AUBURN — The mythology that KVAC baseball might feature Bangor and Messalonskee at the banquet table and everybody else scrambling for crumbs has been shattered.

For that, everyone can at least partially thank Edward Little. The Red Eddies now have beaten both preseason favorites after Thursday’s 2-0 shutout of the Eagles at Austin Field, a verdict that vaulted EL into the top two of the Class A East Heal Point standings.

“The boys have been playing in a lot of close games lately. I think those games are helping us,” EL coach Dave Jordan said. “I’d still like to get a few more runs, but we’re playing good, sound defensive ball, and we’ve had great pitching.”

Sophomore Jarod Norcross-Plourde silenced a senior-rich Messalonskee lineup for his second win of the season, a four-hit shutout. He struck out six and benefited from numerous defensive gems.

Brandon Varney threw out Zach Mathieu’s attempted steal to stifle a first-and-third, one-out situation in the first inning. Austin Cox’s leaping grab of a Mathieu line drive to shortstop piggybacked two Norcross-Plourde strikeouts to freeze Eagles at second and third base in the frame. And Luke Sterling finished the fourth with a diving grab in center field to rob Jonathan Wilkie.

Cox also collected a screaming liner off the bat of pinch hitter Connor Garland for the initial out of the seventh.

“We’re not making any more errors,” Norcross-Plourde said. “We’ve finally settled down there. We’re finding our stride.”

EL (7-3) has won six of its past seven games, including three in extra innings, one of those against Bangor. No team in the KVAC has fewer than two losses through 10 games.

The Eagles (8-2) left eight runners on base, six in scoring position.

“I felt like we hit him really hard. EL made amazing plays,” Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin said. “The leaping catch by the shortstop, the diving catch by the center fielder. You can pick four or five opportunities where normally that’s runs. EL made the plays, and we just ran out of outs.”

Single runs in the first and second innings were enough for the Eddies, who notched all five of their hits in those two frames.

Austin Cox greeted Messalonskee starter Ben Frazee with a shot down the left-field line that he hustled into a double. Cox charged to third on a passed ball and scored on Drew Lashua’s infield single.

“We told the guys that we were capable of doing great things this season if we believed in ourselves and focused on playing good, sound ball,” Jordan said. “It’s a long season. We’ve just got to stay consistent with our approach and see how things shake out.”

EL ran into two outs in the second but still scratched out a run.

Tyler Blanchard led off with a single, and a throwing error on Seth Sterling’s ensuing groundball set everyone’s wheels in motion. Messalonskee threw out Blanchard at the plate, but Sterling wound up third and scored on Luke Sterling’s looping single to center.

“That was a fastball, middle-up,” Luke Sterling said. “I’ve been struggling lately, but I’m starting to get it back.”

Messalonskee put its lead runner on base in four consecutive innings thereafter but couldn’t capitalize.

Norcross-Plourde struck out Mathieu to close out the fifth. After plunking Jake Dexter in the sixth, he retired the next three.

“My change-up was working,” Norcorss-Plourde said. “That’s the best pitch in the game.”

EL committed its second error with one out in the seventh. Two grounders to Lew Jensen at third slammed the door.

“I have to make a comment about how hard our boys worked going to training facilities in the offseason to get themselves prepared,” Jordan said. “It shows in our pitching staff going seven innings, eight innings, with low pitch counts. They’re hitting their spots and doing a great job, and a lot of that was what they did coming into the season.”

Dexter worked three hitless innings of relief for Messalonskee, which entered the day No. 3 in the standings, one spot ahead of EL.


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