POLAND – Pitcher Brady Blackman slugged two doubles and a solo home run to lead New Auburn Legion to a 11-3 victory over Gilman Electric and the automatic berth in the American Legion state tournament.

Devin Flynn belted a three-run home run in the second inning to give New Auburn (16-4) the early lead. After Brent Carey hit a two-run homer to bring Gilman (13-7) to within one run in its half of the second, Blackman led off the third with a solo home run to return the momentum to NAL.

Joe Douglass added a solo shot for Gilman in the fifth. Adam Lutz and Buump Heldman each had two hits for New Auburn. Blackman went six innings to improve to 6-0 on the season.

New Auburn’s season-ending victory clinched first place in Zone III and a direct path to the state tourney, beginning Aug. 4. Both New Auburn and Gray finished with identical 16-4 records, but NAL won the only meeting between the two clubs this year.

Gray 2, Bessey Motors 1

GRAY – Zach Cantor scored what proved to be the winning run on the back end of a double-steal in the bottom of the first inning as Gray edged Bessey Motors, 2-1, in the final day of Zone III American Legion baseball action on Monday.

Bessey (13-7) got its run on an RBI ground out by Cody Hadley in the top of the second, but Arthur Winship shut the door from there. Winship fanned six and didn’t walk a batter while giving up six hits for Gray (16-4), outdueling Chris Roy, who also fanned six and yielded just four hits for Bessey.

Gray finished second behind New Auburn in the regular season standings. Under the new playoff format, Gray enters the zone tourney as the top seed and will host Brunswick on Friday. Bessey edged out Mechanic Falls for the No. 2 seed by beating them twice and will host Andy Valley in the first round.

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