WATERVILLE, Maine — As his coaches attempted to figure out the best plan of attack for a tournament schedule besieged by frustrating rain and unplayable field conditions, Cody McInnis offered a content presence
“It’s the life of an American Legion baseball player,” said the Bangor shortstop late Friday afternoon, just after his team’s game against Smith-Tobey of Bath was suspended due to heavy rain.
So the 2009 state Legion tournament that began for the Comrades at the Capitol Area Recreation Complex in Augusta on Wednesday and continued Friday at Thomas College in Waterville will resume at 10 a.m. today in its third different city — at South Portland’s Wainwright Field, with Bangor holding a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning.
That’s just the most extreme example of the barnstorming quality this tourney has taken on since rains first soaked the already soggy original tournament site in Augusta on Thursday.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Zone 1 commissioner David Paul. “We have no control over the weather. Hopefully the teams understand.”
Ian Edwards lined a two-run homer to left after Chad Kelley had hit a one-out single in the bottom of the first to give Bangor, the Zone 1 champion, its lead over Smith-Tobey, the Zone 3 champion.
Edwards also allowed just one hit through 4¤ innings on the mound, but when he came out for the top of the fifth amid intensifying rain, he walked two of the three batters he faced before the game was halted.
“Ian pitched very well, very well,” said Bangor coach Fred Lower. “The frustrating thing for me, and I let the umpires know, was that we really shouldn’t have started the top of the fifth because it was a pretty steady rain, it was soupy and Ian was cruising and all of a sudden he walks two guys.
“I told the ump that if we were going to try to play through it, make sure their pitcher has to deal with the same conditions.”
The other Zone 1 representative, Hampden, had its elimination game against Kennebunk – being played at the University of Southern Maine at Gorham — suspended in the top of the eighth inning with the score tied 5-5.
When the game resumes at USM at 9:30 this morning, the Riverdogs will have the bases loaded and one out, with No. 9 hitter Brennan Perry — who already has a double and a single in the game — at the plate.
The winner of that game moves on to a 1 p.m. game against the loser of the Bangor-Smith-Tobey contest.
“It’s been a little frustrating because no one’s been able to plan,” said Hampden coach Jason Folsom, who drove home after Friday’s game to pick up his wife for a return to southern Maine early Saturday morning. “When we left the field [Friday], all I could tell everyone was we were going to play [Saturday] but I didn’t know when and I didn’t know where. But we found out pretty quickly.”
Tournament officials, scrambling to find available fields, did provide answers for Folsom and his team soon after the game was halted, for the USM field was available for use Saturday and now will be home to three full games as well as the completion of Hampden’s suspended contest.
Bangor’s next destination took a little longer to determine, as tournament officials sought to secure an additional field in Greater Portland to host the completion of that suspended game because while the winner will not play again until Sunday, the loser must play the Hampden-Kennebunk survivor in a 1 p.m. elimination game Saturday at USM.
The Bangor contingent returned home after Friday’s washout, but only long enough to gather some belongings before heading down to the Portland area to stay Friday night.
“You’ve just got to work around the weather,” said Lower. “They’re doing the best they can with the tournament trying to get fields ready, and it is what it is. It’s adversity, and you’ve got to come through it.”
Other games scheduled at USM on Saturday are a winner’s bracket contest between Nova Seafood of Portland and Gardiner at 10 a.m., and an elimination game between Waterville and the Nova Seafood-Gardiner loser at 4 p.m.
Paul said tournament officials hope Saturday’s weather provides for good drying conditions so Sunday’s games can be played in Augusta.