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Navigant Post 85 forced to play waiting game at Northeast Regionals

August 9, 2013

Navigant Post 85 pitchers Branden Rainville, left, and Kory Lawrence take a break during a practice held earlier this week at Renaud Field. It’s appropriate that the pair posed for this picture while in the dugout, as that’s where Post 85 spent its Friday before Northeast Regional tournament officials decided to cancel play. Navigant will look to remain in the tourney when it squares off against Rochester, N.H., this morning at 8:30 in Middletown, Conn. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — It turned out to be a long Friday morning and afternoon for Navigant Post 85.

Co-managers Buster Perrault and Jim Gauthier and their players desperately wanted to take on Rochester, N.H., here at the American Legion Northeast Regional Senior Division Tournament, for one very simple reason: They longed to post their first victory after sustaining a 9-2 loss to Barnstable, Mass. in their opener on Thursday.
Post 85, however, had to wait – and wait some more.

Navigant originally had been slated to face the New Hampshire state champions at William J. Pomfret Stadium at Palmer Field at 9:30 a.m., but – because of intermittent rain – tournament officials chose to postpone it to noon, then 2 p.m., then again to 4:30 p.m.

There had been an early-afternoon lull in the drizzle, causing host Middletown/Milardo-Wilcox Post 75 Commander Phil Cacciola to request a team of stadium groundskeepers to work on the field.

Just before 4 p.m., after more torrential downpours, Cacciola and others deemed the turf and dirt unplayable, forcing a postponement of all four tilts on Friday’s docket.

Because of the inclement weather, officials will attempt to play five contests Saturday.

The schedule now, preliminarily, looks like this: Just like Friday, Post 85 will battle Rochester, N.H. Post 7 at 8:30 a.m., with Vermont facing Maine at about 11:30 a.m.; Barnstable taking on Branford, Conn. at 2:30 p.m.; and Middletown, Conn. opposing Worcester/East Side Post 201 at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Not long after that game, the first one to be held Sunday, should get unde rway at 8:30 p.m., if not sooner.

“The field was ready to play on, but then the skies opened up,” Cacciola stated late Friday afternoon. “We had about 20 minutes of torrential rain, and one of the workers came in and told me the field was unplayable, that it would be unsafe.”

He explained that the national Legion powers-that-be wanted each and every regional to end Monday.

“They’re determined to finish then because the winning team has to prep for the World Series (to be held in Shelby, N.C. next Friday at 9:30 a.m.),” he noted. “Say it was Branford or Middletown, there’s no problem because they all live around here. But, should it be Woonsocket or New Hampshire or Barnstable – any out-of-state team – they have to stay here.

“They have to prep right here – we’ll get the uniforms cleaned and have a patch stating they’re the Northeast Regional champions sewn on, and we also have to inform them of their itinerary,” he added. “They’ll leave directly from here to catch a 6:10 a.m. flight on Wednesday to fly to Durham (N.C.).”

Perrault, Gauthier and their troops took a bus from their hotel to Palmer Field at about 7:30 a.m., Thursday, as did those representing Rochester; they stood under a plastic/nylon open tent patiently awaiting word as to their fates.

“They’re going to try to get in as many games as possible,” Gauthier shrugged at about 9 a.m. “I don’t know if we’ll play, but we want to.”

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