WATERVILLE ā€” As you might expect, Jake Dexter was in the middle of things when Post 51 hosted Franklin County in a Zone 2 American Legion Baseball game Monday evening.

Dexter got the start on the mound, and after four innings, he moved to shortstop. In the bottom of the sixth inning, he was asked to bunt the winning run to second with the score tied.

As you also might expect, Dexter came up big both times. He allowed one run in four innings, and his bunt led to Zach Mathieu’s sacrifice fly for the winning run in Post 51’s 3-1 victory at Colby College.

The game began at 5:47 and ended at 7:04 ā€” that’s 1 hour and 17 minutes for 6 1/2 innings.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had a game that quick,” Franklin County coach Kyle Gunzinger said.

Dexter and Ryan Pratt were the starting pitchers, and both were able to pitch around potentially troublesome innings with minimal damage. Franklin County (3-1) went ahead in the top of the first when Pratt and Colton Lawrence singled, and Pratt came home on a two-out error. Post 51 (4-1) got that run back in the bottom of the third. With two down, Joe LeClair singled and stole second, and raced home when Danny Pooler (3 for 3) hit a rocket that one-hopped the fence in left-center field for a double.

Dexter allowed five hits and struck out five through four innings, but still came out after 47 pitches. Ray Bernier, who is the co-coach of Post 51 with Rusty Mercier, said he thought Dexter would be throwing at the underclassmen all-star showcase on Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College.

“That was part of it,” Dexter said. “I haven’t really started all year. I’m not really in starter shape right now, so I’m still building up a little bit.”

Pratt retired Post 51 in order in both the fourth and fifth innings, but Post 51 reliever LeClair also held Franklin County at bay. LeClair walked two and hit a batter, but allowed only one hit in three innings as the Flyers left eight runners on base in the game.

“With our kids, anyway, I’d like to see a little better pitch selection to swing at,” Gunzinger said. “But their kids pitched very well, too, and you’ve got to give credit to them.”

Pratt had retired seven in a row and the score was still 1-1 when Pooler led off the sixth with a single to right field. Dexter, the cleanup hitter, was due up next, and he laid down a nice bunt. When the throw got away, Dexter was on second and Pooler was at third.

“Good call on (Rusty), because I mentioned to him that he’s actually a good bunter,” Bernier said. “We needed that run, and it showed. He got that bunt down. It’s big to know that he’s willing to take that role. He’s supposed to be one of the big hitters, but is also willing to drop the bunt when he knows the team needs it.”

“I just wanted to put our team in a position to win,” Dexter said. “I haven’t been swinging it too great, and I thought it was a good opportunity to lay down a bunt.”

Amos Herrin jogged in from right field to relieve Pratt at that point. Herrin retired three of the four batters he faced, but Pooler scored on Mathieu’s line drive to center field and Dexter made it 3-1 on Spencer Folsom’s two-out RBI single.

Franklin County got a runner in the seventh on Pratt’s second single of the game, before LeClair got the last two outs to sew up the win.

Matt DiFilippo ā€” 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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