The Zone 2 American Legion Baseball season is supposed to start this evening. The start date has stayed the same for a while, which is something of an anomaly in Zone 2.

The league had nine teams last season, but dropped to eight when Waterville couldn’t find enough players to field a team. That prompted a new schedule and playoff system — which changed again, when South China Subway was also unable to field a team.

Zone 2 is still using the eight-team schedule, but whenever someone has Subway on the schedule, it’s considered a bye. The league will still have a four-team, double-elimination Zone tournament the weekend of July 20. The team finishing first in the regular season will receive a bye to the Zone tournament, while the other six teams will face off in play-in games, with the three winners also advancing to the Zone tournament.

The demise of Waterville and Subway means Post 51 draws from Lawrence, Messalonskee, Waterville, and Winslow high schools. Post 51 coach Paul Jacobs said he picked up Brian Bellows and A.J. Godin from Waterville and Donald Camp from Subway. They add to an already deep pitching staff which also includes Isiah Fleming, Jake Dexter, Devin Warren, Cody Martin, Reid Nutter, and Patrick Breton.

Post 51 finished third at the state tournament last summer, and is one of the favorites in Zone 2. Catching might be a concern, as Trevor Gettig will miss some time by playing on another all-star team. Gettig has the most experience behind the plate of anyone on the roster. Asked who will catch when Gettig is out, Jacobs said, “I don’t know yet. We’ve got a committee, I think.”

Gardiner also made it to the state tournament last year, and draws from solid programs at Gardiner, Oak Hill, Monmouth, and Winthrop high schools. Coach Dan Burdin said Gardiner has a lot of the Apple Valley players who were so successful at the Babe Ruth level the last couple years. Gardiner also has a a full 18-player roster. Burdin said it’s the first time in his 10 years of coaching that Gardiner has had 18 players.

The Madison 39ers lost their No. 1 pitcher in Cody Moody, who missed the age cutoff by about two months, but coach Peter Kirby said the 39ers bring back everyone who was eligible to play. That means 15 players from Skowhegan, two from Carrabec, and one from Madison.

Augusta is now known as The Red Barn, and picked up Jory Humphrey, Sean Cabaniss, and John Suga from Subway. They join seven Augusta players, led by Zack Lachance, Chandler Shostak and Tayler Carrier. Coach Don Plourde said nine of the 17 players on the roster are 16-year-olds.

Franklin County didn’t get anyone from Mt. Abram, and Rangeley didn’t field a baseball team this spring, so the roster is mainly Mt. Blue and Spruce Mountain players. Coach Kyle Gunzinger said the Flyers will still have 17 or 18 players.

Lincoln County, representing Wells-Hussey Post 42, draws from Lincoln, Boothbay, Medomak Valley and Wiscasset. The team has 15 or 16 players, said coach Tim Feltis. Rounding out the seven-team league is The First, which is named after a bank with several locations along the coast of Maine. The First competed last year as Amato’s of Rockland, and is coached again by Joe Nelsen. The First draws from two strong Class B programs in Camden Hills and Oceanside, and Nelsen said the roster has 18 players.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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