If after hosting its Londonderry Summer Classic during the final days of July and the first day of August any of the members of the Londonderry 8-U all-star baseball squad awoke during the middle of the night, covered in sweat and hollering out “Dover!” it would be perfectly understandable.
The only losses which the history-making local 8-U crew absorbed during summer tournament play came at the hands of the Dover contingent, and the most memorable of those came in the state tournament’s championship game and then the Londonderry tournament’s title battle shortly thereafter.
There was certainly no embarrassment in being bested by that Dover bunch, which ended up making it all the way to the semifinals of the regional tournament after snagging state honors. But having one opponent defeat you in multiple, pivotal games within weeks is enough to stick in anyone’s craw.
The 8-U crew became the first team from town to reach the state championship finals but was downed by the New England regionals-bound Dover contingent in a lopsided game there. However, coach Jason Parent’s charges gave the seacoast side everything it could handle in the summer classic finals in Londonderry on Aug. 1 before dropping a walk-off, 4-3 decision that day.
The host team had reached the title game of its own tourney thanks to convincing wins over Merrimack (9-4), Quintown (10-0), Litchfield (13-4), and then Quintown again (5-0) before the big repeat match-up with Dover.
The hosts leaped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Kam Weeks laced a single and then stole second, and Brody Labbe smacked a double to score his teammate.
Londonderry picked up a second run in the top half of the second frame when Sam Iorio smacked a single, Charlie Tharrington and Sam Schreiner drew walks, and Teige Broadhurst got hit by a pitch to bring teammate Iorio home from third.
Dover later managed to claim a lead of 3-2 on a two-run error followed by a successful double-steal.
The host side tallied the game-tying run in the top half of the third when Liam Parent, Josh Bartholemew, and Tharrington all smacked consecutive singles, with Bartholemew’s smack driving in the run.
Starting Londonderry pitcher Weeks struck out six batters in 2 1/3 innings worth of work, and reliever Labbe kept Dover off the board with four strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of hill work in the third and fourth frames.
Weeks hit a two-out triple in the fourth, but that serious threat ended on a ground-out.
The score remained knotted up at 3-3 until the bottom of the sixth, with Londonderry’s Broadhurst pitching the fifth and sixth innings, striking out two and getting out of a bases-loaded threat in the fifth by whiffing the final hitter.
Broadhurst began the sixth by fanning the first Dover batter, but two infield miscues by the hosts and an RBI single gave the game to the seacoast side.
Londonderry finished up with its three runs on seven hits, and victorious Dover tallied its four runs on a mere four hits.
During their stellar summer, the locals received important pitching contributions from Weeks, Broadhurst, Labbe, Logan Katz, Liam Parent, and Will Gingrow.
“Kam is also our first baseman, Teige is our shortstop, Brody is our catcher/third baseman, Logan is a versatile utility player, Liam plays center field, and Will plays second base. Our six other players have also been a huge part of our success,” said coach Parent.
That skilled sextet included Cam O’Donnell (2B/OF), Tharrington (2B/OF), Bartholomew (C/P), Ben Sakellar (OF), Iorio (OF), and Schreniner (OF).