PARIS — The question between games at Saturday’s American Legion doubleheader between the Cole Post Eagles (Massabesic) and Bessey Motors (Oxford Hills) was who was in a less enviable position, Massabesic hitters who had to face Colton Carson in Game 1 or whoever had to take the ball in Game 2 after Carson struck out 19, didn’t walk anyone and was one infield hit from tossing his second consecutive no-hitter at Gouin Athletic Complex.

Pitching for the first time since the high school preseason, Jonny Pruett answered the question emphatically with a shutout of his own in Game 2 to give Bessey Motors a clean sweep, 4-0 and 14-0.

Hunter LaBossiere led Bessey’s offense with four hits, four RBIs and four runs scored over the two games. Rod Bean reached base five times (three singles, two walks), scored three runs and drove in one. Janek Luksza also drove in four, all in the second game. Wyatt Williamson drove in three runs with two hits.

Making his first start since winning the Class A North championship for Oxford Hills on June 12, Carson may have topped his previous start on his home field, a June 6 no-hitter against Skowhegan in the A North quarterfinals.

Carson is tough enough on hitters who see him regularly, but getting a chance to face a Cole Post lineup made up mostly of Massabesic High School players who had not faced him this year, if ever, added to his confidence Saturday.

“I know when our team is facing a pitcher we’ve never faced before it takes us a little while to get used to them and get settled in,” he said. “I feel like that’s an advantage I can have over teams that we haven’t seen yet. I mean, I’ll work with it. I’ll definitely take that.”

The University of Maine-bound right-hander threw 96 pitches, 73 for strikes. He faced two batters over the minimum, He fanned eight in a row between the third and fifth innings, a number inflated by a rare four-strikeout fourth inning made possible by catcher Wyatt Williamson’s throwing error to first on a dropped third strike. Thirteen of the 19 Eagles batters went down swinging.

“His strike/ball ratio was awesome. He was throwing two or three pitches for strikes. He had good command,” Bessey Motors coach Shane Slicer said. “He just overpowered them.”

Aside from the dropped third strike, two other batters reached against Carson. Strikeouts number two and three erased a one-out throwing error by the third baseman.

Cole Post’s Jake Poole broke up the no-hit bid with two out in the fifth by hitting a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop and beating Janek Luksza’s throw to first. Williamson quickly erased Poole trying to steal second, and Carson ended the game by striking out the side each of the final two innings.

Bessey essentially put the game out of reach with three runs in the first off of Massabesic starter Alex Schepis, courtesy of an RBI single by LaBossiere and a two-run single by Williamson.

Schepis had to leave the mound in the second, and ultimately leave the game after moving to first base, due to an apparent leg injury. Bessey only managed one more run off of reliever Cam Dyer, that coming on Rod Bean’s bases-loaded infield single in the fourth. But by that time, Carson was in complete control.

“I’ve been working on spotting my fastball, and I felt like I did that really well today,” Carson said. “It helps when you know you have a really great defense behind you because then you can have all of the confidence in your pitchers. I think it definitely helped mixing from inside to outside, high and low. It just kept them off-balance and I was able to throw my slider for strikes.”

“With Colton, that first inning is always the toughest. After that, he started to heat up pretty good,” Slicer said. “I think summertime’s good for Colton.”

Pruett, a starting third baseman for both Bessey and Oxford Hills, hadn’t pitched in a game that counted since last summer, when he was a valuable arm during Bessey’s run to the state championship game.

Pruett pitched in Oxford Hills’ preseason and was available as a spot starter/relief pitcher during the regular season. But with Ethan Cutler filling the No. 3 starter spot and, Slicer said, “how it rolled out (during the spring) was Colton and Wyatt had complete games most of the time they were out there, so we never really needed him and we never really needed to save him.”

Pruett didn’t appear rusty due to the lack of work, tossing a five-hitter, all singles, while striking out seven and not walking anyone in his five innings in the mercy rule-shortened game.

“I got into my groove after a couple of innings,” he said. “My curve ball wasn’t working too well, but I was able to throw my fastball and force ground balls.”

After Pruett worked around an error and single to strand runners at second and third in the first, the offense once again staked their pitcher to all of the runs he would need in the bottom of the first. This time, Bessey plated four runs, courtesy of a two-run double by Luksza, an RBI single by LaBossiere and a sacrifice fly by Ashton Kennison.

Bessey opened it up with an eight-run second inning, highlighted by LaBossiere’s two-run single and RBI singles from Kennison, Williamson and Andrew Merrill.

“I think we kind of coasted a little bit that first game,” Slicer said. “We hit a lot of fly balls and it was tough with the wind. I mean, Ashton hit a ball to left field that certainly would have been close to the fence and it just hung up. But I think we just got a little too anxious (in the first game).

“The second game, I thought we were a little more patient, had good command of the strike zone and hit the ball hard.”

Pruett’s lone 1-2-3 inning came in the second. In the third, he allowed back-to-back two-out singles to Schepis and Roman Bennett, but ended the threat by getting cleanup hitter James Lessard to ground out to second.

Pruett allowed a leadoff single in the fourth and two-out single in the fifth, but mixed in four of his seven strikeouts to preserve the shutout.

“Jonny came up pretty big in our run last summer, so we evaluated what they had today, and this was a good time for Jonny to get out there and get stretched out,” Slicer said. “He hasn’t even thrown a bullpen in that time, so it’s good to see him throw a shutout.”


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