WALES – Two of the top southpaws in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference got the call Monday to determine whether No. 10 Lincoln Academy and No. 7 Oak Hill would head west on Thursday to face second-seeded Poland.

Josh Jillson punched Oak Hill’s ticket to the quarterfinals with a four-hit shutout in a 3-0 win in a Western Class B preliminary on an overcast Monday at Fairchild Field. He walked one, hit two and fanned 11, including the last batter, on his 104th pitch, with perhaps his hardest fastball on the day.

“It felt like I had more on my fastball today. Because of the rain, we had two days off, and I didn’t have to throw at all. I think that really helped,” Jillson said. “I just wanted to throw strikes. They’re a good hitting team, and I didn’t want to get down in the count. I wanted to be in control of the count.”

“They just got the timely hits and we didn’t,” said Lincoln Academy coach Chris Feltis, whose team left seven men on base. “We had a couple of opportunities early on and didn’t cash in and that was the difference in the way the game played out.”

Oak Hill, which beat Lincoln twice during the regular season, did cash in on its early opportunities. Jillson also set the tone for the offense with a two-out RBI single in the first inning for what turned out to be the only run the Raiders (12-5) would need off Eagles’ lefty Ryan Parlin (six innings, seven hits, four Ks, three walks). But just to be sure, they plated an insurance run in each of the next two innings, on Eric Daniels’ ground out in the second and Brian Bisson’s two-out double in the third.

“I think that’s eight or nine games in a row where we’ve had two-out, timely hits,” said Oak Hill coach Chad Drouin. “That’s a good sign for the team.”

Lincoln Academy (6-11) got some bad signs with a couple of early-inning squanders. Kyle Hannan (single) and Matt Ford (bunt single) reached with one out in the second, then moved to second and third on a passed ball. Jillson kept the ball out of play and at least the tying run from scoring by fanning the next two batters swinging.

“I was a little angry and I just tried to focus again and ended up getting out of a pretty tight jam,” Jillson said.

“He has been extremely focused for every start he’s had. Seeing him during the school day and in the hallways and stuff like that, he really has been a different kid on the days he pitches,” Drouin said. “He knew that he had to be focused today because he knew that we would be facing a very good pitcher in Parlin.”

Jillson stayed focused through the Eagles’ next threat, too, despite an infield single, a balk and a hit batsmen that put runners at first and second with none out in the fourth. In the span of five pitches, he got Hannan to pop out to first, struck out Ford looking and induced a ground out to short by Andrew Brooks to end the inning. That started a run of 10 batters in a row and 12 of the final 13 retired by Jillson.

“He mixes his pitches well. He has a lot of movement on his curve ball and mid-80s on his fastball,” Feltis said. “He’s just wild enough to keep you off-balance in there.”


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