AUGUSTA — The Red Barn was the best team in American Legion Zone 2 Baseball during the regular season, and the best during the Zone 2 tournament. Not coincidentally, it was also the deepest team. On Monday, The Red Barn benefited from advantages it might not have even needed.

Madison was essentially down two pitchers to The Red Barn, because Madison’s top pitcher, Taylor Bacon, is on a mission in Kosovo with his church, and the 39ers also had to play nine more innings than The Red Barn on Sunday.

That made the outcome the expected one. Madison ran out of fresh arms, and The Red Barn pulled away for a 12-4 victory in the Zone 2 championship game at Morton Field.

“A lot of kids had to work (Monday),” Madison coach Peter Kirby said. “Two middle infielders are gone. We kind of knew coming in that some guys were going to pitch who haven’t pitched in a while. It is what it is, though. They’re the better team, and they won.”

The Red Barn (17-3), which represents Augusta Post 205, advances directly to the state tournament in Augusta, and will face the Zone 3 champion at 10 a.m. on July 31. Madison (14-8) must win a play-in game at 11 a.m., Saturday in Augusta, against the Zone 3 runner-up. The Zone 3 championship game between Windham and Pastime Club of Lewiston was called due to darkness Monday with the score tied at 11 after 10 innings. It will resume at 5:30 p.m., today.

Madison hung tough for five innings, before The Red Barn opened things up in the bottom of the sixth. Brandon LeHay, who threw five-plus innings in Madison’s 4-3 loss to The Red Barn on Sunday, started this one as well and went three innings. LeHay gave up five runs, two of which were earned.

Chase Malloy delivered RBI singles for the 39ers in both the second and fourth innings. Starter Zack Elwell, who got the win against Madison on Sunday, went the first five innings and threw 107 pitches. He left with a 6-4 lead, and only one of the runs he allowed was unearned.

“He was always going to pitch game three for us,” The Red Barn coach Don Plourde said. “He did a great job. He really did. He was pounding the zone, keeping the ball down. He did everything your No. 3 guy is asked to do.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Tayler Carrier led off with his second home run of the game to push The Red Barn’s lead to 6-4. Carrier’s towering home run to left field came one pitch after he was way ahead of a change-up.

“The second pitch, I was just trying to look for something I could drive, and unfortunately, I was a little ahead,” Carrier said. “The pitch after that, I was trying to stay back and shorten up, and fortunately, I put a pretty good swing on it.”

The Red Barn scored six times in the bottom of the sixth to finish out the scoring on the day. One run came home on an error, and then Carrier hit a two-run triple to deep center field. That was followed by a double down the left-field line by Zack Lachance and a two-run homer over the right-field wall by Jory Humphrey.

The Red Barn brought a full roster of 18 players to the game. In an era when many teams have trouble finding just the minimum nine players for some games, this was noteworthy.

“Having that depth, I think, is killer,” Carrier said. “Some teams don’t have that. They have their 10 or 11, and we’ve got 18 kids on the bench who can produce.”

“It’s one thing that we learned from last year,” Plourde said. “We were 3-15, and we had a lot of the same guys back. We made a commitment at the beginning of the year with the kids and said, ‘We need you for 18 (games), and if that’s not going to work, then we need to find guys who are willing to do that.’ Especially in the summer, you need depth. The kids, they all bought in. Kids aren’t complaining about playing time, so yeah, I’m very proud.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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