AUGUSTA – Defending state champion Gayton Post kept its unbeaten record intact with a 13-11 victory over Fayette-Staples Post on the opening day of the American Legion baseball state tournament Wednesday.

The 10-run mercy rule was invoked in 14 of its 18 wins during the regular season, but Fayette-Staples gave Gayton Post all it could handle.

“We faced some good teams in our zone, but we knew (Fayette-Staples) can swing the bats,” Gayton Post Coach Todd Cifelli said. “Every team we play here is going to be the toughest team we faced because there are only eight of us left.”

Gayton (22-0), made up primarily of players from Lewiston and Auburn, took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh when Mekae Hyde pulled a two-run homer over the right-field fence to break a 10-10 tie.

Fayette-Staples, which includes players from Saco and Biddeford, is already guaranteed a berth as the host team in the American Legion Northeast Regional, scheduled to start next Wednesday at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

“We just don’t want to be invited to the regional, we want to show we can be competitive,” Coach Ray Petit said.

Fayette-Staples took a 4-0 lead in the first inning before Gayton Post got rolling.

“I was happy with the way we battled,” Petit said. “We played a complete game. I just wish when we get those early runs we keep sticking it to them, but we kind of go into a lull offensively.”

The teams combined for 23 hits, but walks, wild pitches and hit batsmen figured prominently in the scoring.

“The tough factor of the game was walks for both sides,” Cifelli said. “We have to do a better job of getting ahead of hitters.”

Fayette-Staples took the early lead on Matt Turnage’s two-run double and Jon Dupee’s two-run single. Gayton scored four runs in the third on Corbin Hyde’s two-run double, Jeff Keene’s RBI single and a passed ball.

Gayton scored five in the fourth to take a 9-4 lead. Mekae Hyde and Joe Sullivan each had two-run doubles and Keene drove in a run with his second single.

Fayette-Staples (18-4) took advantage when starter Corbin Hyde and reliever Matt Bowen had trouble finding the plate in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on five walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch to make it 9-8.

Gayton moved into a 10-8 lead in the sixth on a walk, Keene’s double and Sullivan’s bad-hop single through the right side.

Fayette-Staples tied the game in the top of the seventh when James Kenney drove in two runs with a double, but Gayton Post quickly regained the lead in the bottom half on Mekae Hyde’s home run.

Fayette-Staples closed the gap in the eighth when Turnage drove in a run with his fourth hit, but Sullivan doubled with two outs and scored on two wild pitches in the bottom half.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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