The Londonderry High baseball team had a great many reasons to be happy with its performances in its first three contests of the 2016 season last week, all of which the Lancers won.
The locals enjoyed a strong start to the campaign by collecting wins over the Spaulding High Red Raiders from Rochester and the Winnacunnet High Warriors of Hampton last week. The locals then took on the arch-rival Pinkerton Academy Astros on that opponent’s home diamond over the weekend and squeaked out a slim win that pushed their season record up to 3-0.
The squad’s season-opener was also its home-opener against Spaulding at LHS Wednesday, April 13.
The locals received strong pitching work from Nick Musto and plenty of offense and defense in besting the visiting Raiders by a 7-3 tally.
Musto went six innings on the hill, allowing just five hits and one earned run while walking three batters and striking out seven.
The visitors nabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Lancers responded for two in the latter half of the first and single markers in the third and the fourth to go up 4-1.
The hosts drove their lead up to 7-1 in the bottom of the sixth, and Spaulding’s comeback attempt in the top of the seventh yielded just two runs to get to the final 7-3 score.
The victors got two hits apiece from Jimmy Zimolka, Jonny Meskel, Tim McEacharn, and Cam Fennell, with Zimolka driving in two runs and McEacharn and Fennell tallying one RBI each. Meskell’s two hits were both doubles.
Longtime LHS coach Brent Demas’ dudes then made the drive to the seacoast last Friday, April 15 to take on the Winnacunnet Warriors. They returned home with an 11-1 win.
The Lancers smacked out 10 hits and never lost the lead after grabbing a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first.
The score stood at 2-1 after the hosts touched up LHS starting pitcher Nick Salcito for a marker in the latter half of the third. But Londonderry busted the contest wide open by tallying seven runs in the top of the sixth.
Salcito pitched five strong innings, allowing just one hit while striking out nine batters and walking two.
Winnacunnet helped the LHS cause by committing six errors in the field, but the locals wound up with plenty of reasons to be pleased with their own work in making their 2016 record 2-0.
The Lancers advanced to 3-0 with a 5-3 edging of Pinkerton in Derry last Saturday, April 16, which featured some superb pitching from Noah Tavano, good defense, and just enough offense.
Lefty hurler Tavano went the distance in the victory, striking out eight batters, walking just a pair, and holding the 1-2 Astros to six hits.
Londonderry busted a scoreless tie in the top half of the third inning by scoring two runs, thanks to a two-run double from Meskell.
It then became a 3-0 game in the top of the fourth when Nate Sullivan rapped a single that plated Troy Nielsen.
Pinkerton cut its deficit to 3-2 by scoring twice on two hits in the latter half of the fourth, and the hosts knotted the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to two more safeties.
Londonderry bagged the winning runs in the top of the seventh, manufacturing two markers via a hit-by-pitch, a bunt single, a sacrifice bunt, a fielder’s choice, and an RBI single by McEacharn.
Pitcher Tavano then put the final touches on the victory by snuffing out Pinkerton’s comeback hopes by putting the hosts down, facing just four batters.
“We told Noah that he had to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, and he did,” said Demas. “It was a very good performance, and I was really, really happy with Noah Tavano today.”
The winning side collected eight hits in the win, with Meskell and Sullivan each bashing a single and a double.
And the local crew kept its record unblemished on Monday, April 18 by defeating the Trinity High Pioneers by a 12-9 tally at LHS.
The centerpiece of the fourth Londonderry victory was a huge, eight-run third inning that put the Manchester team on its heels.
Sullivan drove in three runs for the victorious locals while Meskell managed to drive in two of them as the local hardball crew stayed unbeaten.
Senior LHS pitcher Noah Tavano had his pitches working during his squad’s 5-3 defeat of Pinkerton last weekend. Photo by Chris Paul