Londonderry 9-U Hardball Stars Collect State Championship

The Londonderry 9-U all-star baseball squad continued to do an impressive imitation of a steamroller last week by going perfect in the state tournament on its own Londonderry Athletic Field Association Hale diamond to claim the 2016 state championship.

After going a perfect 5-0 in the district tournament to qualify for last week’s big state event, the local hardball crew remained perfect in going 4-0 at the states to collect the crown.

Londonderry placed an exclamation point on its success in the championship game Thursday, July 21 by hammering the Keene contingent by a 14-5 tally.

The now 17-3 locals’ next challenge comes at the Cal Ripken Regional Baseball Tournament, which begins this Friday, July 29 in Keene.

“The boys really deserved the win and the title,” said proud head coach A.J. Marsh. “They have been on an incredible run, going 9-0 between areas and states while beating some quality teams. Our guys are playing great baseball. They have been very focused and determined to win. I’m proud of the kids for all of their hard work. It’s really a pleasure to coach this team.”

In the pummeling of Keene in the title game, the local contingent exploded for eight huge runs in the fifth inning to sprint away from its opponent.

In that decisive frame, the Londonderry side utilized a run-scoring single from Boden Belanger, an RBI double by Brady Gillis, a wild pitch, a two-run error, another RBI single by Ryan Williams, a steal of home by Cole Metivier, and an RBI single by Jayden Hamilton to bust the contest open. Prior to that the two teams had traded runs in looking for a way to the vital victory, and that led to five lead changes in the game before Marsh’s young men took over for good.

Before that huge fifth inning, the local crew had received an important RBI double from Devin Boles in the fourth that plated his teammate Carter Browning. Boles wound up notching two RBI for the victorious locals.

The squad’s pitching highlights were provided by Jonathan Wilson, who got the starting nod and went four innings racking up six strikeouts and throwing 13 first-pitch strikes. Gillis then came on in relief and hurled the next two frames to close things out. He notched four strikeouts.

Gillis also collected three hits at the plate for his squad, and Jayden Hamilton, Ryan Williams, and Belanger each claimed two knocks in the momentous victory.

“This is the first state championship team from Londonderry since 2002, which is a really great accomplishment,” said Marsh.

The regional tournament – which includes the top 9-U squads from across New England, will feature pool play. After this coming weekend’s action, the Londonderry squad will be seeded based upon its record and move forward in single- elimination bracket play that will run from August 1-4.

The Londonderry team had advanced to the state championship game by  thumping the Hudson team – which also lost to Keene later to set up the state title match-up – by a 13-3 tally on the evening of Tuesday, July 19.

In that decisive victory, the local squad placed the 10-run rule into effect after five frames by plating seven runs in the first three innings and then six more in the fifth frame.

Gillis was a real power for Londonderry both at the dish and on the hill, racking up three RBI with two hits before pitching the final inning of the game successfully.

Starting pitcher Hamilton whiffed six batters during the first four frames, and important offensive contributions also came from him, Ryan Williams, Zach Mantegari, and Cole Metivier.

Metivier also played some superb defense, catching a line drive at third base and then doubling the Hudson runner off at second base to wow the crowd.

State Champs 202

The Londonderry 9-U all-star baseball team continued its exceptional summer with still more success in the state tourney on its own Hale Field last week. The champs thumped Keene by a 14-5 score in the finals. Courtesy photo

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