LHS Baseball Sandwiches Victory Between a Pair of Defeats

The Londonderry High baseball squad had many reasons to be pleased with its performance in a big shutout win in Hampton last Friday April 13. But the locals book-ended defeats at the hands of two other opponents around that seacoast success in starting their 2018 campaign at 1-2.

Longtime LHS coach Brent Demas saw his charges drop decisions to Spaulding on April 11 and then rival Pinkerton on April 14, with a stellar 7-0 blanking of Winnacunnet sandwiched between those two losses.

The Lancers began their 2018 campaign with a tough, 5-2 home loss to the Spaulding High Red Raiders of Rochester on Wednesday, April 11.

The locals received a fine starting pitching performance from Anthony Pirolli. But the hurler’ defense showed a few holes which made a huge difference to the final outcome.

“The boys lost on three, fundamentally-unacceptable plays of simply not catching the baseball,” lamented Demas. “The three errors led directly to four unearned runs on the day. To give an idea on how odd of a defensive day it was, we made no other errors today.”

Pirolli only allowed a single unearned run in four innings of mound work, and he struck out six batters.

“While his stuff was not where it normally is, he pitched decently,” said Demas. “Anthony Ferraro came in and held Spaulding scoreless for the last three innings in a very strong bullpen performance.”

Offensively, the hosts had the top of their order produce, with Ricky Perry smacking one hit, scoring a run, and stealing two bases. Freshman Brandon Fish began his high school career by lacing a solid single and coming around to score the other LHS run. But the Lancers left more runners stranded on base than they could afford to on this day.

“It’s early, and this is the type of game that can serve as a rude wake-up call that Division I is going to be tough this year,” added the Lancers’ coach.

And Demas’ Lancers heeded that wake-up call by putting forward their 7-0 blasting of host Winnacunnet in Hampton on Friday the 13th, with starting hurler Dakota Johnson pacing the charge with a six-inning, four-strikeout, three-hit effort.

“He had all his pitches working and was in the groove most of the game,” said coach Demas. “It was exactly what the team needed after a rough opening game.”

Reliever Reece Manor pitched the seventh frame and kept the shutout intact.

At the plate, the locals had Dylan Walsh smack out three hits and drive in three hits.

“He sprayed the ball all over the field with authority,” said Demas.

Additionally, leadoff hitter Perry notched one hit, two stolen bases, and two walks, and Andy Ross contributed two hits.

“Overall, it was a great bounce-back performance on all levels,” said coach Demas.

But when Londonderry faced off against those arch-rivals from Pinkerton in Derry the next afternoon, the Lancers were teeing it up with an opponent which was intent on a rebound performance of its own following the Astros’ 5-3 loss to Nashua South. And Londonderry High graduate and present PA head coach Steve Campo saw his charges succeed in bagging their rebound.

Londonderry left some five runners stranded on bases without scoring once during the first two innings against Pinkerton pitching stalwart Rich Marique. And the talented righty hurler was supported by three runs from his offense in the latter half of the second as the hosts snagged a lead which they wouldn’t relinquish.

Astros’ sophomore standout Asa Runge ripped a triple to left-center field to score one of those three runs, and the other two sprinted home as a result of a stolen base and later a fielder’s choice.

The hosts pushed their record up to 4-0 in the latter half of the third, and the Astros had their lead bulge up to 7-0 in the bottom of the fifth thanks to three more runs.

Londonderry ended Pinkerton’s shutout hopes when it scored an unearned run against PA reliever George Welch in the top of the sixth, but the visitors wound up stranding two more runners in that frame for a total of eight on the chilly day.

“To me, runners left on base was the issue today,” said Demas. “We played good defense, the pitching was good, and we hit the ball. But you can’t strand that many runners and hope to win games.”

Lancers’ starting pitcher Travis Peabody overcame some early shakiness to pitch pretty well before leaving the hill in favor of releiver Nate Sullivan.

Londonderry was set to take aim at jumping back on the winning path this past Monday the 16th when they were to play host to the Trinity High Pioneers of Manchester. But the wintery weather cancelled that game, leaving coach Demas and his crew looking at a Wednesday home game against Bishop Guertin followed by a Friday road game in Concord.

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