With Gardiner’s victory over Franklin County in a game that finished Friday evening, the field is finally set for this weekend’s American Legion Zone 2 Baseball tournament.

Weather permitting, Gardiner (9-10) will face top-seeded The Red Barn (14-3) at 10 a.m., today, followed by No. 3 Post 51 (11-7) against No. 2 Madison (12-6) at 1:30 p.m. All games in the double-elimination tournament will be nine innings and will be played at Morton Field in Augusta. The 10-run mercy rule is still in effect after the trailing team has batted seven times.

The tournament continues with three games scheduled for 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. The remaining two teams will square off at 1 p.m., Monday, for the Zone 2 championship, with an “if necessary” game to follow.

The Zone 2 champion advances directly to the state tournament, July 31-Aug. 4 in Augusta. The Zone 2 runner-up must win a play-in game against the Zone 3 runner-up at 11 a.m. on July 27 in Augusta.

Ben Allen will be the starting pitcher for Gardiner this morning against the Red Barn. Allen threw one inning Friday against Franklin County.

“We’re going to need Benny to throw quite a few,” Gardiner coach Dan Burdin said. “We had to play Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. We’ve got four or five guys who have pitched for us this season and can throw strikes. We’ll put a defense behind them, and see what we can do.”

The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205, will be without star shortstop Chandler Shostak, who is playing in the Lobster Bowl today. Thomas Foster will play short for The Red Barn.

“What I told the guys is, it doesn’t matter who we plug in, we do the job,” The Red Barn coach Don Plourde said. “I feel like we’re one of the deepest teams in the Zone.”

Plourde said The Red Barn will start either Jory Humphrey or Zack Lachance this morning. Whoever doesn’t start today will get the call Sunday.

Post 51 will be missing third baseman/relief pitcher Dylan Hapworth this weekend while he plays with his AAU baseball team. Post 51 still has a deep pitching staff to choose from. Isiah Fleming (who threw two innings against The First in Thursday’s play-in game) or Devin Warren will likely get the start this afternoon.

“We’ve got guys who can throw,” Post 51 coach Paul Jacobs said. “It’s going to be the execution on offense, the hits.”

Even Patrick Breton, who threw seven innings of shutout relief Thursday, is available. Jacobs said he’s planning to start Breton on Sunday.

“He’s got a rubber arm,” Jacobs said. “He kept his pitch count low.”

Madison coach Peter Kirby said the 39ers will start Brandon LeHay, Chase Nelson, or Kam Nelson this afternoon. Taylor Bacon is Madison’s ace, but Kirby said Bacon is doing mission work in Kosovo with his church, and likely won’t return until next week.

“We’ve got seven or eight kids who are throwing strikes,” Kirby said. “Yeah, it’s concerning when your best pitcher isn’t there, but on the other side, we’ve got people who can get the job done.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]ainetoday.com

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