As last week came to a close, the Londonderry High School baseball squad found its record rubbing right up against the .500 mark as the Lancers were left lamenting three losses in their previous four games.
The LHS crew’s 2017 mark was pushed from 6-3 down to 6-5 by the end of that span due to consecutive losses to the Nashua High South Purple Panthers and Pinkerton Academy Astros in Beeman Trophy competition.
The Lancers suffered a 6-3 loss to South at Lancer Park on Wednesday, May 3, and saw some strong pitching from Dakota Robinson fall by the wayside.
“Our inconsistency in terms of approach for the first time this season led to a sloppy loss against Nashua South,” said coach Brent Demas. “Dakota Johnson got his second start on the hill today and did well enough to earn a different fate, but it wasn’t in the cards. He threw four-plus innings, giving up seven hits and six runs, four of which were earned, on the day.”
Travis Peabody and Nate Sullivan also did some fine work on the hill for the hosts, but the Nashuans ended up doing enough scoring to take the win home to their Gate City with them.
“We didn’t pound the zone like we have been, but we were competitive today,” said the coach.
At the plate, Londonderry had skilled lead-off batter Ricky Perry knock two hits and score a run and Xander LaPlante also whack two hits and drive in a run.
“There wasn’t much of an approach today, and sometimes the boys need to see something to understand why the coaches preach certain concepts. Today they saw it,” added Demas. “The hope is they bounce back tomorrow versus a tough Pinkerton team and get back in the win column.”
But the way things worked out in Derry in Beeman Trophy action on Thursday May 4, neither the Lancers nor their rivals were overly pleased with the way their offenses performed.
Pinkerton received masterful pitching work in its 2-1 nipping of Londonderry, with David Unkles going five strong frames and collecting the victory.
The hosts claimed both of their runs on three hits and one costly error in the bottom half of the fourth frame, with Londonderry slicing their 2-0 deficit in half in the top of the fifth but being held scoreless the rest of the way.
The Lancers, for their part, also got an impressive and gutsy pitching performance from lefty Anthony Pirolli, who went all six innings in which his team was in the field allowing just four hits while striking out a batter and walking one.
Lefty hurlers Unkles and Pirolli and their defenses reigned supreme in the first two innings, with no hits being produced until the top of the third (two by Pinkerton) and no runs getting plated until that important bottom half of the fourth.
In that key frame, Connor Jenkins led off for PA with a single, and he moved to second on an error and to third on a single by Sutton. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Jenkins scored on a base hit by Sean Muller to make it a 1-0 contest, and a moment later Mike Jellison sprinted home from third base on a double play by the LHS defense.
The Lancers trimmed the PA lead down to 2-1 in the next half inning when Jake Bolduc led off with a single and, after a bit of a wait, scored on a two-out infield single from Nate Sullivan.
Londonderry then went down 1-2-3 against the Pinkerton relievers in the sixth and seventh innings and ended up absorbing the 2-1 loss, their second of the season to the rival Astros.
“Pirolli deserved a better fate than this today,” said Demas. “He pitched great, but we need to work on our discipline at the plate. We have to swing out of this hitting trouble we’re having.”
The Lancers’ next opportunity to do just that came on Monday, May 8 when they played host to the Salem High Blue Devils.
And the Lancers got all tasks taken care of in a fine, 6-3 defeat of the visiting Salem side, bashing out 10 hits and overcoming a 3-1 deficit impressively late.
The Blue Devils scored three times in the top of the third to make it a 3-1 contest, but the hosts scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and three times in the sixth to tally the win.
Nate Sullivan had a great day for the locals, getting the pitching victory in relief and smacking out four hits and driving in three runs while also scoring two. Jonny Meskell contributed three hits, and Nate Bolduc was good for two.