BENNINGTON >> As Burr and Burton manager Ed Lewicki strolled toward the mound, he had every intention of taking out starter Jay McCoy with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth ahead by two runs.
But when he got there, Lewicki's sophomore hurler had zero plans to give up the baseball to his coach.
"I went out there and he told me he was finishing [the inning]," Lewicki said. "Just the way he grabbed the ball and pulled it in, he looked right at me and said 'You're not taking me out, Jon [Iris] can pitch the seventh.'"
McCoy induced a flyout from Carter Bentley to escape with only two runs allowed and handed it over to Iris, who pitched a perfect seventh for a save in a 5-3 win over Mount Anthony on Friday afternoon.
"It was a really nice performance by Jay, he got out of a couple of jams today," Lewicki said. "It was a good game to win and a big game with three left [in the regular season]."
McCoy and Mount Anthony starter Austin Condo each went through the first two innings mostly clean, a Tyler Kraehling single the only blemish on either side.
But in the top of the third, Burr and Burton took the lead with three runs. McCoy started the inning getting hit by a pitch and Sam Cottrell added a single to get two runners on with no one out. Daniel Hatheway sacrificed to get the runners in scoring position and McCoy scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead. The next hitter, James Reilly, blooped a single in short center field for a 2-0 lead.
Kraehling struck out, but Griff Stalcup picked up his teammate with an RBI double to score the third run.
In the bottom half of the inning, MAU loaded the bases with one out on a walk by Will Shea, a base hit from Brian Grace and a hit from Bentley, but McCoy wriggled out of trouble, getting Pat Powers to foul out and Noah Normyle to fly out.
"We knew we could hit him, but we weren't able to get a hit at the right time," said Powers, who was 1-for-4 on the day.
BBA added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the fifth as Cottrell and Hatheway started the inning with base hits. Kraehling drove in the fourth run of the day with an RBI single and Hatheway scored himself on a wild pitch for a 5-0 lead.
"Both teams made some mistakes and we got some momentum early on and then later we had some misplays," Lewicki said.
MAU got on the board in the fifth with two out. Brian Grace singled and Bentley walked, setting up Powers, who drove in a run with a single to right. Normyle came up with two on and lined a shot toward right field, but Hatheway leapt and snagged it to end the inning.
"We were off with the pitch and the kid just catches it, it's deflating," Powers said.
Condo pitched around an error in the sixth and MAU started to get the bats going in the bottom half of the inning. Brody Farnum and Bryce Bush started the inning with hits and then Ryan O'Neill and Condo each hit deep fly balls to right for sacrifice flies to make it 5-3 with two outs. Shea singled to right and Grace walked and Lewicki went out to talk to his starter.
"Jay deserved a chance to get out of the inning, but credit to Mount Anthony, they kept swinging the bats," Lewicki said.
In the seventh, Iris came in looking for some redemption. In the game against MAU in Manchester, he was rocked, allowing eight runs in 1 2-3 innings.
"They came up to us and smacked me around pretty good, it was one of the worst outings of my life," Iris said. "It was nice to have to come in and set them down 1-2-3, to prove that last week isn't who I am as a pitcher."
Mount Anthony drops to 7-6 with two games remaining, while BBA improves to 11-2 with three games to go.
"We have to win out to get [a home game in playoffs]," Powers said. "If we can win the last two, it'd be a good morale boost going into the playoffs. We have the potential to go far."
With the win, Burr and Burton could climb into the top four seeds, a placement that if it holds would get them two home playoff games.