OLD ORCHARD BEACH — There are tough losses. And then there are losses so excruciating, it leaves you speechless.

After seeing his team suffer the latter Sunday afternoon, all Post 51 coach Paul Jacobs could think was how a brilliant season shouldn’t have ended this way.

“I could break everything in the dugout,” Jacobs said. “I’d like to, but I’m not going to.”

This was a kick in the head, the rear, the gut, you name it. Trailing by a run in the ninth inning, Pastime Club of Lewiston tied the score on a two-out error, then scored the winning run on a bases-loaded walk to eliminate Post 51, 5-4, on the final day of the American Legion baseball state tournament at The Ballpark.

After eight strong innings from starting pitcher Isiah Fleming, Post 51 took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth and brought in relief pitcher Jake Dexter for the save.

Dexter got the first two outs on a groundout to third and a lineout to left field. He then got two strikes on Joe Sullivan before Sullivan pulled a fastball down the third-base line for a double.

Mekae Hyde then worked the count to 3-0 before getting an intentional ball four. Corbin Hyde came up, and again Dexter got within a strike of the win. Hyde slapped a grounder through an infielder’s legs for an error, and Sullivan came home with the tying run.

With runners on the corners, Shawn Ricker took three straight balls before also being given ball four. With the bases now loaded, Ben Wigant walked on four pitches to end the game.

“Errors happen,” Jacobs said. “We should have called a slider on that fastball the kid got a double on. It’s just as much our fault as it is theirs. We win as a team and lose as a team.”

In games like this, you can look back at a dozen points and find an at-bat that could have made the difference. What if Post 51 had gotten a runner home from third with one out in the sixth, or not left the bases loaded in the eighth?

What if Cote hadn’t scored in the fifth after reaching on an error, or broken up a double play in the seventh, allowing Corbin Hyde to deliver a two-out RBI single? What if Post 51, and not Pastime, had won the coin flip and been the home team?

Post 51 scored three times in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. Blair Blaisdell walked and Sam Dexter drove him in with a double off the left-field wall. Matt Woodbury also walked, and Zach Mathieu brought one run home with an RBI single. Woodbury scored the third run on a double play to give Post 51 a 3-1 lead.

After the Post 51 players talked, they slowly gathered their things from the dugout.

“Look where we came from,” Jacobs said. “We’ve been in the league, actually a team, three years. We make it to the states, make it to the last day. I’m proud of them. We competed every game we’ve been in — to the end, all nine. Every game you play, there’s got to be a winner, and there’s got to be a loser.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

 

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