Monday, December 9, 2013
From staff reports
The Maine boys of summer will head for Old Orchard Beach on Wednesday for the start of the American Legion baseball state tournament at The Ballpark. The eight-team, double-elimination tournament ends Sunday.
Pastime Club of Lewiston, known as Gayton Post, is the two-time defending champ and among the favorites in a tourney with few returning teams.
Play begins with a 9:30 a.m. game between Zone 4 champion Fayette/Staples (15-5) representing the Saco area and Saco-Biddeford Savings (16-5), which sponsors the Westbrook team and is the Zone 5 champ. Fayette/Staples is the host team and automatically advances to the New England regionals, which also will be played at The Ballpark. Should Fayette/Staples win the title, the runner-up goes to the New Englands.
Zone 2 champ Post 51 (18-2) of Oakland faces Zone 3 runner-up Windham (16-6) at 12:30 p.m. Post 51 is made up of players from Messalonskee -- the Class A state champ -- and Lawrence high schools. Windham draws only from Windham.
One player from Messalonskee is star shortstop Sam Dexter; three others are second baseman Jake Dexter, outfielder/pitcher Devin Warren and pitcher Reid Nutter. High school graduates Blair Blaisdell and Matt Woodbury are key players, and Isiah Fleming was a nice addition from Lawrence.
"We concentrate on what we need to do," Coach Paul Jacobs said. "We're going to do what we do -- pitching, throwing strikes, defense and hitting."
If Windham goes with its ace in its first game, that will be Cody Dube. During the high school season, Dube was 5-1 with a 0.61 ERA. In 57 innings, he struck out 69 and walked six.
At 4 p.m., two-time defending state champion and Zone 3 champion Pastime Club (19-2) of Lewiston faces Zone 4 runner-up First Title (16-7) of Portland. First Title draws from Cheverus, which beat Lewiston 9-1 in the 2011 Class A final. First Title has perhaps the best pitcher in Zone 4 in Louis DiStasio, who posted a 0.85 ERA in the high school season. Lewiston has a team ERA of 1.63, and pitchers Joe Sullivan (0.72 ERA), Luke Cote, Corbin Hyde, and Matt Bowen all return. Hyde is also hitting .432 with five home runs this summer.
In the day's final game at 7 p.m., Zone 2 runner-up Gardiner (17-4) takes on Zone 1 winner Bangor (19-2). The teams are meeting for the third consecutive year. Two years ago, Bangor pulled away and won 11-4 on the first day of the state tournament. Last summer, Bangor defeated Gardiner 8-6 in a play-in game.
Bangor is essentially the Bangor High team, although a few players didn't come back this summer, and Dylan Morris and Seth Freudenberger returned after graduating in 2011.