LOWELL -- Lowell Post 87 posted several impressive comeback victories in the regular season.
Now Post 87 will have to stage its biggest rally if it plans on staying alive in the American Legion District 5 playoffs.
Fourth-seeded Medford Post 45 jumped out to a four-run lead and held on to upset top-seeded Lowell, 4-3, at Stoklosa/Alumni Field on Monday night in a first-round game of the double-elimination District 5 playoffs.
Post 87 received a solo home run from Anderson Jimenez and a two-run triple from Thomas Hassett while scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Lowell stranded the tying run at third in the sixth.
Lowell (17-2) will play third-seeded Natick Post 107 (11-8) in a loser’s bracket elimination game Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. at Shedd Park. Medford improved to 11-8. Post 87 defeated Medford twice during the regular season.
“When you have a record of 17-1 you always feel that you have a chance to win,” said Post 87 coach Bill Martel. “Until the last out I thought we had a chance. I’m just an optimistic coach. I believe in these guys. It’s baseball, anything can happen. We’ve been coming back all season.
“I still like our chances. Somebody still has to beat us again to knock us out. I know this group will make it a hard task for anyone to end our season. I have a lot of confidence in these guys. They have a lot of confidence in themselves.”
Jimenez went 3-for-3 at the plate while pacing Lowell’s offense. His home run was a shot to left field that cleared the fence in a hurry.
“I knew it was gone,” said Jimenez. “I hit it well. We had some good pieces (at the plate) during the game that were hit right at them and they made the play. We’ve bounced back all season. I’m confident we can do it again.
“We definitely have the talent to come back. This just wasn’t our night. That’s baseball. We won a lot of games during the regular season, but those wins don’t mean anything now. But we’re not done. We can start a new streak.”
Medford starting pitcher Jeff Price earned the win. Price had limited Lowell to three hits heading to the bottom of the sixth. With one down, Jimenez belted a homer that ignited Post 87′s offense.
“That woke us up,” said Martel. “It was fantastic to see him square that ball up and put it in the net (beyond the left field fence). It got our offense going to get that one run across.”
Kyle DeRoma drew a walk and was pinch-run for by Aidan Foyle. Johnny Donovan followed with a single to left field. Then Hassett cleared the bases with a two-run triple to deep right center. Unfortunately, Lowell wasn’t able to get Hassett in from third base.
“All year (Hassett) has come through for us with big hits,” said Martel. “That’s what he does. He’s a tough hockey player, a multiple-sport athlete. He just loves to compete. That was a big hit to get us within one, and give us a chance.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Brock Pare drew a leadoff walk for Lowell. But Medford closer Jack Fargo managed to secure the victory.
“We nearly came back,” said Jimenez. “We played hard. We had our chances. Hopefully, that’s a good sign heading into (Tuesday).”
Lowell received a strong effort from reliever Chris Ward, who limited Medford to one run and two hits while striking out five in four innings. Zach Gitschier had a double for Post 87.
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi