GORHAM — Some members of the Fairfield Post 14 Junior Legion baseball team started Monday morning with their first football practice of the season. Some attended their first soccer practice.

“I even have a golfer,” Post 14 manager Rusty Mercier said.

When it came time to focus on baseball, though, Post 14 came together.

Tri-Town tied the Junior Legion baseball state championship game with two runs in the top of the seventh inning. Post 14 came back and scored in the bottom of the eighth to win 4-3 to win its first state championship.

Tri-Town of Mechanic Falls forced the second game at the University of Southern Maine, winning the afternoon’s first game, 7-3.

“The kids were upbeat (between games),” Mercier said. “They got something to eat and were ready to go.”

Added Post 14 outfielder Cody Martin, who was named tournament Most Valuable Player: “We talked about keeping it our minds that we could win.”

Post 14 won when Cole Robinson singled to right to score J.T. Nutting with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Nutting led off with an infield single when no Tri-Town player covered first base on his slow roller between the mound and first. Ben Frazee bunted Nutting to second base, and Nutting took third on a wild pitch.

With Tri-Town’s infield drawn in, Jared Cunningham hit a ground ball to short, but first baseman Jake Simard never touched the bag after getting the throw. Instead, Simard focused on keeping Nutting at third. Martin was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting up Robinson’s game-winning hit.

“One thing about these kids is, they’ve played a lot of baseball this summer,” Mercier said. “They’re battle-tested.”

That experience helped Post 14 overcome some missed opportunities, none bigger than in the bottom of the seventh inning. Post 14 loaded the bases with none out when Alex Chesley singled, Jonathan Wilkie reached on a throwing error and Joe Leclair reached on a bunt single. But Chesley was picked off third by catcher Tanner Marston for the first out, and Pat Breton hit into an inning ending double play.

Post 14 also left the bases loaded in the fifth inning.

“We had a few opportunities to score. We played a lot of small ball, and it backfired on us in (the seventh),” Mercier said.

Post 14 led 3-1 in the top of the seventh, and when Sean Murphy hit into a double play, Tri-Town had two outs and nobody on base. But Billy Roscoe and Luke Johnson hit back-to-back doubles to cut Post 14’s lead to 3-2, and Marston singled to tie the game.

Breton threw all eight innings for Post  14, and Mercier pointed to his pitcher’s ability to get out of a bases loaded, no out jam with just one run in the fourth inning as a key to the game.

“Patrick, he hits his spots. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, and he kept us in the game,” Mercier said.

It was the second win of the tournament for Breton, who also threw a 1-0 shutout in the opener over Gray-New Gloucester. Breton found out minutes before the championship game that he’d be on the mound.

“(Mercier)  said ‘Go get loose.’ So I got loose. I went out there and did my best,” Breton said.
Post 14 led the first game, 3-2, before Tri-Town scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good. Kaleb Bridgham had three hits and scored a pair of runs for Tri-Town in the win.
   
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]
 

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