OLD ORCHARD BEACH — As much as anything, the American Legion baseball state tournament will test a team’s depth. Post 51 didn’t need to rely on that depth during the regular season, but now that the team needs it, that depth is there.

On Friday afternoon, No. 3-4 hitters and offensive leaders Sam Dexter and Matt Woodbury combined to go 0-for-7 against Bangor. Yet there was Devin Warren and Jake Dexter combining on a four-hitter, and there was No. 9 batter Parker Forsley with a big hit and three RBIs, as Post 51 stayed in the tournament with a 5-2 victory at The Ballpark at Old Orchard Beach.

“Sam and Matt are our studs, hitting-wise. They both batted four or five hundred all year,” Post 51 coach Paul Jacobs said. “They’ve been lax a little bit in the playoffs, but hey, that’s why you’ve got other players. It’s one through nine; it’s not one.”

Post 51 will play First Title today, and Reid Nutter will pitch for Post 51. Nutter is fresh, having thrown only one inning in the tournament.

(The time of the game depended on the result of Friday’s late game between First Title and Windham. If First Title won, Post 51 plays First Title at 3 p.m. If First Title lost, Post 51 plays First Title at 7:30 p.m.)

Post 51 has four starters of more or less equal effectiveness, and as the tournament has unfolded, that has become more of an advantage. Warren allowed three hits in seven innings and struck out seven. Bangor entered the game hitting .150 as a team during the tournament and ended it hitting .146.

“He’s good at changing speeds and controlling bat speed,” Jacobs said. “If they get a good swing at it, they get a good swing at it. Just hope they don’t.”

Bangor’s only two runs came in the top of the fourth inning, when Nic Cota and Nick Ashey led off with back-to-back singles. Cota scored and Ashey went to third when Ashey’s single went through an outfielder and to the wall. Seth Freudenberger then delivered a short sacrifice fly to bring Ashey home.

The Comrades didn’t have another hit until Cota singled to start the ninth. Warren retired 10 of the last 13 batters he faced, and two of those three who reached base were erased on the bases.

Dexter also changed bat speeds, but in this case, it was by giving Post 51 a hard thrower for the final two innings. Dexter struck out four over the final two innings for the save.

Post 51 went with the small-ball approach against Bangor starter Justin Courtney and scored three runs before getting a ball out of the infield.

In the first, Jake Dexter and Sam Dexter worked a double steal when Bangor threw the ball into the outfield. In the second, Warren led off with a walk, Nutter beat out a bunt single and Josh Doolan moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Warren scored on Forsley’s groundout and Nutter came home on Jake Dexter’s infield single.

That was all for Post 51 until the fifth, when the hosts loaded the bases with two out. Forsley took a ball and two called strikes before whacking the 1-2 pitch over the second baseman for a two-run single and a 5-2 lead.

“The first at-bat, he was throwing outside. I hit one down the first-base line and got a single,” Forsley said. “He threw me two curveballs in a row, and then went right back at it with an outside fastball, and I just hit it to right-center.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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