When the Derry American Legion Post 9 and Londonderry Legion Post 27 baseball squads faced off at Pinkerton Academy in Derry Monday, June 20, neither squad walked away from the game particularly pleased with its offensive performance.
But the host Post 9 bunch was able to take solace from the fact that it collected a 3-1 victory from the Londonderry side to even its District B record at the start of the season to 1-1, while the Post 27 crew saw its early-season record slip to 0-2 in the district.
Some of the numbers compiled in this contest were just plain weird, with Derry pitcher Matt Burke – a Raymond High School hardball standout – throwing a near complete game one-hitter with one strikeout and seven walks.
The right-hander battled his way through some wildness to frustrate Londonderry plenty in this contest. The Post 27 crew kept looking for the timely hit through all nine innings, but failed to do so in leaving 10 base-runners stranded on the base paths.
For its part, the home team had a number of chances to bust the game open against Londonderry hurlers Geoff Kayo and Tim McEacharn. But manager Dylan Mullin’s Derry crew also left 10 runners stranded on bases, leaving at least one in every frame but the fifth.
The hosts had a total of seven hits, with Dylan Greenwood and Eric Reardon each lacing two singles to pace the victors’ offensive charge.
“We’ve played three games and scored three runs every time, but I think the hitting will get going,” said Mullin, whose squad played a non-district game with Concord as well as two district contests to that point.
“The kids had several weeks off after the high school season ended, so they’re working at getting going again. But the pitching and defense have been there so far, and I hope that can continue and we can get the hitting going,” said Mullin.
Londonderry, which is working its way through the challenging transition from veteran manager Rick Brothers to new co-managers Brian Meskell and Alan McEacharn, couldn’t help but feel stung by the fact that it didn’t get the big hit when it had runners in place.
“We didn’t move runners along, and that hurt,” said McEacharn. “Geoff pitched well. He had one rough inning, but other than that he was throwing darts.”
Londonderry grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top half of the second without collecting a hit. Kayo walked, stole second, moved to third on a ground-out to the right side of the infield, and scored on a sacrifice fly off of the bat of Brody Dupuis.
But the home-standing Post 9 side knotted the score at 1-1 in the latter half of that frame when Caleb Eaton reached on an error, advanced on a single by Greenwood, and later scored from third on a double play.
Londonderry’s lone hit of the night was delivered by number two batter Cam Fennell, who laced a single in the top half of the third.
And the Derry contingent did all the additional scoring it would end up needing to do in the latter segment of the fourth when it plated two runs on three hits.
Ben Curry – fresh off of an all-state season for the Pinkerton baseball squad – hammered a long double which plated Greenwood. And Curry scored himself moments later on a single by Jacob McGill.
There would only be one more hit through the remainder of the game, but the two squads combined to leave a dozen runners on base during that span of innings.
Derry starting hurler Burke remained in the game until Londonderry was down to its final out, at which point reliever Zach Rioux came in and threw just one pitch to end the game.
Since that game, The Londonderry Post 27 record sits at 2-4 with wins against Portsmouth (10-6) and Merrimack (1-0). The team lost to Dover (7-0) and Hudson (12-6)
Caption: Londonderry Post 27 second baseman Ricky Perry makes a smooth play on a grounder during his team’s tough, early-season loss to Derry on the road recently. Photo by Chris Pantazis