AUBURN — Drew Lashua belted a game-tying double in the sixth inning Wednesday, but the Edward Little senior missed a home run by a fraction of an inch. His 330-foot bomb smacked the yellow, plastic, protective covering atop the right field fence and caromed back into play.

Two frames later, in a deadlocked game of inches at Austin Field, perhaps the fickle horsehide made good on the debt it owed Lashua. His one-hopper to Brewer first baseman Matt Pushard was an easy second out with runners at first and second.

Brewer’s attempt to pick up the backdoor double play went awry, however, when shortstop Logan Rogerson couldn’t corral the low throw to second from Pushard. The ball trickled into center field, and Tyler Blanchard scampered home with the walk-off tally for a 3-2 Red Eddies’ victory in the mutual KVAC baseball season opener.

“We got a little lucky,” Lashua said. “At least I moved the runners over. I was just trying to get it down.”

One-out singles by Blanchard (3-for-4) and Jarod Norcross Plourde put Lashua in position to be the hero.

Lashua also ended the top of the eighth inning by throwing out Pushard at second base on at attempted steal. He started the game at second base before moving behind the plate in place of classmate Brandon Varney, who picked up his first varsity pitching win with a scoreless inning of relief.


“Brewer is almost a mirror of our program in terms of how much they play,” EL coach Dave Jordan said. “I know their boys put in a lot of time, preseason, off-season, to get ready, so I thought Game 1 right out of the chute to draw them was a great spot to be in.”

Both starting pitchers were exceptional. EL was surprised to draw Alex Brooks instead of the University of Maine-bound Pushard, but Brooks’ cut fastball and splendid location held the Eddies to two hits through the first five innings.

Plourde also surrendered only two hits and amassed 11 of his 12 strikeouts in that span. He whiffed Jon Wheaton to strand two Witches in the second inning and caught Jack Corey looking to leave the bases loaded in the third.

“I put myself in those situations with a bunch of walks (and two hit batsmen), but I got out of it,” Plourde said. “I started off with curveballs the first few innings, then blew it by them after that.”

He issued his only mistake after retiring Pushard and Brooks with ease to open the sixth.

Corey drew a four-pitch walk to set up a two-run blast by Alex Maxsimic over the wall in left center.


Plourde lamented that he “just didn’t throw (that pitch) hard enough.”

“We were hoping to get to that spot in the order, and (Plourde) got one up. They’re a good hitting team all through the order,” Jordan said. “We wanted to play a solid team with aspirations of wanting to go deep into the playoffs. They came ready. It was very evenly matched. Their pitcher was not missing spots early on. Neither was Jarod. It was just a solid game.”

EL battled back in the bottom of the inning, ignited when Austin Cox reached second on a throwing error with one out.

Blanchard singled to put runners at the corners. Plourde lofted a fly ball to Tyler Williams in left field that missed leaving the park by only a few feet. Cox trotted home to make it 2-1.

Then came Lashua’s near-long ball.

“That’s my life, right there,” he quipped. “I think (Brooks) hung it up a little bit, and I just saw it and swung out of my shoes. We were adjusting to his cutter. His cutter was really good early on, but once we adjusted, we were able to time him up.”


Varney followed with another hard-hit ball, but Mike Bailey tracked it down with an over-the-shoulder grab in deep center to protect the tie.

Damien St. Pierre worked a scoreless seventh, retiring top-of-the-order hitters Logan and Kobe Rogerson to close the deal.

Maxx Bell’s second hit of the game and a sacrifice bunt by St. Pierre put the potential game-winning run in scoring position in the EL seventh, but Brooks (seven hits, seven strikeouts, no walks) retired Grant Hartley on a bounce out to force the bonus frame.

Shortstop Cox and center fielder Blanchard were the only Eddies to spend the entire game at one station.

“A lot of teams talk at this time of year about sore arms, sore bodies, but our guys have really worked hard at conditioning coming in,” Jordan said. “We have a lot more depth because they’ve spent so much time together.”

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