For any high school athlete from Southern New Hampshire who has experienced it, the bus ride home from Spaulding High School in Rochester is a lengthy one. And it’s especially long when you have a loss to contemplate.
So the defending Division I champion baseball squad from Londonderry High likely didn’t have the greatest mood going on its ride home from Rochester Wednesday, April 15, after it dropped a tough, 2-1 decision to the host Spaulding High Red Raiders.
But veteran coach Brent Demas’ bunch rebounded with victories over the Winnacunnet High Warriors from Hampton and the arch-rival Pinkerton Academy Astros late last week to grasp a solid 2-1 record three games into the 2015 campaign.
In the slim loss to Spaulding, the Lancers notched a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning with veteran Geoff Kayo driving in that marker, but the Red Raiders responded with single runs in the third and fifth frames and wound up bagging the 2-1 win.
“Unfortunately, the two runs scored were unearned, as the boys made some errors,” lamented Demas. “Offensively, we put together seven hits and put plenty of men on base, but we just didn’t cash in. Jimmy Zimolka led the way with a 3-for-4 performance. An excellent start for a very promising player.”
Kayo notched the pitching start for LHS and allowed only two hits in four innings of work, and relievers Matt Ross and Noah Tavano held the hosts to just one more safety the rest of the way.
“We coaches feel that, despite the end result, today was a positive step toward the goals set forth to start the year,” added Demas.
The veteran LHS mentor watched his charges score both early and often last Friday, April 17, in a 17-4 trouncing of the Winnacunnet Warriors in the first varsity contest played on the refurbished Lancer Park field. That diamond was the LHS varsity hardball field when Londonderry High baseball teams won Class I championships in both 1982 and 1983.
In the whipping of Winnacunnet, the hosts scored once in the bottom half of the first inning, but then watched the Warriors score three times in the top of the second to snag a 3-1 advantage.
The Lancers responded with seven runs in the bottom of the second, five more in the third, and four more in the latter half of the fourth to grasp a 17-4 lead after four full. And the game ended via the 10-run rule in the fifth.
Londonderry bashed out a dozen hits in the lopsided victory, with Brody Dupuis smacking three and driving in five runs and Cam Fennell contributing three hits and a pair of runs batted in.
Young veteran Jonny Meskell also drove in three runs for the winning side.
Pitchers Nick Musto and Tavano combined to hold Winnacunnet to a paltry four hits, and all four of the Warriors’ runs were unearned.
Then last Saturday, it was time for the belated rematch of the 2014 Division I championship game between the Lancers and Pinkerton Astros that was initially supposed to be the season-opening contest for both squads on the previous Monday.
The host Lancers hopped out to a 2-0 lead in the latter half of the first frame and bagged an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth in claiming the 3-0 shutout win.
Veteran righty pitcher Mike Ryan put forth superb work for LHS, going the distance in a three-hit performance.
He walked two Astros and struck out eight of them.
Londonderry finished with a relatively modest six hits, with Dupuis smacking two of them and Colby Joncas and Meskell each being credited with RBI.
After playing host to the Concord High Crimson Tide this coming Friday afternoon, the Lancers will be playing Pinkerton Academy again, this time in Derry, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Beeman Trophy play.