LEWISTON – Todd Cifelli chalked it up to malaise. Luke Potter thought his team might have been looking ahead.
Whatever the reason, Lewiston needed to bounce back quickly from Monday’s 15-4 loss to Cony because rival Edward Little was bringing its potent offense across the river.
“It was a gut check against a good team,” Cifelli said. “Especially coming off of yesterday’s game, you always want to see what people have , and I think they delivered.”
Luke Potter and the Blue Devils’ defense delivered, stifling the Red Eddies with a four-hit shutout and a 3-0 win in a steady drizzle at Lewiston High School Tuesday.
Potter followed up a sloppy 14-walk performance by Lewiston pitching on Monday by issuing just three free passes while fanning four in less than ideal pitching conditions to maintain his perfect record (4-0) and improve the Devils to 4-5.
“Despite the rain, I held the ball pretty well today. It wasn’t slipping out a lot, if at all,” Potter said. “I was a little surprised. I thought the rain was going to annoy me and get to me eventually. But I stayed focused and was fortunate enough to have some good defense.”
“I hope the league stands up and takes notice that if he’s not the best pitcher, he might be number two or three in the league,” Cifelli said. “He’s got all our wins. To shut a good team out like that that’s beaten up on a lot of teams and come back on teams, that’s outstanding.”
The Eddies tried to get to Potter early, but came up just short. Justin Ciszewski smacked a two-out double in the first, but Potter picked up his first K with the next batter. Derek Doucette led off the second with a triple, but was stranded at third.
Lewiston got all of the runs it would need in the first inning, with the help of three EL errors. Robbie Leeman led off with a single and Danny Cloutier bunted to move him over, but he reached when the third baseman bobbled the ball. The slick conditions made it difficult to charge the ball, so the Devils decided to lay another bunt down with No. 3 hitter Eric Waite. Kyle Giguere, EL’s pitcher, fielded the ball but threw in the dirt to third, loading the bases.
“With the malaise of yesterday, we wanted to dictate some action. I don’t think we have a lot of guys that will just sit back and say Let’s go play guerrilla baseball,” Cifelli said. “If we could just dictate some action we could flush out what happened yesterday. That was part of the goal, plus making (EL) make plays.”
Giguere looked like he might work out of the jam when he fanned Potter and induced a pop out to first by Guimond. But he walked Jon Paradis to push Leeman across with the first run. Cloutier then scored on another error.
“Errors and walks will kill you every time,” said EL coach Scott Annear. “You allow anybody to have that many opportunities, they’re going to take advantage of it. Five errors for us and three hits for them.”
One of those hits was timely enough to provide an insurance run in the second, when Waite singled to left to drive in Leeman with the third run.
Doucette tossed 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Eddies (5-4), but Potter was too tough. EL’s only other serious threat came in the fourth, when Doucette (2-for-3) singled and Giguere walked with two out before Snowe grounded out to first.
“(Potter) did a really good job,” Annear said. “His breaking ball he threw consistently for strikes. Usually you don’t see pitchers who are able to maintain that, but he did. He put his fastball where he needed to and they made a lot of plays for him.”
Two more potential threats were snuffed in the final two innings on nice defensive plays by Guimond at third and Leeman in center.
“When I know I’ve got defense behind me, I can throw whatever I want,” Potter said. “I’ve got confidence in every pitch I have. I know that they’re going to get the job done and I have to get the job done.”
“This is a huge win. We showed that we can play with everybody. We might have been looking ahead (Monday) because we haven’t beaten them in the four years that I’ve been varsity,” he added. “We took advantage of a crappy day today.”