AUGUSTA —Threatening skies forced the postponement of the American Legion baseball state championship game Sunday afternoon.

 The Windham Merchants will play Saco & Biddeford Savings of Westbrook for the state title at 2 p.m. Monday at the Capitol Area Recreation Association’s complex on the Augusta’s east side.

“We called the weather bureau, and at first they told us we were going to have a heavy downpour lasting almost an hour, then a break and another (downpour) coming behind it, so that’s what we went with,” said Chuck Berube, state director of American Legion baseball.  “This is an important game, it’s the 15th game and do want to put these kids out there where they could slip and pull and groin muscle.”

Windham manager Brody Artes was not happy with the decision.
 

“I think things look fine,” he said. “The field’s in good shape.”

The decision was made after a steady drizzle forced the ground crew to place tarps around the plate area and on the pitching mound.

“Actually, the water that we got helped (the field) out a little bit,” Artes said. “We’ve got clear skies on the way in, and both teams are ready to go. Now, we’ve got to come back tomorrow. I think we definitely could have gotten (the game) in today.”

Westbrook coach Greg Souza agreed with the decision to postpone the game until Monday.

“I didn’t want to start and stop,” he said. “If we played, I wanted to keep on playing, but I know what the weather forecast is.”

  Souza said the game was too important to have the weather affect its outcome.

“I would hate to have a team lose because an outfielder slips and falls down and a ball drops and the winning run scores,” he saud, “so we’ll come back tomorrow and play.” 

  Earlier Sunday, the Merchants rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth to pull out a 5-4 win against Bangor to advance to the first state championship game in the Legion squad’s history.

  “It was another great comeback for us,” Artes said. “The kids did a great job. It was definitely emotional for us. We were down and down to our last three outs, and we got some key hits.”

  Cody Dube led off the ninth with a double and Shawn Francouer, the next batter, was hit by a pitch. Consecutive singles by Tanner La Berge, Nate Boyle and Dennis Meehan produced the scores. It was the fourth time Windham had avoided elimination from the eight-team tournament.  

On Wednesday, the first day of the tournament, Westbrook rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 8-7 win against the Merchants.

Windham remained alive Saturday by pulling out a 7-6 win against Pastime Club of Lewiston and rolling to a 10-6 win over Westbrook, the last team to lose in the double-elimination tournament.

Both of Monday’s starting pitchers — Shawn Francouer of Windham and Zack Bean of Westbrook — are eligible to pitch nine innings.