WATERVILLE — Ray Bernier saw it as the baseball coach at Messalonskee High School this spring. Now he’s seeing it as the co-coach of the Post 51 Legion team.

Just like the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A, Legion Zone 2 is filled with a bunch of generally even teams. RTD has won eight in a row while Post 51 has lost three straight, but there isn’t much difference between the two clubs. What was different on Tuesday evening was defense, and that helped RTD take a 5-2 victory at Colby College.

“I think what’s amazing is how Legion is matching up the same way as the regular season with parity,” Bernier said. “It’s a matter of who shows up and who makes the plays.”

Taylor Bacon got the win for RTD (8-3), which represents Madison Post 39 and includes players from Madison, Skowhegan and Valley. Bacon allowed five hits and two walks while striking out two. His defense made no errors, while Post 51 had four. Bacon also beat Post 51 with a complete game on Thursday.

“They know what I look like,” Bacon said. “But I was pretty confident going into the game, so I wasn’t too worried about it.”

Post 51 pitcher Devin Warren was even better through five innings. Warren allowed a single to Cody Laweryson with one out in the top of the first, then didn’t allow another hit the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Post 51 (4-5) scratched out a run in the first when Warren walked, Zach Mathieu singled, Bacon threw a wild pitch, and Warren scored on Jake Dexter’s groundout. It was still 1-0 after five innings.

“It’s a lot more exciting,” Bacon said. “It keeps me on my toes when I have their pitcher going right back at me.”

But when Post 51 took the field for the top of the sixth, Dexter moved from shortstop to pitcher and Warren was in center field.

“(Devin) actually came to me,” Bernier said. “I was going to actually continue with him, and he came to me and said that he thought it was enough. If the pitcher does that — especially someone with experience like that, and they’re used to being out there, wanting to be out there — if he says that’s enough, I definitely trust in that.”

Dexter got the first two outs on just three pitches, but Garrett Emery took first on an error, which seemed to change everything. Kam Nelson followed with a ground ball through the right side for a base hit, and Chase Nelson drilled an RBI double just inside the bag at first to score Emery and tie the score. John Swett entered as a pinch-hitter and dumped a 2-0 pitch into right field for a two-run single, putting the 39ers up 3-1.

Post 51 rallied back against Bacon in the bottom of the sixth, as Mathieu singled and eventually came home on a single by Ben Frazee. The 39ers played for one run in the top of the seventh — Derek LeBlanc bunted for a single and Laweryson bunted him over to second — but D.J. Allen blasted that plan to smithereens with a bomb over the left field fence. The two-run shot gave RTD a 5-2 edge.

“I was just waiting for that pitch,” Allen said. “He got up on me, and I was expecting a curveball. I adjusted — he threw me a fastball inside. I took a good cut at it, and I got a good piece of it.”

RTD hasn’t won many games by big margins, but then again nobody has in Zone 2. The 39ers are in good shape to get one of the two byes in the Zone 2 tournament, and that could be huge in a league with this kind of parity.

“Coach (Al) Wilson’s always here getting us fired up before the games and making sure we’re on top of everything,” Allen said. “Coach (Peter Kirby) switches new lineups, everything else, mixing things up, put people in different positions, make sure we’re on top of our game.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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