Ordinarily when one discusses “peaks and valleys” within the context of physical activity, they’re talking about hiking. But the Londonderry Athletic Field Association 9-U all-star baseball squad wound up dealing with another bunch of peaks and valleys during its 2018 summer campaign.
The locals – who were led by head coach Jay Parent and his assistants Tim Broadhurst, Chris Gingrow, and Josh Bartholomew – went on something of an emotional rollercoaster ride during that period which saw them celebrate and lament outcomes before their campaign came to its conclusion. And the coaching staff ended up with a great many reasons to be pleased with the work put forth by its charges come peak or valley.
The young all-star squad’s roster consisted of pitcher and shortstop Kam Weeks; versatile Logan Katz; pitcher/third-baseman Brody Labbe; pitcher/shortstop Teige Broadhurst; pitcher/first baseman Collin Philcrantz; versatile Will Gingrow; outfielder/pitcher Sam Iorio; outfielder/second baseman Liam Parent; outfielder Charlie Tharrington; outfielder Ben Sakellar, and outfielders/utility players Ryan Pasternak and Josh Bartholemew.
“We qualified out of the east area at the district tournament, which featured 12 teams, for New Hampshire’s state tournament,” said proud head coach Parent. “We finished that (district) tourney as the number four seed after going 3-2.”
The LAFA crew bagged an opening-round, 7-3 victory over the Roger Allen entry from Rochester at that east area event and followed up that success by pummeling the squad from Oyster River (Durham) 28-3. Now 2-0, things were looking good for the locals. But in the wake of those wins the Londonderry 9-U side dropped a tough, 8-7 decision in walk-off fashion to Windham before another win with a 9-0 hammering of Exeter.
The team concluded its involvement in the district event by falling to Dover by an 11-8 tally. Hence, Windham won the East Area crown, Quintown placed second, Dover finished third, and Londonderry got fourth.
“In the New Hampshire state tournament we reached the championship game for the second straight year, losing in that title game to Windham 5-4 on a walk-off,” lamented coach Parent, speaking of one of the aforementioned valleys to the season for his squad.
“We lost our opening-round game to Swanzey 10-5 before winning four straight over Keene (3-1), Dover (6-3), Swanzey (6-4), and Quintown (13-10). The state tournament was hosted by Hubbark Park in Walpole. We traveled and played six to seven straight days there to get to the finals,” added the head coach.
The local crew then went on to win the Salem Invitational Tournament for the second straight year, beating the host team in the title game by a lopsided 15-7 margin.
“We went 3-1 in pool play to then advance to the semifinals, where we beat Seacoast 13-3,” said Parent.
And the locals enjoyed lots of success on their home diamond in the Londonderry Invitational Tournament, defeating Quintown 6-5 in the championship game.
“We went 3-0 in pool play to then advance to a semifinals, where we beat Manchester 13-3,” the coach said.
The Londonderry all-stars went an extremely strong 17-5 overall this summer, winning far more than they lost despite having to deal with a few downers during a campaign which held so many successes. It will remain a good memory.