TURNER – New Auburn was simply happy to get in a full Zone 3 American Legion baseball game Tuesday evening. Even if it wasn’t a full game.

Confused? Well, now is not the time to get too analytical about the details if you wear a Post 153 uniform, not with the prospect of playing a 20-game regular season in 23 days staring back at you. Just take this 17-2 victory over Andy Valley, one that fell somewhere between an invocation of the mercy rule and a forfeit, and run.

Andy Valley (1-6) began the game with only nine players and called a halt to the proceedings in the top of the sixth inning after outfielders Andrew Boulanger and Tim Doyle were injured in a collision.

“It was nice to complete a game,” said NAL manager Jeff Benson. “It was nice to play a game when it wasn’t raining.”

Widely considered the preseason favorite to run away with the smallest of the state’s four zones, NAL (1-0) has been trying for a week-and-a-half to put a tally in the win column.

Games with Gilman Electric of Mechanic Falls and Smith-Tobey of Bath were suspended due to darkness in extra innings. At least one was pushed back when Edward Little and St. Dominic ventured deep into the high school playoffs, and the rest were washed out.

So New Auburn has two tilts to finish and five full seven-inning contests to make up.

“That’s baseball. I’m fortunate to have a great group of kids who really enjoy playing the game,” Benson said.

Fittingly, his team’s first official victory came under weird circumstances. NAL batted around in the sixth for the second time in the game, scoring eight runs.

Included in that uprising was a blooper by Matt Meserve that escalated into a double when center fielder Boulanger’s head caught right fielder Doyle between his left shoulder and chest, leaving both players on the turf for five minutes before they gamely elected to continue.

NAL put eight more consecutive runners on base before Andy Valley manager Wendell Strout went to the mound, intending to relieve Ben Boulay with Zach Keene. During the delay, Doyle trotted toward the bench to seek more medical attention, holding his left arm at his side.

“It’s starting to swell up,” Strout explained to Benson after signaling to home plate umpire Mike Henry that he elected to stop the game.

Boulanger also was seen walking gingerly to his family’s vehicle after the game, further confirming that Strout made the right decision.

In addition to its game-ending rally, New Auburn plated seven runs in the third inning and one each in the first and fifth. Brady Blackman was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.

One-two-three hitters John Alexander, David Lutz and Justin Ciszewski each added two hits. Lutz knocked in three runs, and Ciszewski cranked a home run.

“We hit the ball well tonight, which we hadn’t done in our two previous attempts to play,” said Benson.

Adam Lutz went the abbreviated distance on the mound, allowing only three hits and two unearned runs.

“He’s a 16-year-old who just completed his sophomore year,” Benson said of the younger Lutz. “He wiggled out of a couple of situations.”

Andy Valley scored both its runs in the third. Justin Rouillard ripped a two-out double, raced to third on a passed ball and scored on an error. Boulanger also poked an RBI single.


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