MADISON — Post 51 played like a first-place team (which it is) and Madison played like a young team which is still improving (which it is). Post 51 broke away in the fifth inning on its way to an 11-0 victory Tuesday in a Zone 2 American Legion baseball game shortened to six innings by the mercy rule.

“We played good baseball tonight,” said Tom Dexter, who was filling in as Post 51 coach on Tuesday. “Our starting pitcher, Chris Deraps, commanded the plate and got us off to a good start. A couple big hits early got us the lead and then we really started to turn it on late.”

Post 51 improved to 8-1 with the win to hold onto first place in Zone 2. Dexter’s son, Sam, hit two home runs — a line shot to center field in the top of the first and a high fly over the left-field fence in the sixth. Dexter was hit by a pitch in his other two times at bat. Matt Woodbury also homered for Post 51, and Dylan Foster had two singles.

Deraps and Madison starter Taylor Bacon both stand about 6 foot 4, and used very different styles on the mound. Deraps, who allowed three hits and struck out six in four innings, is more of a classic overhand pitcher with a fastball and curve.

Bacon, meanwhile, kicks up dirt as he brings back his left leg in his windup, then throws sidearm and at varying speeds, yielding a lot of ground balls to third and fly balls to left-center.

Bacon was effective for four innings, but Madison made five misplays behind him during that time. Madison (1-9) still trailed only 3-0 heading into the top of the fifth, but Bacon wore down and Post 51 scored six runs that inning off him and reliever Pat Ryan.

Madison left seven runners on base, and fell victim to a few nice plays by Dexter at shortstop. Reid Nutter pitched two scoreless innings for Post 51, giving up two hits and striking out three.

While Post 51 is trying to make a better showing in the Zone tournament this year, Madison is effectively out of the playoff hunt and building for the future. This isn’t a team that is ready to be competitive with teams like Post 51 on a regular basis, but the commitment is obviously there. Madison had 15 players at Tuesday’s game, which is safely more than most Zone 2 teams get for games.

“We got outplayed. We got outcoached. We’re outmatched,” Madison coach Peter Kirby said. “They’re just an older, better team. But we’re still having fun, and we’ll hang in there. As long as they want to show up every day, I’m happy with that.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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