The Blue Devils are vastly improved. Unfortunately for them, the Red Eddies are playing like championship material.

Edward Little spun its fourth consecutive shutout Friday night, 10-0, under the bulbs at the Auburn Suburban Little League complex. 

It was shortened to six innings by virtue of the mercy rule thanks to seven runs on one hit and four Lewiston errors in the final frame, but the rivals put on a show signficantly more entertaining than the bottom line in their annual evening tilt.

“When you’re playing your rival, with a bunch of great kids and coaches in that dugout … they brought their ‘A’ game tonight,” EL coach Dave Jordan said. “Michael (Wong, Lewiston’s starter) was right on. They were making plays. It was a much tighter game than the score indicated.”

Wong struck out seven before wearing down in the sixth. Jarod Norcross-Plourde was just a touch better en route to the five-hit shutout.

Norcross-Plourde fanned nine. Four of those strikeouts retired the side. Shortstop Austin Cox halted another inning by turning a line drive into a double play.

“We had our chances. Plourde is a great pitcher. He shut out Messalonskee, who arguably people think might still be the best in the state, and we battled,” Lewiston coach Andrew Cessario said. “We had guys on second base in every single inning. We just couldn’t get that clutch hit to get them in.”

The second and sixth innings were the only exception to that rule, thanks largely to runners caught stealing by lasers from junior catcher Brandon Varney behind the plate.

EL (10-3) didn’t commit an error.

“I feel like defensively we’re the best we’ve been all year,” Varney said.

The Eddies scratched out single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings before the Devils’ night unraveled.

Austin Cox (2-for-3, two runs, one RBI) backed up Luke Sterling’s one-out walk in the third with a high chopper down the left field line for a double, the first hit against Wong.

Drew Lashua was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Norcross-Plourde delivered the first of his two RBIs on a fielder’s choice.

Varney’s hustle produced the run in the fourth. He reached with a line-drive single off Wong’s leg, stole second and took third on a passed ball.

After an intentional walk to Elijah Roe, Wong’s attempt to pick off pinch runner Bo Norcross sailed wide, and Varney scampered home.

“I love base running,” Varney said. “That’s my favorite part of the game.”

Cox singled, Lashua walked, and Norcross-Plourde made it 3-0 with a towering double that the right fielder lost under the artficial light.

“That was a fastball,” Norcross-Plourde said. “I got two curveballs before that. I just stayed with it and drove it.”

Lashua’s two-run single was the lone hit in the sixth. Varney led the game-ending rally by forcing a throwing error and manufacturing a run with the help of a passed ball and a wild pitch.

Four walks also complicated matters for Lewiston.

“We’re definitely playing better than we did early in the season,” said Cessario, whose team lost 15-5 to the Eddies in his varsity coaching debut. “Mike pitched great. He just got tired. Walks are still killing us.”

Freshman catched Brock Belanger was 2-for-3 for Lewiston (3-10).

He was stranded 90 feet away in the third when Norcross-Plourde caught Brady Cusson looking. After a two-out Belanger double in the fifth, third baseman Lew Jensen charged a slow roller by Cusson and threw him out by a half-step for the final out.

“He’s a clutch pitcher,” Varney said of Norcross-Plourde. “He was hitting his spots when he needed to. When runners got on second and third, he knocked them down just like he always does.”

Austin Wing, Carter Chabot and Jeromey Rancourt also had Lewiston hits.

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