STANDISH – Weak zone? Weak argument.

The Dream Team from Monmouth Post 204 rolls on, appearing well-equipped to annex the American Legion Baseball state tournament trophy that’s been in Cumberland County so long it ought to have a post office box.

Five first-inning runs and a splendid start from its fourth starter, Chris Ellis, propelled Monmouth to a 10-2 rout of Fayette-Staples Post 57 of Saco on Sunday night at Larry Mahaney Diamond.

Featuring standouts and post-graduates from the Monmouth, Oak Hill, Maranacook and Winthrop high schools, undefeated Monmouth has outscored its first two tourney foes by a combined count of 26-5.

“By playing the way we have the first two days, we’ve put ourselves in a great position for the rest of the tournament,” said Ellis, who yielded only two hits and took a shutout into the seventh inning.

Monmouth (25-0) meets Bangor at 6 p.m. tonight in a clash of the only two remaining unbeaten teams. Fayette-Staples (21-7) falls into a noon elimination game against Zone 4 rival and five-time state champion Nova Seafood, loaded with players from Class A high schol power Deering.

The championship round is Wednesday. No team other than Nova or Andrews Post, both of Portland, has won the championship since 1997. Zone 2 hasn’t claimed the crown since Gardiner Post 4 in 1971.

“I feel great about the next two days,” said Monmouth coach Chad Drouin. “We have our No. 2 (pitcher) Justin Denbow going (Monday) and our No. 1 (Josh Jillson) will be ready to go on Tuesday.”

David Ricker’s towering triple from the No. 8 hole in the order cleared the bases and pulled the pin on the explosion in the bottom of the first. The shortstop’s blast made a metallic ‘ping’ as if it rattled off the left field scoreboard, which would have indicated a home run.

“He should have had a grand slam,” Drouin said.

Round tripper or not, Ricker added a thunderous drum beat to Monmouth’s early hit parade.

Ethan Guerette, Sean Holbrook, Tavis Hasenfus and Wally Rines each prefaced Ricker with a single. Hasenfus and Rines chalked up RBIs.

“They actually quieted our bats down a little bit later in the game,” said Drouin. “We’ve been getting the big innings all season, and tonight we were fortunate that it came early.”

Jillson paid the price for Monmouth’s next three-bagger in the third. Jillson spent five minutes nursing a nasty gash sustained when he spiked himself while sliding into third. Soothing the pain better than anything in the medicine kit were Justin Denbow and Rines, who walked ahead of Jillson and scored easily on his rip to right center.

Ricker later walked and circled the bases on the strength of two errors to make it 8-0. That was plenty of support for Ellis, who retired nine straight hitters after Travis Adams’ second single of the game with one out in the fourth.

“I had a long warm-up before the game, because I hadn’t pitched (since the regular season),” Ellis said. “It took a while, but I started to settle in around the fourth inning.”

Monmouth added a run apiece in the fourth and fifth. Fayette-Staples staved off the mercy rule with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh.

Ellis issued one-out walks to Steve Trask and Josh Velton before departing. Travis Harwood plunked Kory Martin to load the bases, and Jordan Coulombe cracked a single to center for Saco’s third and final hit of the evening.


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