PARIS — Lewiston’s Matt Poulin didn’t take the mound with an overpowering fastball or a mystifying array of breaking pitches Tuesday. But he did have two things behind him that favored a strike-throwing machine — a solid defense and a stiff breeze.

Poulin pounded the strike zone, and the Blue Devils took advantage when Oxford Hills pitchers didn’t in a 6-2 win at Gouin Athletic Complex.

The senior right-hander scattered five hits, a walk and a hit batter in an efficient complete-game effort. Three Vikings’ pitchers, meanwhile, combined to allow just three hits but walked eight.

“I’m not a strikeout pitcher. I’m not overpowering,” said Poulin, who fanned two. “So to compensate for that, I use the zone to get batters out and get fielders involved.”

Throwing mostly fastballs, Poulin retired the first 13 Vikings on just 34 pitches. Nick Attaliades-Ryan, who led the Vikings with two hits, became their first baserunner with a one-out single in the fifth.

Walt Feeney and Riley Chickering followed with singles to tie the game at 1-1. Poulin escaped further trouble when shortstop Mike Wong ranged to his left for Nick Bowie’s grounder, took it to second base himself, then fired to first to get Bowie on a very close play.

“That was one of those innings where you’ve really got to work with damage control, making sure you don’t give up too many runs,” Poulin said. “A play like that is a huge game-changer. When you come up to hit, it gives you a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence, too.”

Indeed, Lewiston (3-3) responded immediately with a four-run sixth that made the difference in the game. Oxford Hills lefty Riley Chickering, who had fed the Devils a steady diet of breaking pitches and allowed just one hit, two walks and an unearned run through the first five innings, suddenly had trouble finding the strike zone.

With one out, Chickering issued four walks in a row, capped by a four-pitch free pass to Kyle Morin that put Lewiston in front for good.

“From our viewpoint, it looked like he still had deccent command,” Oxford Hills coach Shane Slicer said. “Obviously, when you walk a few in that inning, he lost a little bit of his command. I don’t think he was getting tired. I thought he pitched a good enough game. I mean, we did have that one bad inning, but we were right there.”

“Every time we go up to the plate our plan is to work a hard count,” said Poulin, who had two of the Devils’ three hits and walk and scored a run. “If you get a pitch that you like, be aggressive. So don’t be too patient. So being patient with him was huge and finally getting those bats alive was huge.”

Dalton Rice relieved Chickering and got the second out via strikeout. A fastball off the catchers’ glove went to the backstop and sent Poulin home with Lewiston’s third run. After a walk, Wong lifted a looper to shallow right field that eluded a diving LaFrance, scoring two to make it 5-1.

“Today I felt like we played a complete game,” Lewiston coach Dave Jordan said. “Having a pitcher on the mound throwing strikes, having fielders field the ball, and then getting runners in when we got them on base. We haven’t been doing that. And that’s against a team that’s a very strong team in this league.”

Oxford Hills (3-2) scored an unearned run and sent the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Poulin got Brady LaFrance to ground out to second to end it.

“(Poulin) is one of those pitchers you sit back and you think, ‘I wish I could go up and hit against him.’ But you look at the linescore at the end of the game and you only scored two runs,” Slicer said. “And he didn’t really throw too many off-speed pitches. It was just down low. We were off-balance. We didn’t put together very many good swings at it.”

“Matt’s been very efficient for us, pounding the zone and he works quick,” Jordan said. “It keeps our fielders on our toes, which is great. If I’m fielder, I’d be very excited to be behind him because you know he’s going to be attacking hitters and making hitters hit his pitch.”


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