Two tournament-tested teams will represent Maine when play begins today in the American Legion Baseball Northeast Regional at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

State champion Gayton Post of Lewiston and host Fayette-Staples Post of Saco will play in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament for players 19 and under. The regional is being played in Maine for the first time in 20 years.

Last weekend, Gayton Post came out of the losers’ bracket to win four consecutive games and capture its second consecutive championship in the state tournament at Augusta.

Fayette-Staples Post, made up primarily of players from Thornton Academy in Saco, went 0-2 in the state tournament after going 1-1 in the Zone 5 playoffs and then edging Westbrook 3-2 in a play-in game.

“Playing close games in the state tournament and playing two close games in the zone tournament, I think, will help our players,” Fayette-Staples Coach Ray Petit said. “It was a great experience for these guys.

“This is a step up. Hopefully, we’ll play the way we’ve been playing.”

On the opening day of the state tournament, Fayette-Staples fell into the losers’ bracket as Gayton Post pulled out a 13-11 win.

“That game against Gayton Post was a tough one to take,” Petit said. “We played well; we went up and then we battled back and we just came up short at the end.”

Gayton Post showed a great amount of resiliency in capturing its second straight state title.

On the last day of the double-elimination tournament, the Zone 3 champion rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to pull out an 8-7 win against Brewer.

In the championship game, Gayton Post rallied from an early 6-1 deficit before rolling to a 15-6 win against Augusta.

“One of the best attributes of our team is how hard (the players) work,” Gayton Coach Todd Cifelli said. “They really did a great job in that tournament taking it one pitch at a time and playing inning to inning.”

A year ago when the Northeast Regional was played at Palmer Stadium in Middletown, Conn., Gayton Post went 1-2.

“What we’ve had all year from the spring to the summer is a diligent work ethic,” Cifelli said.

It is the first time Maine has hosted a Legion regional since 1991 when state champion Biddeford and host Brewer played in a regional held at Mahaney Diamond at the University of Maine in Orono.

The five-day tournament includes teams from Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. 

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