OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Fayette-Staples of Saco was the favorite to win the American Legion Zone 5 title this season. It proved the prognosticators were right, rolling past Kennebunk 10-2 Wednesday night to win the Zone 5 championship at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

Fayette-Staples was in the same position last summer when it entered the Zone 5 tournament as the top seed. After losing to York-Wells a year ago, Fayette-Staples didn’t let history repeat itself, playing one of its best games of the season.

Jeff Gelinas started for Fayette-Staples, and his dominance on the mound from the start set the table for his team. Gelinas notched a pair of strikeouts in the first inning, and finished the game with 11. Gelinas struck out the side in the seventh, and his curveball caught a couple of Kennebunk batters looking.

“He’s pitched well this summer. In bigger games, he’s seemed to step it up a little bit, and he did today,” said Fayette-Staples coach Ray Petit. “He did a great job”

Gelinas helped his own cause, driving in the first run of the game for Fayette-Staples in the first. Steve Harmon led off with a full-count walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Josh Coffin flied out to right, Harmon advanced to third when right fielder Caleb Burpee couldn’t corral Jack Kenney’s fly ball to right-center. Gelinas then drove home Harmon with a sacrifice fly to right, and Kenney scored on Alex Fallon’s single up the middle.

Kennebunk got one run back in the top of the second, when Gelinas showed got a little wild. After getting Ned Richards to ground out back to the mound on the first pitch and striking out Burpee looking on a curveball, Gelinas walked Lucas Butterfield. Butterfield stole second and then scored on an RBI single by Logan Bement. Bement then stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Colby Donovan walked on a 3-2 pitch, but Gelinas got out of the jam by striking out Bobby Ecklund on another breaking ball.

Fayette-Staples pulled away in the third inning thanks to the top of its order again. After No. 9 hitter Dylan Morton struck out leading off, Harmon, Coffin and Kenney hit consecutive singles to load the bases. Gelinas then connected with the first pitch he saw and lined a double off the wall in left field, plating two runs. Fallon then hit a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Kenney as Fayette-Staples led 5-1. That knocked Kennebunk starter Tom Snow out of the game after giving up five runs on five hits.

Fayette-Staples scored two more runs in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Harmon and an RBI double by Coffin. The top five hitters in the Fayette-Staples lineup reached base 15 times in 24 plate appearances, with nine hits, two walks, eight runs, and eight RBIs. That kind of production made life easy on the mound for Gelinas, and could make Fayette-Staples a tough out in the American Legion state tournament.

“When you score runs, it makes it a lot easier on everybody,” said Petit.

Kennebunk still has a chance of making the state tournament, even with the loss. It will play a preliminary game with Zone 2 runner-up Gardiner on Saturday morning at The Ballpark. The winner of that game will play again Wednesday, when the tournament starts at The Ballpark. Still, it’s not where Kennebunk wanted to be, as it finished the regular season just a game behind Fayette-Staples and had given the Saco team fits during the regular season.

“It wasn’t (our best performance), but the good thing is we do have another game to prove ourselves,” said Kennebunk coach Bob Nutter. “We have to come out with a lot more emotion on Saturday.”

Fayette-Staples gets the benefit of resting up, as it doesn’t play again until its tournament opener on Wednesday against Zone 4 champion Westbrook.

— Contact Wil Kramlich at 282-1535, Ext. 323.

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