If recent American Legion state tournament history is any indication, its good to be from Zone 3 this time of year.

The tournament returns to Bangor for the first time since 2005, starting Saturday with two win-or-go-home play-in games at the Winkin Complex on the Husson University campus, including one featuring Zone 3 regular-season champion Bessey Motors and Zone 2 runner-up Franklin County.

The double-elimination part of the tournament commences Wednesday, July 30, with Zone 3 champion Pastime Club making its fifth consecutive appearance. It continues daily through Sunday, Aug. 3.

Zone 3 has produced three of the last four state champions, Gayton Post/Pastime Club (2010, 2011) of Lewiston and Windham (2013). Two of those teams, Gayton Post in 2010 and Windham last year, were the zone runner-up and had to win a play-in game to start their championship run.

Bessey Motors (17-3) will be try to join that company this year. But it’s no ordinary wild card. Consisting of players from Oxford Hills, Lake Region, Fryeburg Academy and St. Dom’s, Bessey cruised to the zone regular season title to secure a post-seaon bid, then fell in the zone tournament semifinals to Tri-Town.

Bessey will face Zone 5 runner-up Fayette Staples of Saco (12-8) in the second prelim game at 3 p.m. The winner faces Messalonskee Post 51 of Oakland at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Husson.

Saturday’s first play-in game at 10 a.m. pits Franklin County of Farmington 11-8) against Zone 4 runner-up Westbrook (13-6). Franklin County, which draws players from Mt. Blue and Mt. Abram, finished second during the Zone 2 regular season and lost to Messalonskee Post 51, 1-0, in the zone tournament final.

The winner of the Franklin Country/Westbrook prelim faces Pastime Club (16-5) at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Husson. Making its sixth state tournament in the last seven years, Pastime’s roster consists of players from Lewiston, Lisbon and St. Dom’s. Pastime emerged as the No. 3 seed in the zone to win its fourth straight zone title against Tri-Town last Tuesday.

Wednesday’s action starts at 10 a.m. with Zone 5 champion Staples Crossing of South Berwick (19-1) facing the winner of the Zone 1 tournament, which concludes this weekend. The Zone 1 runner-up faces Zone 4 winner Morrill Post of South Portland in Wednesday’s final game at 6:30 p.m.

The state champion moves on to the northeast regional, to be held Aug. 7-11 in Middletown, Conn.


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