Local Senior Legion Hardball Squad Finishes Tough Season

Coaches Brian Meskell and Rich Salcito knew full well that their 2018 Londonderry Senior American Legion Post 27 baseball squad would have real challenges as it chased an elusive tournament berth in tough New Hampshire District B this summer.

When beginning a discussion with Meskell concerning his 2018 crew early on, one was likely to hear a phrase like “offensively challenged” during the first 30 seconds.

And as things turned out, when the locals completed their campaign at Phillips-Exeter Academy last Thursday night, July 19, the Post 27 contingent had managed to win just a trio of its 15 contests in posting a 3-12 record which left Londonderry tied up with Exeter for the bottom spot in the District B standings.

Post 27 and Exeter both had 3-12 final marks, and they split their two 2018 meetings. The seacoast side won the second of those with a 3-0 shutout success at Phillips-Exeter in Londonderry’s last game of the campaign on July 19.

The local crew had a suspended game with Dover from back on July 10 which was slated to be completed last Saturday the 21st, but as Londonderry and Dover were both out of the tournament picture there was no reason to finish that contest.

Rochester (13-2), Derry (12-4), Nashua (11-5), and Merrimack (10-5) ended up collecting the four District B tournament spots, with 7-7

Portsmouth being the only other one of the nine District B squads to play .500 ball or better.

Pitcher and recent Londonderry High graduate Travis Peabody, who held off on joining the Londonderry Legion squad until a handful of games had been played, wound up hurling his team to two of its three victories. Peabody – who will begin his freshman college year as a Northeastern University student studying in Dublin, Ireland in a matter of weeks – was superb in 3-1 wins over both Exeter and Derry. The other Londonderry win was a 4-2 success against Dover in the game before Peabody joined up.

The locals suffered humbling defeats to Portsmouth (10-2) and Rochester in a double-header (7-0 and 8-1) before finding the winning track with that defeat of Dover in game number four.

Then came Peabody’s excellent performance against Exeter at LHS on June 22, and the locals were all of a sudden within a single win of the .500 mark.

However, the Post 27 coaches then saw their charges slip into a seven-game losing skid which basically evaporated any tournament hopes the squad held.

Included in that tough slide was a blowout loss to Derry in Londonderry in which recently-graduated Pinkerton all-state pitching standout George Welch twirled a no-hitter.

But the next time tough Derry and scuffling Londonderry met, the Post 27 bunch managed to take advantage of some defensive troubles experienced by their rival. Combined with another strong mound-effort from Peabody, the final result was a surprising 3-1 Londonderry victory.

Along with the aforementioned Peabody, the Post 27 roster included Londonderry High graduates or current LHS Lancers Dakota Johnson (pitcher/infielder), Nate Sullivan (shortstop/pitcher), Xander LaPlante (catcher/first baseman), Jake Bolduc (infielder), Marc Brickley (1B/P), Sean Cavanaugh (infield), Jack Dingman (catcher/infield), Tyler Kayo (infield/catcher), Matt Minton (versatile), Andy Ross (OF/P), and Ethan Sullivan (versatile).

Players from Alvirne High of Hudson – recently graduated or still attending – included pitcher/outfielder Pat Rauseo, versatile Justin Broussard, outfielder/pitcher Hayden Callery, and pitcher/outfielder Nathan Walker. Filling out the roster were recent Pinkerton Academy graduate Kyle Gillen (OF) and recent Hollis-Brookline High graduate and outfielder Tyler MacDormand.

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