OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — Bangor’s run at the American Legion baseball state tournament ended Friday, as Devin Warren and Jake Dexter combined to limit the Comrades to four hits as Post 51 of Oakland-Fairfield earned a 5-2 victory over the Zone 1 champions in an elimination game at The Ballpark.
Bangor finished 20-4 overall and 1-2 in the double-elimination state tourney after the Comrades collectively batted just .146 (13 for 89) during their three games.
“We definitely didn’t have our best performances,” said Bangor coach Dave Morris. “At the times we’d come up with a big hit we didn’t have a guy on ahead of him or we just couldn’t string hits together.”
“But that’s baseball, and I think at the same time we’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Post 51 played a great game, they pitched a great game, and with our kids it’s not a question of effort, we just couldn’t string hits together.”
Post 51 (20-3) faces First Title of Portland on Saturday, while two-time defending state champion Pastime Club of Lewiston (21-3) remained alive with a 7-3, 10-inning victory over Saco-Biddeford Savings of Westbrook and plays Windham in Saturday’s other game.
Those matchups were determined before Friday’s late game between tournament unbeatens First Title and Windham based on matching teams that have not yet faced off. The First Title-Windham winner plays in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game, while the First Title-Windham loser faces its opponent at 3 p.m.
Righthander Warren worked seven solid innings against Bangor for Post 51, scattering three hits while striking out seven batters and walking four. He did not retire Bangor in order in any inning, but stranded five baserunners before being relieved in the eighth by Dexter, who allowed only one runner over the final two innings.
“Devin’s performance was great,” said Post 51 coach Paul Jacobs. “Fastball, curveball, keep them off balance. He’s good at changing speeds and controlling bat speed.”
Post 51’s No. 9 batter, Parker Forsley, was the game’s offensive star with two singles and three RBIs. Blair Blaisdell and Zach Mathieu each singled twice as the Zone 2 champs amassed nine hits despite having their third and fourth batters, Sam Dexter and Matt Woodbury, go a combined 0 for 7.
“Sam and Matt are our studs hitting-wise, they both batted .400 or .500 during the year,” Jacobs said. “They’ve been lax a little bit in the playoffs but that’s why you have other players on the team to come on and have a good at-bat, get a couple of clutch hits and win the game. That’s what it’s all about.”
Nic Cota singled twice for Bangor.
Post 51 broke on top with a run in the bottom of the first despite not hitting the ball out of the infield.
Dexter drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a sacrifice fly by Blaisdell and to third on a passed ball.
Sam Dexter then was hit by a Justin Courtney pitch and, when he tried to steal second, the throw bounced off the glove of Bangor shortstop Carl Farnham and into center field, enabling Jake Dexter to score.
Post 51 padded its lead an inning later. Warren walked and went to second when Reid Nutter beat out a bunt single. A sacrifice by Josh Doolan advanced the runners to second and third before Forsley drove home Warren with a groundout to shortstop and Jake Dexter’s infield hit to shortstop plated Nutter to make it 3-0.
Bangor, which had just one hit through three innings, parlayed back-to-back singles, an outfield error and a sacrifice fly into a two-run uprising in the top of the fourth that closed the gap to 3-2.
Cota grounded a leadoff single to center and scored from there when Nick Ashey singled to left and the ball got past Post 51’s Zach Mathieu and rolled to the fence.
Ashey reached third on the play and scored on Seth Freudenberger’s sacrifice fly.
Post 51 chased Courtney with a three-run rally after two were out in the bottom of the fifth. Mathieu hit a one-out single to left, then Nutter drew a two-walk and Doolan singled to left to load the bases.
Forsley followed with a single to right-center, driving home Mathieu and Nutter to extend Post 51’s lead to 5-2 before Bangor reliever Greg Duff came on to get Jake Dexter to fly out to center to end the inning.
Courtney allowed four earned runs on eight hits with one strikeout and four walks over his 4 ⅔ innings on the mound.
Duff retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced with a strikeout and no walks.