AUBURN — Edward Little coach Scott Annear told his team to be prepared to face some adversity against Cony Friday.
“Thursday in practice, I said, ‘Expect that your behind four runs right now,'” Annnear said. “I did not want to be correct on that.”
Unfortunately for the Red Eddies, he was. EL dug itself a 4-0 hole in the first inning. Every time it started to chip away at the deficit, the Rams had a response and eventually pulled away for a 9-4 win at Pettengill Park.
Charlie Partridge fell a triple shy of the cycle for Cony (13-2), which pounded out 15 hits. Mat Gordon went 4-for-4 with a double for Edward Little (7-8), which now faces a must-win game at Hampden Academy on Monday to make the Eastern A tournament.
With a runner on and one out in the first inning, Partridge got a second life when EL catcher James Jackson dropped a pop foul behind home plate. He took full advantage, cranking a pitch from Gordon over the fence in left for a quick 2-0 lead. The Rams added two more runs in the frame on a bases-loaded walk by Tyler Rodrigue and an RBI single by Colin McKee.
“Good ball clubs, you can’t give extra situations to them. You can’t give extra outs, extra pitches, extra anything,” Annear said. “After we got through that first inning, we regrouped.”
“I thought we did a nice job in that first inning of not letting (Gordon) get ahead of guys, number one,” Cony coach Don Plourde said. “Number two, I tell guys they’re probably going to get one good pitch an at-bat, and they certainly took advantage of that and had some great at-bats.”
Ryan Arnold’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first cut the deficit to 4-1, but the Rams doubled that output in the second on Jason Burns’ RBI double and Nick Lucas’ RBI single to make it 6-1.
The Eddies chipped away again in the third. Luke Farrago reached on a walk, Gordon singled and Arnold walked to load the bases with one out. Nate Blais hustled out a chopper to second, forcing a rushed throw by Rodrigue that skipped past the first baseman and allowed Farrago and Gordon to score and cut Cony’s lead in half.
EL pulled to within 6-4 in the fifth when Logan Rossignol drew a bases-loaded walk to score Farrago. Jake Beland came on to relieve starter Ryan Minoty (4 2/3 innings, five hits, five Ks, five walks) and got Corey Moholland to swing at a 3-2 pitch in the dirt to maintain Cony’s two-run cushion.
“We just needed a few more of those two-out hits,” Annear said. “We just needed to get the bat on the ball with a little more authority in a couple of key spots.”
Corey Lapierre made it 7-4 with a single to plate Partridge in the sixth. Beland struck out the side in the sixth (and five in a row overall) before the Rams added two more runs in the seventh off EL reliever Kenzie Souders.