After coasting to a 6-2 win in the opener, Pastime (15-0) had to bite its nails for a 9-8 victory for the sweep.

Walks were the story from start to finish.

In the opener, Rogers Post (12-3) starting pitchers Damien St. Pierre issued four free passes in a three-run first inning. Two of the walks came around to score, and the final one drove in the third run.

“We just try to take advantage with what they give us,” Pastime manager Jake Brown said. “Their pitcher early in the game was really struggling to find the zone, so we just didn’t want to help him out.”

St. Pierre walked six in six innings of work. He allowed all six runs (five earned) on six hits, and he also struck out six.

Pastime’s first-game starter Kyle Bourget, meanwhile, gave us just one walk in a complete-game win. The veteran right-hander set down the first nine Rogers Post batters before Austin Cox led off the fourth with a double, then he stranded him there. Bourget did the same thing after walking Brandon Varney to open the fifth.

“Kyle, you know what you’re going to get out of him,” Brown said. “He’s going to battle; he’s going to compete. He’s the leader of this team. We’re most confident with him up on the bump.”

The Rogers Post offense finally struck for a run each in the sixth and seventh. Mason Brushwein singled to lead off the sixth, then came around to score on Drew Lashua’s RBI single. Brushwein then singled home Lew Jensen in the seventh after Jensen led off with his own base hit.

Mitch Davis and Austin Wing each had a pair of hits for Pastime. Wing drove in a pair and Davis drove one in a run and scored another.

Despite dropping the opener, Rogers Post carried its momentum from the latter innings into the start of the second game. Lashua led off the second inning with a single off Davis and scored on Tyler Blanchard’s RBI hit. Austin Cox led off the next inning with a double, then scored on Jarod Norcross Plourde’s run-scoring base hit to put Rogers Post up 2-0.

That initial lead didn’t last long, however. Pastime No. 9 Evan Cox led off the bottom of the third with a double off Jensen, then Brock Belanger drove him in with a single two batters later. Hunter Landry followed with a walk, and Wing brought them both home with a double. Wing later came home on a double steal.

Pastime knocked Jensen out during another four-run frame in the fourth. After strking out Jack LeBlond to lead off, Cox reached on an error and Gage Cote singled to signal the end of Jensen’s outing. Varney came on in relief and issued two walks and gave up a pair of singles that drove in four runs.

“The three games we’ve played them we’ve been very charitable, and they’ve taken advantage of that charity. They’ve done a great job of getting guys in when we have helped, in terms of getting people on base,” Rogers Post manager Dave Jordan said. “To their credit, they’ve earned those walks. They’re not swinging at bad pitches, their being patient, things like that.”

Rogers Post got a run closer in the sixth thanks to a double from Jensen, who then moved to third, then home, on a pair of wild pitches.

Davis was one out away from matching teammate Bourget with a complete game when Cox hit a two-out single in the seventh to keep the game alive. Varney was then hit by a pitch and Norcross Plourde cracked a three-run home run to left to cut the deficit to 8-6. Davis was pulled after walking Lashua.

Cote took over on the mound and gave up a single to Jensen. Lashua scored on a wild pitch, then Grant Hartley tied the game with an RBI single. Rogers Post nearly took the lead, but Hartley was gunned down at home trying to score on an infield error.

“It shows us that at any point we’re still in the game,” Jordan said of his team’s 11th hour big inning.

Cote, who gave up the lead in the top half of the inning, finished off the win in the bottom half. Blanchard got two quick outs on the mound, then walked Gordon Beckwith and LeBlond. Cox singled to left and Beckwith scrambled back to third after taking a look at home.

That paved the way for Cote, Pastime’s leadoff hitter. Facing new reliever Norcross Plourde — Rogers Post’s ace — Cote lined the game-winning hit down the first-base line. The Rogers Post dugout argued the call that the ball was fair, but to no avail.

“I know some people might be upset because they think a ball is fair or foul,” Jordan said. “The reality of it is, if we would have made more plays during the game, and threw more strikes, we wouldn’t have been in that situation.

“Baseball’s a simple game. You’ve got to throw strikes, you have to field the ball, and you have to have productive at-bats. And today Pastime was better than us on all those areas for most of the day.”

Brown said Cote was exactly who he would want up to bat with the game on the line.

“That was a good pitcher they put in there, but Gage has great bat speed and I knew he was going to be able to get the bat on the ball,” said Brown, who added that Cote “kicked a brick” and “moved on” after giving up the lead in the top of the inning.

Rogers Post out-hit Pastime 12-10 in the second game, but also issued eight walks to just three from Davis.

All three of Rogers Post’s losses have come against rival Pastime. And the doubleheader sweep was doubly special for Pastime. Not only did it keep the perfect record alive, the sweep clinched a spot in the American Legion state tournament for Pastime.

“Once we started winning a lot of games we made that a goal for us,” Brown said of winning the Zone 2 regular season and earning a spot in the state tournament. “We weren’t scared to make that a goal. We knew we had to sweep Auburn to do it. So the kids had that on their mind.”

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