The boys have been playing together and bagging impressive victories for years now. And their Londonderry All-Star baseball squad which has now reached the 11-U level certainly looks like it will romp to successes on baseball diamonds again this summer.
Coaches A.J. Marsh, Dave Hamilton, Matt Williams, and Brian Belanger have a talented crew which has added one skilled player – former Hudson all-star Brett McKinnon – to a roster of athletes which has played together for years, knows each other’s habits and skills well, and will be a handful for every opponent in tournaments.
The first evidence of that last fact came recently during the Swanzey Tournament, in which the Londonderry boys went 5-2 and narrowly missed out on taking the tourney title.
In game one on Saturday, June 16, the locals hammered the Hinsdale entry by a 15-4 count in a contest which only went four innings before the mercy rule was invoked.
The powerful Londonderry offense was paced by three hits from Zach Mantegari, with Cole Metivier and Ryan Perry also lacing multiple hits for the victors. Metivier also did strong work on the pitcher’s mound for the victors.
That evening, the locals battled a tough Keene contingent and despite a great comeback which nearly saw them rebound from an early five-run deficit they fell by a 7-5 score in having their tourney record evened at 1-1.
The team got a couple of noteworthy hits from Mantegari and two stolen bases from the speedy Metivier.
The next morning Londonderry rediscovered its winning form and the winning path with an 8-1 domination of Kearsarge Valley in which Ryan Williams pitched well and Jayden Hamilton and McKinnon each smacked multiple hits. Perry contributed two stolen bases.
Later that afternoon, the Londonderry was four runs better than the Swanzey squad in a 6-2 decision which featured Brady Gillis, Boden Belanger, and Carter Browning excelling on the mound and Williams and Hamilton each lacing multiple hits for the winning side.
Two nights later, on Tuesday, June 19, Londonderry had another mercy-rule victory in the form of a 12-1 thumping of the Hollis-Brookline entry.
The locals plated seven runs in the fifth frame in busting the game wide open, with Jonathan Wilson, Mantegari, Hamilton, and Gillis all collecting runs batted in in the big inning.
Perry was a power on the mound for the victors, allowing just one hit in four innings of work.
That lopsided win placed the Londonderry crew in the championship game against a Keene contingent to which it had already fallen. And the Keene side bested the locals once again, although this time it took extra innings and a walk-off hit.
The contest went eight frames rather than the normal six, and the local boys smacked more hits than their opponents (8-5) but couldn’t manage more runs.
Mantegari and newcomer McKinnon each smacked two safeties for Londonderry, but Keene managed to steal some nine bases in driving to the title victory.
The local stars then began hosting and playing in their own tournament last weekend, and they started off with a resounding bang in besting their first opponent by a full 18 runs in another mercy-rule success.
That contest was played on Saturday, June 23, with Londonderry clobbering the visiting Concord all-stars by a 19-1 tally.
The hosts scored no less than 16 runs in the second inning en route to the blowout, and key contributions came from Hamilton (four walks) and RBI producers Wilson, Belanger, Hamilton, Perry, Gillis, and Casey Marsh. Wilson and Mantegari both collected multiple hits in the error-filled victory. Hamilton, Marsh, and Browning handled the pitching duties beautifully.
The local all-stars then faced off with Hudson’s standouts on Sunday the 24th but only managed to get four innings in before the contest had to be suspended due to rain. But at that point, the hosts held a commanding 6-0 lead.
The tournament continued through this week and beyond Londonderry Times press time.
Other contributing Londonderry team members include veteran returnees Devin Boles, Frankie Jarek, and Miles Williams.