LEWISTON – With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Gardiner pitcher Mike Burdin threw his arms up in the air as a shallow pop fly to right-center field fell between two outfielders who apparently failed to communicate.
The hit, a single, was the first blemish on Burdin’s record on the afternoon, breaking up an early perfect game bid by the No. 1 pitcher.
“At first, I was like, What the heck,'” said Burdin. “I talked to them afterwards, and they said the wind was taking it back in, though. It was tough to judge.”
Burdin’s afternoon was over after throwing just 57 pitches over five innings, allowing three hits while striking out three, but it was long enough to lead the Tigers to an 8-1 win over the Blue Devils at Franklin Field on Wednesday.
“He stuffed it in the strike zone and he pitched with rhythm,” Lewiston coach Todd Cifelli said of Burdin. “We couldn’t break any of that, with hits or walks.”
Burdin was also a force at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. In all, Gardiner tagged Lewiston starting pitcher Ryan Dube for nine hits, but perhaps the most damaging part of the Tigers’ offense was its propensity to steal bases in almost any situation.
“We’re aggressive on the basepaths,” said Gardiner coach Jim Palmer. “We pride ourselves on having good knowledge on the basepaths, and the kids did a good job of getting the reads from the pitchers.”
Gardiner even managed a successful steal of home plate when Nick Acheson eluded a rundown in the second inning after no one from the infield backed up catcher Eric Waite.
“We weren’t into it defensively,” said Cifelli. “We weren’t into it mentally, especially early, and you can’t make multiple errors against a team like that.”
Adding, also, to the Blue Devils’ troubles were five errors leading to four unearned Gardiner runs. Nick Godfrey got things going in the second inning for the Tigers.
After getting hit by a pitch, he advanced to second on an Acheson walk. Both runners stole a base and Godfrey scampered home on a Devon Brown single. Acheson followed with his steal of home. Gardiner (3-0) plated two more runs in the third courtesy of two Lewiston errors, and tacked on four more, three unearned, in the sixth.
Lewiston’s (1-2) only run of the game came in the bottom of the sixth, when Brian Nason trotted home on an error.