A record of 10-11 doesn’t normally put you in a discussion of the top eight teams in the state. But there are a lot of reasons to believe Post 51 is better than that record, and that team is one of the eight in the American Legion Baseball state tournament, which begins Wednesday morning.

Post 51, which has players from Messalonskee, Lawrence, and Waterville, was 4-10 before winning its last regular season game. Post 51 still finished last, but won a play-in game against The Red Barn, then rallied from the loser’s bracket to defeat Franklin County for the Zone 2 championship.

“I think our regular season, we had kids involved in a lot of different groups and activities,” Post 51 co-coach Rusty Mercier said. “Now we have the unit that makes us the most competitive team.”

The entire tournament will be played at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University. Post 51 plays Zone 3 runner-up Bessey Motors of South Paris at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday. Franklin County (12-8) faces Zone 2 champion Pastime Club of Lewiston at 3:30.

In Wednesday’s other games, Brewer takes on Staples Crossing of South Berwick at 10 a.m., and Bangor plays Morrill Post of South Portland at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the tournament, visit the tournament website.

Post 51 used its aggressive offense to both manufacture runs and string together big innings in the Zone tournament. Jake Dexter and Devin Warren are the top pitchers, and A.J. Godin had two solid outings in the Zones. Patrick Breton and Reid Nutter are available in relief, as is Cody Martin, who was previously unable to pitch in the playoffs while his possible arm injury was diagnosed.

“I feel like pitching is going to be our strength,” Mercier said.

Bessey Motors’ base team is Oxford Hills — although, as is the case with Post 51, it’s not as simple as just the high school team filling out the roster.

“I understand that they have a pretty good group of older kids who are coming back who didn’t play high school ball this year,” Mercier said.

Franklin County got a complete-game outing from Colton Lawrence to defeat Westbrook, 4-1, in Saturday’s state tournament play-in game. Lawrence is the only pitcher for the Flyers who will go in the tournament having pitched in the last seven days. Franklin County coach Kyle Gunzinger said he would be willing to start Lawrence again on Thursday.

“That would be the fifth day, after four days rest,” Gunzinger said.

Pastime Club is pretty much an annual participant in the state tournament. One of the top players for the team is Ryan Riordan, the former Lisbon standout who played for Oak Hill this spring.

“I expect a very good baseball team,” Gunzinger said.

The Flyers still have solid pitching led by Amos Herrin and Evan Roberts, both of whom are coming off fine starts in the Zone tournament. Having a full roster — like the Flyers did in Saturday’s win over Westbrook — will undoubtedly help as well.

“We’re going to try to scratch out runs and play good defense,” Gunzinger said. “Pitching, I’m sure, is key.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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