BANGOR — Post 51’s run finally came to an end because of its defense, and also because of three guys named Mitch, Mike and Matt.

In an American Legion Baseball state tournament elimination game on Saturday against Bessey Motors of South Paris, three Post 51 pitchers combined to allow a total of three hits. But Mitch Lorenz pitched 7 1/3 excellent innings, and Matt Beauchesne singled home Mike Mageles with two out in the bottom of the ninth to give Bessey a 4-3 victory at the Winkin Complex at Husson University.

Post 51 out-hit Bessey 10-3, but while Bessey did not commit an error, Post 51 had five.

“Obviously the scoreboard shows three hits and 10 hits, but that big ‘5’ is what changed it all,” Post 51 co-coach Ray Bernier said. “But you’ve got to give them credit. They kept putting the ball in play and put the pressure on us.”

Lorenz was down 1-0 after Reid Nutter singled home Adam Littlefield in the top of the second inning, but he did what he needed to after that. In the third, Cody Martin led off with a double, but was stranded at third. After Martin’s double, Lorenz retired 12 of the next 13 — and picked off the one batter who reached base in that stretch.

“It’s awesome when a guy steps up like that,” Beauchesne said.

Martin’s teammates likely had the same feelings about his performance. The lefty hadn’t pitched since feeling something wrong with his arm in a late-season game against Franklin County. On Saturday, he threw 103 pitches and allowed one hit and one earned run while striking out five.

“We were being really cautious with him,” Bernier said. “We worked it slowly. It actually worked out great. This is where we wanted to use him, and it worked out just how we wanted. He threw really well today. Once he got up to that 100-pitch count, we said, ‘OK, that’s enough.’ Since he hasn’t thrown, we didn’t want to push it anymore.”

Bessey didn’t come up with its first hit until second baseman Nick Attaliades-Ryan doubled to score Riley Chickering with one out in the sixth. After a flyout for the second out, Post 51 made back-to-back errors to score Attaliades-Ryan for a 2-1 lead.

“We’ve been big on scratching across runs any way we can,” Beauchesne said. “Today, we put the ball in play well, and you make them make mistakes. We’ve been a team that can step up and get hits at a good time.”

Post 51 (12-13) nearly tied it up in the top of the seventh. Littlefield was on third with two outs when Nutter hit a soft liner toward right field. Off the bat, it looked like a flare for a single, but the ball held up enough for Attaliades-Ryan to make a running catch in short right field.

“We all thought it was (a hit),” Bernier said. “I think he was playing a little bit towards that hole.”

After Attaliades-Ryan made it 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh (again, the inning was extended by an error), Post 51 got back to even in the eighth. With one out, Martin walked and Zach Mathieu crushed one to deep left for a ground-rule double. Devin Warren then singled up the middle off reliever Dalton Rice to tie the score at 3-all.

Post 51 left Warren on third with two outs, then left runners on second and third against Riley Chickering in the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, Mageles walked and stole second. Beauchesne was 1 for 14 in the tournament, and Attaliades-Ryan, who had both Bessey hits to that point, was on deck. That meant Beauchesne got a pitch to hit with a 3-1 count, and he lined one down the left-field line to end the game. A few minutes later, while conducting interviews about his hit, Beauchesne got a celebratory peanut butter whoopie pie smush to the face from a teammate.

“I was good working the count,” said Beauchesne, licking peanut butter cream off his scruffy face. “So once I got up in the count, I was happy to get a pitch up that I could hit somewhere.”

It was the second time in three years Post 51 was eliminated from the state tournament when the winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth. Especially this time, Post 51 did well to even get to this point. With one game left in the regular season, Post 51 had a record of 4-10.

“I’m very pleased with how they pulled together and started playing like a team,” Bernier said. “They did very well.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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