OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Bedford Post left little doubt Monday afternoon it was the best team in the American Legion baseball Northeast Regional.

The New Hampshire squad rolled to a 10-0 win against Whitestown, N.Y., at The Ballpark to complete its unbeaten run through the double-elimination  tournament for players 19 and under.

The regional champs advance to the American Legion World Series, which starts Friday at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C.

“I never thought this would happen in a million years,” said Bedford Post third baseman Pat Parker, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player after compiling a .524 batting average. “As a team, we’re very grateful, but we’re a very talented team, too, and I think we ought to do well in the nationals.”

The squad, made up of players from Merrimack and Bedford high schools, led the eight tournament teams in nearly every statistical category.

Bedford hit .339 during the regional, which included teams from the six New England states and New York. Its pitchers compiled an earned-run average of 0.41. Bedford also had a .958 fielding percentage, tops among the four teams that played four or more games in the five-day tournament.

In Monday’s game, Lucas Oten, a right-hander who will attend Division II Southern New Hampshire College, allowed just four hits to post his second complete-game win of the tournament.

“Lucas throws a lot of off-speed pitches and keeps guys off-balance,” Bedford Post Manager Tim Conway said. “He keeps the ball around the plate while keeping his pitch count low and the hitters off-balance.”

Parker, who singled twice and homered, and left fielder Mike Skilton each drove in two runs. Ryan Mossman, Ian Urquhart and Zach Husband each added run-producing hits.

The game ended after eight innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

“We all bonded as a team, became a family, and we played well,” Parker said.

“Our pitching just came alive,” Conway said. “It’s easy to win games when your pitchers are giving up one run per game.”

It had been 20 years since the regional tournament had been held in Maine.

“When I came here for the inspection tour last April, this field was almost like a cow pasture, but they told me it would be in shape,” said tournament director Bob Netherland, who is from Goochland, Va. “When I walked in here last Tuesday, I couldn’t believe it was the same place.”

The tournament will return to The Ballpark next summer.

“I think it went extremely well,” said Bob Moody, co-chairman of OOB 365, sponsor of the event.
“I’ve had nothing but compliments. For a first-time experience, we learned a lot. We learned some things we might do differently next year.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:
[email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH