AUGUSTA — Rogers Post 153 opened itself up to a lot of hurt against an unforgiving and patient team by walking a dozen Coffee News batters throughout the course of Friday’s third-round American Legion baseball playoff game.

Five walks in the first inning led to Coffee News’ devastating 6-1 lead and the quick removal of Rogers pitcher Lew Jensen.

It didn’t get any better from there.

Bangor-based Coffee News took Rogers out for a walk with a lopsided 14-3 victory in a game that was called when the 10-run rule was implemented after the top of the seventh inning at Morton Field in the Capitol Area Sports Complex.

Rogers Post will play Saturday at 11 a.m. against Skowhegan.

Coffee News used only seven hits to pile up its runs.

“You move on. I mean it was one of those where we started off and we just didn’t throw enough strikes today,” Rogers Post coach Dave Jordan said. “We have had incidents like this during the season. We have been doing a better job of it.

“They are a good team. They turned double plays on us. I thought we got guys on. We were hitting the ball pretty well. They found some gloves and turned some double plays on us. It is hard to score a lot of runs on them.

“We had some good things happen. We saw some kids come in there and do a nice job. I liked our fight. We kept battling through. We had some opportunities to get some more runs and we got a few here.”

Perhaps Rogers’ unraveling was due to the muggy heat, or Rogers was worn out after beating Yankee Ford from Portland 9-4 on Friday morning after the game was suspended Thursday night due to thunderstorms.

Coffee News picked up six runs, despite having only two hits, in the first inning. Ryan Brookings belted a two-run single and Drew Hillier drove in another run.

“Give credit to our kids. Our kids did a good job not swinging,” Coffee News coach David Morris said. “You are in a big game like that and tensions are high. The kid’s a good pitcher and he just had a tough day today and our kids didn’t swing, though.

“Getting those runs early and trying to match that one run, we thought it was going to be a close game, but sometimes the ball bounces your own way.

“We’ve just got a great team — a lot experience. Kids love playing. They have a lot fun with it, and so it is real easy to coach.”

Things got quiet as Rogers Post settled down on the mound. Relief pitcher Ben Harris had a lot to do with that. He acted as Rogers’ tourniquet and stopped the bleeding when he set down the side in the second and third innings.

What was equally devastating was Coffee News’ defense, which turned over three inning-ending double plays that put Rogers’ offense in a stall.

In the fourth inning, Harris started to struggle and Coffee News instinctively saw another opportunity to take advantage of four more walks.

Third baseman Jesse Colford and outfielder Ryan Brookings both walked and moved over a base on Kyle Stevenson’s bunt. Colford scored when Peter Kemble got on with an error at third base. Andrew Hillier flied out but drove in Brookings.

The other two runs came in that inning when Sam Huston, who walked, and Kemble came across thanks to Nick Cowperthwaite’s two-run double.

Coffee News led 10-1 after four innings. It got another run in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

Rogers Post took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jared Norcross-Plourde walked, moved to third on catcher Drew Lashua’s single and scored after Jensen got on with an error at shortstop.

In the fifth, Austin Cox got on with a single and moved to second on Tyler Blanchard’s single. Cox crossed the plate after Jensen’s single.

Cox scored again in the sixth. Cox moved to third on Bo Norcross’ single, and then came home on Lashua’s flyout to center field.

Glorious morning

The morning was cloudy but a lot brighter for Rogers when it faced Yankee Ford in a game that was halted in the fourth inning Thursday night due rain and thunder.

Rogers used a 10-hit attack and got some solid pitching from Plourde-Norcross, Gavin Bates, Blanchard and Damien St. Pierre in a 9-4 victory. Lashua knocked in a home run during the game.

“I am seeing the ball real well out the pitcher’s hand and just barreling it up,” Lashua said. “Just feeling good right now.”

Rogers built a 9-3 lead by the sixth inning and glided away the rest of the game.

“We hit the ball well today and I thought we saw some good pitching, too. I thought the guys came out and made some good contact,” Jordan said. “South Portland and Cape Elizabeth gave great programs.”

A nonchalant St. Pierre sealed the deal when he came in relief in the eighth inning.

“He’s crafty, focused, and he’s good,” Jordans said of St. Pierre. “He’s not going to overwhelm you with 85-, 95-mile fastballs. He hits his the spot and makes you really earn your sweat.”


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