Madison coach Peter Kirby heard something on the radio about one pitch deciding who the 39ers would face in Saturday’s American Legion baseball play-in game.
Must have been a walk-off home run, Kirby thought.
It was more complicated than that. Just a little.
Windham and Pastime were completing their suspended game Thursday to determine which would be the champion and runner-up in Zone 3. Windham had to forfeit the game for using a pitcher for too many innings over three days, but Windham coach Brody Artes said the rule was interpreted incorrectly, and Zone 3 commissioner Todd Cifelli told the Lewiston Sun Journal the same thing on Thursday.
The upshot is that Windham is still the runner-up and will face Zone 2 runner-up Madison for a spot in the state tournament at 11 a.m., Saturday, in Augusta. The home team will be determined by a pregame coin flip. In Zone 2, The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, has already clinched a spot in the state tournament and will face Pastime at 10 a.m., Wednesday.
“I think the message to the kids is going to be definitely to take the momentum that we have — we did lose on a technicality — and use that as motivation going forward,” Artes said.
Windham had a strong showing in last year’s state tournament. One name on the roster familiar to central Maine fans is Dennis Meehan, the former Gardiner Area High School standout. Artes said Meehan moved to the Windham area after the school year ended and plans to play football and baseball at Husson University.
Artes said Meehan, Shawn Francoeur, Cody Dube or Joe Francoeur could get the start Saturday.
“That’s been one of our strong suits all year, is being able to throw out seven or eight guys we feel comfortable with,” Artes said.
Madison played well in the Zone 2 tournament, except for a few innings on Monday when the 39ers ran out of pitching and had some sloppy defense. Assuming Taylor Bacon is healthy and rested in a non-baseball sense, Madison has its pick of pitchers for Saturday’s game. Bacon, the 39ers ace during the season, missed the Zone 2 tournament while on a mission to Kosovo with his church.
Madison can also go with Chase Malloy, who struck out nine in eight innings of a 6-2 win over Post 51 on Saturday, or Brandon LeHay, who pitched effectively against The Red Barn on Sunday. Chase Nelson also went nine innings to beat Gardiner on Sunday.
“We’ll have everybody there, all the starters,” Kirby said. “It’s going to be just like playing a team like Augusta. We can’t make errors, because those good teams capitalize on it. These games usually come down to who makes the routine plays.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243