Sullivan cracked the first pitch from Luc Farrago to the right side. The ball skidded on the new infield dirt at Franklin Park then took a tough hop up and over second baseman Gabe Clavett’s left shoulder, allowing Mekae Hyde to score the winning run in a typically tense Battle of the Bridge, 5-4.
“It’s just who wants to be the hero, right?” Sullivan said. “I was just looking for something I could get out of the infield and get someone in.”
“It’s a quick infield. The ball gets there really quick,” EL coach Scott Annear said. “I’d rather see that than walk a guy in. It’s a tough play no matter what.”
Farrago (7.1 IP, five runs, eight hits, seven K’s, three walks) was on his 111th pitch with that delivery to Sullivan. Lewiston loaded the bases on a single, fielder’s choice (followed by a steal of second), intentional walk and walk.
“Luc’s a bulldog,” Annear said. “He wants the ball. He’s tough and he competes. He mixes his pitches. It doesn’t matter if there’s a runner at third, less than two outs, he really keeps his head about him.”
Farrago took a bit of a pounding early, giving up a two-run double to Jeff Kenne in the second and an RBI double to Ben Wigant and RBI single to Sullivan as Lewiston (5-1) built a 4-1 lead. But the junior buckled down after that, yielding only a harmless single in the sixth and allowing the Eddies (4-2) to rally before tiring out in the eighth.
Sullivan (seven innings, four runs, six hits, nine K’s, two walks) also had a strong outing aside from a couple of rocky innings. He gave up an RBI single to J.J. Jackson in the first, then lost the three run lead on Cam Bisson’s two-run single and Sean Ford’s RBI single in the fourth. After that, he took advantage of EL’s aggressive approach at the plate and retired nine of the next 10 before giving way to Keene in the top of the eighth.
“The second time through the lineup they really timed on my fastball,” Sullivan said. “From that point, you have to mix it up because once they time you up, they start hitting line drives. You mix it up and the next thing you know, you start getting quick innings.”
Cam Ivers chased Sullivan with a leadoff single in the eighth. Farrago tried to bunt him into scoring position, but Keene pounced on it in front of the mound, whirled and threw Ivers out at second. He then got Josh Delong and Jackson, EL’s No. 3 and 4 hitters, to pop out and strike out, respectively.
“That was huge,” Lewiston coach Todd Cifelli said. “We do a lot of pitcher fielding practice and Jeff’s a very athletic kid on the mound and he made a big-time play. Their 3-4-5 guys are scary, and if that guy is at second, who knows what happens?”
The Devils played flawless defense after committing four costly errors in a 7-6 loss to Cony on Monday.
“As a team, we had a bad taste in our mouth. We didn’t have our best performance Monday,” Cifelli said. “Regardless of who we were playing, it was good to get back at it rather than stew about that game.”