BANGOR — Saturday was the day the Post 51 American Legion baseball team felt like it finally started coming together. The timing was perfect, as Saturday afternoon’s 8-5 win over Brewer in the Zone 1 tournament clinched Post 51 a spot in the state tournament, which begins on Wednesday in South Portland.

In the second game of the day, Post 51 defeated Coffee News of Bangor, 5-1. The win forces a zone championship game at 4 p.m. Sunday at Husson.

“Playing everyday, you get closer as a team. The more chemistry you get, the better you’re going to play,” outfielder Dylan Hapworth said. “I missed 10 days before the tournament. I was at the Lobster Bowl. Everyone’s getting closer. We just want to keep playing together.”

Post 51 pounded out 15 hits, including a pair of doubles from catcher Trevor Gettig and an RBI triple from second baseman Jake Dexter. Coaches Rusty Mercier and Ray Bernier tweaked Post 51’s lineup, moving Cody Martin to the leadoff spot, Dan Pooler up from sixth to second, and Joe Leclair from leadoff to third.

“We ran a little bit more. We stole a few more bases. We bunted a few times. A little bit of small ball, which I thought gave us some momentum,” Mercier said.

Brewer led early, 3-1, but Post 51 took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Martin scored the tying run on an error, and Hapworth drove in Pooler with the go ahead run and a 4-3 lead.

Post 51 added two more runs in the sixth. Shortstop Jared Cunningham laid down a perfectly-executed safety squeeze bunt to score Dexter, and Martin singled home Gettig.

After struggling through two innings, Martin settled down and gave Post 51 seven strong innings. Between the third and seventh innings, Martin retired 15 of 16 hitters, with one reaching on an error.

Brewer got to Martin a little early. In the first, Chase Allen tripled and scored on Alex Maxsimic’s doubled to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. In the second, Logan Rogerson singled to score Jake Gauvin, and scored on Allen’s second triple in as many innings, to push Brewer’s lead to 3-1.

Leclair drove in Martin in the third to cut Post 51’s deficit to 3-2.

“Once we scored, made it 3-2, I think (Martin) felt comfortable. Cody’s one of those kids, he throws a lot and then he gets comfortable. Sometimes he starts slow,” Mercier said.

In the eighth, Martin gave up a leadoff walk to Allen, a single to Matt Pushard, and a double to Maxsimic to score a run. Post 51 called on Devin Warren, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Michael Grimble but got out of the jam.

“Cody pitched well for a good part of the game. He tired a little bit late, and Devin came in and did a great job to minimize that inning,” Mercier said.

Leclair had three hits and drove in two runs for Post 51.

In the nightcap, Pooler threw eight strong innings for Post 51, allowing just one unearned run. Post 51 scored three runs in the second inning on three walks and RBI hits by Derek Bowen and Dexter.

Post 51 added two more runs in the seventh. Pooler drove in Gettig with a groundout, and Dexter scored on a Bangor error.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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