FAIRFIELD — Over the next few days, Fairfield Post 14 Junior Legion baseball will try not to think of the Maine Monster wall looming in left field, 37 feet high and just 315 feet from the plate at the foul line, when they play at Portland’s Hadlock Field.

“Baseball’s baseball,” pitcher/infielder Joe Leclair said.

With an 18-2 record, Post 14 earned the top seed in the Junior Legion baseball state tournament. Post 14 took a two games to none win over Biddeford in the best-of-3 series opening round, and moved on to the four-team, double elimination championship tournament, which will be played at the home of the Portland Sea Dogs, the AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Post 14 will play South Portland at 2 p.m. today. In the other game, Westbrook takes on Bruno’s Restaurant of Portland.

“We need to play hard and play with confidence,” pitcher/infielder Cole Robinson said.

While the Post 14 players will make their Hadlock Field debut, manager Rusty Mercier, a former high school baseball coach in southern Maine, has coached teams playing at Hadlock a few times.

“What I remember is how hard the infield was, how true the hops were,” Mercier said. “(The ball) gets on you fast.”

Mercier said he has approximately 75 percent of the team that won the Junior Legion state title last year back to defend the title with a roster of 18 players. Twelve come from Lawrence High School, three from Waterville, two from Messalonskee and one from Winslow. Seven players also play on the Central Maine Babe Ruth 15-year olds team that will be at the New England tournament in Newtown, Conn. beginning this weekend, and will miss part of the Junior Legion tourney.

“We’ve had a nucleus of eight to 10 kids you can count on every game,” Mercier said. “We’ve had some very good pitching.”

Robinson is 7-0 for Post 14 with 46 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings. He and Cody Martin (5-2, 71 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings) lead the pitching staff, and Leclair and J.T. Nutting are a combined 5-0.

“Our pitching and defense have been pretty dominant,” Leclair said.

Jonathan Wilkie leads Post 14 with a .456 batting average. Martin (.387), Robinson (.341) and Spencer Folsom (.327) are among the team’s top hitters.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 

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