BANGOR — The best and most secure artists never stand around to admire their work. Post 51’s Jake Dexter breezed through the Staples Crossing lineup, then was gone from the ballpark just as quickly.

Thanks in large part to Dexter, he and his teammates will be back at the Winkin Complex at Husson University on Friday afternoon. On Thursday morning, Dexter threw 107 pitches in a complete-game, five-hit shutout as Post 51 won 3-0 in an elimination game at the American Legion Baseball state tournament.

“Jake? Oh my God. Lights out,” said Post 51 second baseman Ben Frazee. “He was a leader today. No doubt.”

“I’ve been very impressed, especially with how he’s been pitching the past couple weeks,” Post 51 co-coach Ray Bernier said. “He’s becoming really focused, strong, efficient with his pitches. He finished with 107 (pitches). You’d normally take that in a seven-inning game, so I’ll take that in nine innings, definitely. He’s been right on fire. He’s been pitching well, very confident.”

Post 51 (11-12) has another elimination game at 3 p.m., Friday against the loser of Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. game between Pastime and Bangor. Staples is eliminated from the tournament with a final record of 19-3.

After Thursday’s 7-2 loss to Bessey Motors, Bernier emphasized that his team needed to play with more emotion. Post 51 did that, sparked by one play on offense and another on defense.

The game was scoreless in the bottom of the fourth inning when Devin Warren led off for Post 51. Warren slapped what looked like a routine grounder to second base. Instead of conceding the out, Warren ran with the urgency of someone trying to stretch a double into a triple. His hustle forced a bad throw and Warren followed by stealing second.

Warren was erased trying to take third on a groundout but Post 51 had sent a message. Frazee followed with a sinking liner that turned into a triple when it got by the center fielder. Frazee later scored on a wild pitch to give Post 51 a 1-0 lead.

It was still 1-0 in the top of the sixth when Noah McDaniel and Jake Lebel singled for Staples with one out. Jordan Roberge rapped a grounder to Joe Leclair at shortstop. On the pivot, Lebel took out Frazee, but Frazee hung in and completed the double play. Lebel helped Frazee to his feet after the play.

“It’s those little things,” Bernier said. “Like for Ben, he stuck in there, got taken out. It was a big play. It fired the guys up a little bit, which we really need.”

“I was just looking to spin two,” Frazee said. “No harm. He said he was sorry.”

Post 51 came to bat in the bottom of the sixth and struck for two more runs. Warren again led off with an infield single and stole second. Frazee singled with one out and when Post 51 tried a delayed steal, Staples threw the ball away trying to chase Warren back to third. Josh Woodard singled Frazee home to make it 3-0.

Dexter, who walked one and struck out five, was in total control by this point. Staples tried to make it interesting, as Zach Hodges doubled to lead off the seventh and Max McCoomb added a one-out double in the eighth. Those were the only baserunners Dexter allowed in the final three innings though, and Post 51 had its mojo back.

“Today we just came out to play ball,” Frazee said. “We played our own ball. We were ready.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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