There are six teams in American Legion Zone 2 Baseball. For a few hours on Friday, there was a possibility that five of them would finish the season tied for second place at 7-8. Now, this competitive season begins its playoff rounds.

RTD (11-4), which represents Madison Post 39, and Franklin County (9-6) received the league’s two byes and have already advanced to the double-elimination portion of the Zone tournament, which will be played Saturday through Monday at Memorial Field in Skowhegan.

The other two spots are still up for grabs. To fill them there will be two play-in games Thursday at 5:45 p.m.: The Red Barn (7-8) will host Post 51 (5-10) at Morton Field in Augusta, and Gardiner (6-9) hosts The First (6-9), a Rockland-based team. Thursday’s games will be seven innings, and beginning Saturday the games switch to nine innings.

Franklin County clinched its bye with a 5-3 win over The First on Tuesday in a game shortened to five innings by rain. The teams were scheduled to play another game on Wednesday, and a win for The First would have meant a home playoff game. But with a rainout a certainty and after consultation with the league’s coaches, including The First coach Bob Wolff, Zone 2 assistant commissioner Jeff Mertzel ruled the game a double forfeit, and Thursday’s games will go on as scheduled.

“All the teams have experienced a very, very tight schedule at the end,” Wolff said. “We wouldn’t have been able to play (Wednesday), anyway.”

Now, the problem is finding out where that game between Gardiner and The First will be played. Gardiner plays at the high school, on a field that is notoriously slow to recover from rain.

“We’ve got some feelers out to Oak Hill,” Gardiner coach Dan Burdin said Wednesday afternoon. “Right now, Gardiner’s (field is) under water.”

If Franklin County and The First had rescheduled their game for Thursday — and the play-ins had been moved to Friday — that would have been rough for The Red Barn, which represents Augusta Post 205. For one thing, The Red Barn wouldn’t have had a home field because of a local Babe Ruth tournament.

“Friday was going to be a little tough as far as kids’ schedules and stuff,” Red Barn coach Eric Brown said. “And we didn’t have a field.”

The league in general has been low-scoring, but The Red Barn has been an exception to that. Over the last five games, the team has averaged 5.8 runs per game and allowed 6.4.

“We’re a hitting team, I think, at this point,” Brown said. “Pitching is something that is always tough for any team.”

Post 51, with players from Messalonskee, Lawrence, and Waterville, is in the opposite situation.

“The biggest concern is our hitting,” Post 51 co-coach Ray Bernier said. “We showed some signs against Gardiner our last game (a 6-3 win) so maybe they’re starting at the right time.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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