There appear to be quite a few reasons for longtime Londonderry American Legion Post 27 manager Rick Brothers to be optimistic about what his baseball squad can accomplish in state District B play this summer.
And that was borne out recently as Brothers’ bunch began its 2015 season by winning its first four contests, including a battle over in Derry with the slow-starting rival Lester Chase Post 9 contingent.
Prior to the 12-4 win over the Derry crew Thursday, June 25, the Londonderry boys kicked off their campaign with three consecutive victories.
They bested Dover by a 10-3 tally on the seacoast on Saturday, June 20, followed up that fine bit of work with a 6-5 edging of Merrimack at Londonderry High two days later, and then knocked off Portsmouth by a 6-4 tally in Londonderry on Tuesday, June 23.
In the June 25 meeting with a Derry contingent that had begun its 2015 campaign with a 13-10 loss to Nashua, the Londonderry crew pounded its way out to a 7-0 lead in the first two innings and ended up winning by 12-4.
The Post 27 bunch began the game by smacking around Derry starting pitcher Matt Tritto for four runs on five hits in the top half of the first inning.
Colby Joncas plated the first couple of Londonderry markers with a two-run triple, and scored moments later on an RBI single off the lumber of Stephen Byers.
Soon thereafter, Byers sprinted home on a run-scoring single by Jonny Meskell as the score moved to 4-0.
The Londonderry lead then bulged to 7-0 in the top half of the second as Brothers’ bunch bagged three more runs on three hits.
The first pair of those markers scored on Christian Bourgea’s two-run double, and Byers bagged his second RBI on another single.
Derry managed a run in the latter half of the second frame as Pinkerton all-state outfielder Ben Curry launched a Bobby Baril pitch to deep right-center field and made it all the way around the bases for an inside the park home run that made the score 7-1.
The hosts added another run in the latter half of the third inning when Chris Gerossie pounded a Baril offering out of the yard to left field to move the score to 7-2.
However, Londonderry got those two runs back in the top of the fourth, thanks to three hits and the first of Derry’s four errors in the contest.
Bourgea collected his third RBI of the day with another double in that frame, and the second run went home on an infield miscue as the score moved to 9-2 in the fourth.
Derry got both of those runs back in the bottom half of the fourth, thanks to a Londonderry error and an RBI single off the bat of Pinkerton all-state shortstop Joey Murphy, and 9-4 was where the score sat after four frames had been completed.
But the Derry hosts would do no more scoring the rest of the way while Londonderry added a single marker in the top of the sixth (thanks to another Derry error) and two more in the top half of the seventh (with Derry erring twice more) as the score advanced to 12-4.
Starting and winning pitcher Baril went six full innings, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out six. Lefty reliever Nick Musto finished up over the final three innings and held the hosts to just one more hit.
Brothers’ victorious bunch collected 15 hits with number-nine hitter Tim McEachern bashing four singles, Bourgea banging three safeties, Byers bashing three singles and driving in two runs, and Geoff Kayo collecting two hits (a single and a double) but reaching base five total times with three walks as well.
“This is a really good group, and we’ve played pretty well so far. But it’s still early yet,” warned Brothers. “Bobby (Baril) hung in there and battled tonight, and we hit the ball well, especially the middle of our order.”
The Post 27 contingent then continued the early segment of its season by playing at Merrimack last Friday and at home against Salem this past Sunday, June 28.
The Londonderry bunch dropped its first decision of the young campaign the next day in Merrimack, falling by an 8-5 margin to the Merrimack Memorial Post 98 contingent.
Post 27 pitcher Noah Tavano gave the locals a strong six innings and left the fray with a 5-4 lead. But Londonderry gave up four runs in the eighth inning in allowing the victory to slip away.
Highlights for the local contingent included a three-hit performance from shortstop Bourgea and two safeties apiece from Jonny Meskell and Troy Nielsen.