Thursday, December 12, 2013
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
OLD ORCHARD BEACH - Two bad games in a row out of Post 51? Not likely.
Zack Mathieu and Reid Nutter each hit two-run doubles in the first inning, and Isaiah Fleming gave up just one run through eight innings Thursday to lead Post 51 of Oakland-Fairfield to a 6-1 victory over Fayette-Staples of Saco in an elimination game of the American Legion baseball state tournament at The Ballpark.
Zone 2 champion Post 51 (20-3), comprised of players from Lawrence High and Messalonskee's state Class A championship team, rebounded from a 13-1 opening loss to Windham and moves on to play Bangor at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Zone 5 champion Fayette-Staples (15-7), which also lost its opener Wednesday, was eliminated from the state tournament. But the season is not over for the team comprised of Thornton Academy players. As the host team of the Northeast Regional, it gains a berth into that tourney at The Ballpark, beginning Aug. 9.
"We needed that," said Post 51 Manager Paul Jacobs. "Today we played our game, played good defense; we were patient at the plate.
"Fleming was the biggest difference. "We needed someone to go out throw strikes. He did, and our defense did its job."
Fleming gave up seven hits, struck out six and walked four.
"I just tried my hardest to throw strikes," he said.
"I came out and hit my spots. It took me a while to adjust to the strike zone, but once I did, my two-seam fastball and curve were doing pretty good."
Jeff Gelinas was the only hitter to solve Fleming, going 4 for 4 with two doubles.
"He did a great job of keeping guys off balance," said Gelinas, who also drove in Fayette-Staples' run in the eighth. "You could tell guys were getting frustrated; I've been there, too. But that's one thing about this team, these kids keep their heads up. They're right back at it the next inning."
Jeff Kenney took the loss for Fayette-Staples, giving up five runs on nine hits, with two strikeouts, two hit batsmen and no walks through 71/3 innings.
Post 51 wasted no time in the first inning. Blair Blaisdell reached on catcher interference between two flyouts to right field. Matt Woodbury singled, and Mathieu doubled to bring them in. Devin Warren singled to set up Hutter's drive to left-center field for a 4-0 lead. Galley got out of the inning with a strikeout.
Kenney and his teammates settled in after that.
But by then, Post 51 was in control.
"(Kenney) had a tough first inning, but they did that with two outs," said Fayette-Staples Manager Ray Petit. "Hats off to them, they did a great job.
"We have plenty to work on (before the regionals). We need better at-bats and to stop waving at off-speed pitches when we're ahead in the count."