AUGUSTA — There was nothing phony about Madison’s post-game celebration at Saturday’s American Legion Zone 2 baseball tournament.

The Post 39ers just knocked off top-seeded Post 51, 6-2, behind a nine-inning pitching gem from Cody Moody and swarmed together just outside the third-base line following the final out. Just as significant was how far the team had come in a year.

“It’s a big deal seeing how we didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Madison catcher Garrett Emery said. “We’re in and we’re ready.”

Madison faces Gardiner today in the double-elimination tournament while Post 51 takes on South China Subway in an elimination game. Both games are scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Piggery Road complex. The finals will be played Monday with the winner advancing to the state tournament and the runner-up competing in a play-in game.

Emery had three hits, including a two-run triple when Madison scored three runs in the fifth inning. But Moody was the story of the game. After allowing two runs in the second inning, the big right-hander shut out Post 51 over the final seven innings. Because Madison finished the season with three wins by forfeit, Moody hadn’t pitched in several days.

“I hadn’t thrown much so my arm was tight,” he said. “The more I went on, the more I got loose.”

Moody retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced and didn’t allow a runner past first base after the fourth inning. Mixing his fastball with an effective curve, he kept the ball low and away from the strong-hitting Post 51 lineup.

“He set his pitches up well and hit his spots when he had to,” Post 51 manager Paul Jacobs said. “He just controlled our bat speed.”

Madison scored twice in the first inning against starter Reid Nutter as Kaleb Brown and Emery each singled home runs. Post 51 tied the score in the bottom of the second inning after Matt Woodbury singled and scored on Isiah Fleming’s double to left-center. But the Post 39ers picked up a crucial out when Fleming was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Madison opened the fifth inning with five straight hits off Nutter, the last Emery’s triple to right field. The inning could have been a bigger one if Madison didn’t have one runner picked off third and another tagged out in a rundown following a missed squeeze bunt.

“The last game of the season we played, we put together 16 runs,” Madison manager Peter Kirby said. “I think we fed off that.”

Moody, who was Skowhegan Area High School’s top pitcher last spring, escaped jams in the fourth and fifth innings before hitting his stride over the last four.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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