Pictured: Colby DiMenna of Cromwell pitched four innings Friday to help the Panthers extend their winning streak to five. See below for more.

Old Saybrook needed to win badly Friday to remain in the postseason picture.

The situation stirred the competitor in Connor Lane. Arguably the state’s top all-around player, the senior wanted the ball against the Shoreline Conference’s only undefeated team.

Everything worked out in the Rams’ favor against North Branford.

Lane allowed one hit and struck out 15 in six innings, and Auggie Albert recorded the final three outs to give Old Saybrook a 4-1 win over the host Thunderbirds.

Lane, who two years ago verbally committed to UConn and will play for the Huskies next year, is the regular catcher for the Rams. But with the team mired in a five-game losing streak, coach Ryan Fraser knew it was best having the ball in his hands Friday.

“We kind of take it easy with him,” Fraser said. “We look at matchups and make sure that he has full recovery. He wanted this game. Ultimately, his performance was one of the best for a pitcher that I’ve seen. It’s crazy because not only is he the best player in the state, he’s one of the best pitchers in the state.”

Old Saybrook (3-7) took the lead with two runs in the second inning. North Branford’s only hit off Lane came in the fourth, an opposite-field single by Charlie O’Brien that scored Jason O’Connor.

The Thunderbirds’ run off Lane was unearned. The right-hander threw 62 of 103 pitches for strikes and did not issue a walk. He struck out every Thunderbird at least once.

“To shut down North Branford, with the ton of success they have had, says a lot about not just about the kind of pitcher Connor is, but the kind of competitor he is,” Fraser said. “It says a lot about the kid. Special person.

Fraser said Lane was still touching 93-to-94 mph with his fastball in his last inning of work.

“He sustained his velocity pretty good,” the coach said. “There weren’t a lot of high-pressure situations for him. He was kind of cruising pretty much the whole game. We had to throw our best punch to make this happen.”

Albert doubled, tripled and drove in two runs, and Lane doubled, walked twice and scored two runs. Lucas Hedge-Terreri, Ed Devaney and Vincent Bibisi also had hits for the Rams.

Old Saybrook has battled injuries this season and has a young roster outside of seniors Lane, Albert, Devaney and Nick Denovellis.

“We’ve lost a couple of close games recently, so it’s nice to win a tight one,” Fraser said.

Elsewhere around the county Friday:

Morgan 12, Coginchaug 11: In a wild walk-off finish in Clinton, Morgan came all the way back from an 11-2 deficit to win, scoring 7 runs in the seventh. The Huskies were down 11-2 after 3 innings before scoring single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth ahead of their comeback.

Seven Morgan players had multiple hits, led by Wyatt Luke (3 for 5, 2 RBI) and Sean Green (3 for 5, 1 RBI). The 2-hit group included Ryan Donadio (3 RBI, 2 runs), Ross Treubig, Travis Aiken, Jack Palazzo and Creighton Johnson (2 RBI).

Freshman Trevor Powell picked up the win in 5 innings of relief. The Huskies (9-3) have won 9 of their last 10 games.

For Coginchaug (0-11), Silas Barrett was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI, while Matt Yale, Jack Franceschet and Tyler Ufferfilge had 2 hits apiece.

Cromwell 9, Portland 5: Jess Elfreich continued his offensive tear with 3 hits and 3 RBI as Cromwell won its fifth straight game. James Vinchetti drove in two runs for the Panthers (5-5) and Connor Slifer was 2 for 2 with 2 runs scored. Josh Hanna was 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI for the Highlanders (3-6). Colby DiMenna pitched 4 innings for the victory, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts.

Old Lyme 3, Valley Regional/Westbrook 2: It was a day of baseball that Grady Lacourciere will never forget. The senior no-hit the Warriors and went 4 for 4 with 2 runs scored at the plate to lead the Wildcats. Lacourciere allowed 2 unearned runs, walked 2 and struck out 9. He singled in the first, third and fifth innings, and doubled in the seventh. Jordan Hanes was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI for Old Lyme (5-5). The Wildcats snapped a 4-game losing streak.

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