pastime’s Lucas Francis out as he attempts to get to third base during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Rogers Post’s Giles Paradie fist bumps his team after hitting a home run during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Roger’s Post’s Giles Paradie fist bumps his team after hitting a home run during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Pastime’s Jack Leblond gets trapped between bases during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Roger’s Post’s Ethan Brown forces Pastime’s Hunter Landry out as he attempts to get to third base during Saturday morning’s baseball game at Elliot Field in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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