DIXFIELD — Everything came together at the right time for the Dirigo baseball team.
Ryan Lafleur pitched a complete game three-hitter and the Cougars offense pounded out 15 hits in a convincing 8-0 shutout against Mt. Abram in a Mountain Valley Conference game at windy Harlow Park on Thursday.
The game was competitive through the first two and one half innings between Dirigo (9-2) and Mt. Abram (7-3) ranked second and fourth, respectively in Western Class C. The tide turned as Dirigo initially began to extend itself in the bottom of the third inning off the Roadrunners’ south paw Tim Smith and refused to let up. Every Cougar contributed offensively, led by Tyler Chiasson and Ben Holmes, who each had three hits and scored two runs. Spencer Ross had two hits and scored two runs. Tyler Gates and David Guilford each had two hits.
“This was a great showing,”Chiasson said. “We hit the ball really well from the top of the batting to the bottom. Even Ben Holmes stepped up and made a difference. Ryan pitched another great game and our defense was solid.”
Holmes led off the third with his first of two doubles and Ross and Chiasson each singled to load the bases. Holmes, a sophomore, earned his first-varsity pitching on Monday against Carrabec. Lafleur helped his cause with an RBI-sacrifice fly and Guilford smashed an RBI-double.
Lafleur (5-0) struggled early on and ended up throwing 56 strikes out of 105 pitches, but seemingly had total control when it counted. The senior right-hander struck out eight, hit a batter and walked two.
“I’m pitching with confidence right now,”said Lafleur, who had earned the decision when the Cougars crushed Mt. Abram 13-2 in Salem two weeks ago. “But the Cinderella story could end tomorrow because every day is new and things could turn out different. The team is behind me.”
The Roadrunners had a few opportunities as the lead off batters reached base in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. Josh Beedy walked, but Lafleur struck out the next three batters. Jay Chenard reached safely, but was erased on a 5-4-3 double play. Dylan Tisor and Arron McGinness each singled with two outs, but Lafleur induced ground outs. The Roadrunners didn’t have a runner advance past second base.
“We hit the ball hard,” said Mt. Abram coach Ryan Palmer, who played for and was an assistant coach at Mountain Valley. “But it was right at people and I have to tip my cap because Dirigo made the plays. We are still OK because we still have some point worthy teams coming up, beginning with (No.1) Livermore Falls (today) with McGinness pitching and Class B Mountain Valley next Friday.”
Chiasson hit a two-run single in the fourth.
The Roadrunners Will London walked in the fifth and with one out Smith hit a smash up the middle. Gates (error less) made a diving stop at second base and flipped to Ross who threw on to Guildford for the inning-ending twin killing.
Eric Bolduc scored on a single by Arik Fenstermacher and Justin Conant added an RBI-sacrifice fly. Bolduc had an RBI-single in the sixth.
“We did well in all three aspects of the game,”Dirigo coach Dave Lafleur said. “The defense was superb and Ryan came back and pitched hard. We came in to the game batting .341 as a team and I’m certain (average) went up. That’s the highest it has ever been.’’