In making its intense push for a New Hampshire American Legion District B tournament berth, the Londonderry Legion baseball squad kept busy between Monday, July 6 and this past Sunday, July 12.
Veteran manager Rick Brothers’ local bunch played five games during that span – including several in intense heat – and dealt with both ups and downs.
The locals first won back-to-back decisions against Nashua and Salem, then lost consecutive contests against Rochester and Portsmouth, but rebounded by defeating Hudson to place their 2015 record at 10-5 rolling into the final week of the regular season this week.
“I like the way the kids bounced back today. They don’t get down,” said Brothers following his team’s 6-1 thumping of Hudson this past Sunday. That defeat came on the heels of a disappointing 14-13 loss to Portsmouth the day before.
“We have three (regular season) games left, but there’s no magic number for us to get into the tournament. We’ll be in good shape, I think, if we win one more, but we want to win all three,” said Brothers.
The local Legion hardball crew defeated Nashua by an 8-5 tally at the Gate City’s Holman Stadium on Monday, July 6, and Brothers’ bunch bombed the winless Salem contingent 15-2 in seven innings at Londonderry High the next night.
On Thursday, July 9, the local baseball crew made the road trip to Rochester to take on that town’s tough Legion contingent, and the ride home must have felt a bit longer after it was dealt a 5-2 defeat.
Brothers and his boys then had to find a way to stomach the ugly, 14-13 loss in Portsmouth last Saturday night.
The locals led 9-3 at one juncture and wound up slamming three home runs in that contest, but Portsmouth came flying back to bag the one-run win.
Bobby Baril smashed two of the round-trippers and Zach Byers slammed the other one, but the long blasts ultimately came in a losing effort.
However, the Londonderry squad returned to the winning path with the 6-1 victory over Hudson Sunday, which made the locals 10-5 in tough District B.
Lefty starting pitcher Nick Musto – who enjoyed a strong junior season for the Londonderry High baseball team this past spring – gave the Legion contingent a strong seven-inning effort in intense heat, striking out four batters, walking four, and allowing only the scuffling Hudson crew (6-7 record) four hits in a pleasing victory.
Musto and his defense had to battle their way through some trouble right away in the top of the first inning as the southpaw walked two batters and allowed two hits. But Hudson failed to score nonetheless, as Musto also managed to strike out a pair of batters.
The visiting side left the bases loaded in that inning and wound up stranding 11 runners on bases before the game was over.
The host Londonderry side didn’t manage to put any runs up on the scoreboard until the latter half of the fifth frame, when Jonny Meskell and Christian Bourgea both laced RBI singles to give their side a 2-0 advantage.
The host team’s lead grew to 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to two costly Hudson errors and a run-scoring single by Byers.
With Musto out of the game, Hudson was able to bag its lone run on two hits in the top of the eighth, but the visitors would get no closer than 4-1 down.
And Londonderry answered with two markers of its own in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a wild pitch that plated Brody Dupuis and an infield single by Byers that scored Bourgea.
The hosts finished with a dozen hits, with Byers bashing three and Baril blasting two.
All 10 Londonderry players who batted in the game reached base at least once, and nine of them collected at least one hit.