SOUTH PORTLAND — The Post 51 American Legion baseball team entered the state tournament with high expectations.

“We know people think we’re an all-star team,” first baseman/outfielder Zach Mathieu said.

In Wednesday’s tournament-opening game against Tri-Town, of Poland, Post 51 of Oakland, did nothing to dispel the all-star team talk. The team pounded out 13 hits, played flawless defense and got a strong start from pitcher Ben Frazee. That added up to a 13-3 victory at the Wainwright Recreation Complex in a game shortened to seven innings because of the 10-run rule.

Zone 1 champ Post 51 will next play Zone 3 champ Morrill Post, of South Portland, on Thursday at 2 p.m. Morrill took a 13-2 win over Saco-Biddeford Savings of Biddeford on Wednesday.

Every member of Post 51’s starting lineup reached base. Mathieu had three hits, including a triple. Dan Pooler had a pair of hits and scored a run, while leadoff hitter Jake Dexter scored three runs.

“I thought early, we didn’t try to do too much. Nice easy swings, base hits, and everybody doing their job. Just some timely hitting,” Post 51 manager Rusty Mercier said.

Post 51 broke the game open with six runs in the second inning. Warren led off with a triple and scored on Cody Martin’s safety squeeze bunt. After Trevor Gettig and Jared Cunningham took back-to-back walks, Dexter, Joe Leclair and Mathieu hit back-to-back RBI singles. That chased Tri-Town starting pitcher Shawn Murphy from the mound.

With two outs, Pooler hit a two-run single, and Post 51 had a 6-0 lead.

“The bats have been a little slow, knowing the lineup that we have, so it was good everyone was hitting the ball, working the count,” Mathieu said.

Post 51 batted around the lineup again in the third inning, scoring three more runs for a 9-0 lead. The team added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, sandwiched around a two run fifth.

“We have a lot of kids that have played a lot of baseball. I think it really shows, especially in this playoff atmosphere,” Mercier said.

Meanwhile, Frazee cruised on the mound. He didn’t get into trouble until the sixth inning, when Lukas Johnson hit a leadoff double and scored on a Mitch Davis single for Tri-Town’s first run. When Frazee walked Race Bouchard to load the bases with nobody out, Post 51 went to AJ Godin. After walking in a run, Godin settled down and got out of the jam by striking out the side.

Frazee gave up six hits, struck out six and walked two for the win.

“I thought Ben pitched very well for a good six innings there,” Mercier said.

Tri-Town fought to try to avoid the 10-run rule ending, and scored a run in the top of the seventh when Johnson singled home Kaleb Bridgham, who led off with a triple to right field.

Warren and Gettig each scored twice for Post 51.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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