LEWISTON – Explaining his team’s inauspicious start to the 2007 baseball season, Mt. Blue ace Adam Gilbert said if it weren’t for bad luck, the Cougars wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Gilbert made his own luck Monday, firing a one-hitter to lead the Cougars to what they hope was a season-turning 3-1 win over Lewiston at Franklin Pasture.

“I talked to Adam and told him how today was big,” Mt. Blue coach Craig Collins said. “He was the ace of our staff, and he had to pitch like the ace of the staff. That’s really his best pitching performance all year.”

While he wasn’t in complete command (three strikeouts, eight walks), Gilbert didn’t give up the hit until the seventh inning, when Travis Dyke poked a 2-2 curve ball the other way, over the outstretched glove of a leaping Joe Gilbert at third. That hit put the tying run on base and a two-out walk to Eric Waite loaded the bases, but Gilbert got cleanup hitter Jon Paradis to fly out to left to end the game.

“This is definitely a confident boost for us,” said Gilbert, whose one run was unearned. “We’ve been playing very well the last couple of games. We’ve just been having bad luck.”

Gilbert needed a little luck and poise to get out of some self-made jams. He walked the leadoff man four times, and had to contend with at least one runner in scoring position in four innings. He escaped a two on, one-out situation in the third and a two on, two-out pickle in the fourth. In the fifth, he gave up a leadoff walk to Alex Wong. Waite then hit a grounder up the middle that looked like it might squirt through for Lewiston’s first hit, but Brad Dority ranged over from shortstop to scoop it up, tagged second and threw to first for what turned out to be a tailor-made double play.

“Despite the walks, he had control of all of his pitches tonight,” Collins said. “And he was in control of himself, too. I only had to go out and talk to him once to settle him down.”

“My control was kind of there. There were just points in time where I had to think about basic mechanics and go from there,” Gilbert said. “Coach said he felt very comfortable having me throw any pitch at any time in any count.”

Gilbert’s performance spoiled a solid effort from Lewiston’s Eddie West, who yielded just six hits and one earned run and didn’t walk anybody in seven innings.

Curtis Steele and Joe Gilbert started the game with back-to-back singles, moved up on a grounder to the pitcher, then Steele scored on a grounder to second by Adam Gilbert. Lewiston tied the game in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice fly by Paradis.

The Cougars (2-5) took the lead in the third. Dority (two hits) singled and Joe Gilbert (two hits) doubled to put runners at second and third. Mike Toothaker followed with a ground ball that didn’t come up for the Lewiston shortstop and trickled into left-center field, allowing both runners to score.

Lewiston coach Todd Cifelli hoped his offense had hit its stride last week, when the Devils (3-3) averaged nine runs a game while winning two of three. But they hit only six balls out of the infield against Gilbert.

“We had a great week offensively last week,” he said. “But sometimes, offense comes in bunches. I thought we hit some balls well that hung up a little bit, but that happens here at Franklin.”


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