SKOWHEGAN — It’s not typical to see a pitcher the quality of Devin Warren on the third day of an American Legion Baseball tournament in Maine.

Warren — who missed Saturday because of the Lobster Bowl and Sunday because of a family commitment — made sure himself that Post 51 capitalized on that.

The 2014 graduate of Messalonskee High School threw a two-hit shutout and struck out 11 as Post 51 stayed alive for the Zone 2 title with a 10-0 victory over Franklin County on Monday evening at Memorial Field.

“It actually helped me,” Warren said of last week’s Lobster Bowl activities, “because my arm was really fresh. That helped me strengthen my arm up, pretty much.”

The teams play again Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Memorial Field. The winner goes directly to the state tournament, which will be held July 30-Aug. 3 at Husson University. The runner-up plays Zone 4 runner-up Westbrook in a play-in game on Saturday morning at Husson.

Warren retired the first 11 batters, gave up a hit, then retired nine of the next 10. Franklin’s only baserunners in the game were on singles from Andrew Pratt and Jonny Hart, and a walk by Jay Chenard.

Warren hadn’t pitched in about two weeks, but even with all the strikeouts he still finished the game — which was shortened to eight innings by the 10-run rule — in 84 pitches.

“It felt like it was three days ago when I got back on the mound,” Warren said. “It’s just muscle memory.”

Post 51 didn’t have a hit in the first two innings, but broke through in the top of the third on Zach Mathieu’s three-run homer off the scoreboard in left field. Adam Littlefield doubled and scored on Cody Martin’s single in the fourth, and then Littlefield bashed a three-run double off the left-field fence as part of a four-run fifth that gave Post 51 an 8-0 lead. It’s the kind of hitting Post 51 has been looking for all season and has finally shown the last few games.

“I think they’re starting to jell a little bit better, which we kind of hoped they’d be by the time we got into this situation,” Post 51 co-coach Ray Bernier said. “Plus, we’re playing more consistently where players are supposed to be, and staying with it, instead of during the regular season, we were constantly rotating and shifting people around and everything.”

Joe Leclair homered in the eighth, and Zach Mathieu also scored in that inning when a pickoff throw got away. Franklin County coach Kyle Gunzinger said he felt his team could shake off the loss and bounce back Tuesday.

“It’s a game,” Gunzinger said. “We forget that a lot of times. It’s a game, and it’s about the kids. As adults sometimes, we take it with us for a couple hours. Kids, sometimes, they get off the field, it’s over with. They’re on to the next thing.”

Franklin County has four pitchers who haven’t thrown yet in the tournament: Ryan Greenman, Jonny Hart, Ryan Pratt, and Evan Roberts. Post 51’s top available pitchers at this point are probably Pat Breton, Jake Dexter, A.J. Godin, and Warren — all of whom have seen tournament action.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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