Preparing For Regional Tourney, Local 11-U Stars Went 3-1

In the wake of its recent title-taking success at the New Hampshire Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament over in Rochester, the 2018 state champion Londonderry 11-U all-star hardball contingent prepared for the forthcoming regionals in Dover by playing in both the Hollis-Brookline and Salem tournaments recently.

The locals went a very strong, combined 3-1 in the four games they played at those events, but there were certainly bumps in the road for the normally wildly-successful Londonderry crew as it got ready for the regional tournament in Dover, which was going on as The Londonderry Times went to press early this week.

Coach A.J. Marsh’s talented all-star troop advanced to the Cal Ripken regional championships as a 9-U entity during the summer of 2016 and then again as a 10-U crew last summer, falling just short of winning crowns both times. But now this summer that skilled squad headed back to the regionals once again as an 11-U contingent, and this time the locals hope to hoist the biggest hardware overhead after getting to the semifinals and then the finals respectively during those previous two tries.

Coach Marsh’s 2018 mob qualified as the top seed at the state tourney from the Eastern part of New Hampshire several weeks ago by taking the area title on its home field in dramatic fashion. And there was still more drama at the state championships more recently at the double-elimination New Hampshire championships at Roger Allen Park in Rochester.

Londonderry ended up taking the state crown – beating the tough Seacoast entry twice to do so – to advance to the regionals again. But the locals had to try to remain rust-free in the interim, and in that effort they played two games in the Hollis-Brookline tournament and two in the Salem tourney.

In the former, Londonderry absolutely pummeled the team from Kearsarge Valley on Saturday, July 14, and then edged Pelham by a single run the next morning.

In the 21-1 pounding of Kearsarge Valley, which only went five innings, Londonderry led 9-1 at the completion of four frames and then plated 12 more runs in the fifth.

Jayden Hamilton drove in five runs with two hits, and Zach Mantegari, Devin Boles, Ryan Williams, Cole Metivier, and Carter Browning all tallied ribbies for the victors as well, with Londonderry bashing out a total of 15 hits. Frankie Jarek, Browning, and Brett McKinnon handled the pitching duties beautifully.

The next morning the locals returned to the diamond against the Pelham All-Stars and squeaked out a 5-4 win which featured Londonderry busting a 3-3 tie by scoring twice in the fourth frame.

Ryan Perry made significant contributions both at the plate and on the pitcher’s mound, with Casey Marsh and Hamilton also contributing to the team’s win on the hill. Mantegari added two hits to the Londonderry cause.

The local crew was slated to play a second game that evening, but that latter battle never came to pass.

“We won a couple of games in the Hollis-Brookline tournament, but scheduling confusion and us showing up at the wrong field to play forced us to forfeit one game and ultimately knocked us out of that tournament,” said team media liaison Natalie Cook.

Undaunted, the baseball-hungry Londonderry squad members decided to use the time to play a scrimmage among themselves that night.

They then returned to play at the multi-week Salem tournament on Wednesday, July 18 after being rained out of their opener the previous day.

Londonderry faced off with the Manchester All-Stars in their first game and walloped that opponent by a 13-3 tally in a contest which only went four frames.

The victors scored five times in the third inning thanks to the smacks of Jonathan Wilson, Hamilton, and Boden Belanger, who all knocked in runs. The winning side wound up bashing out a total of 11 hits in just four frames.

Hamilton got the pitching start for the locals and teamed up with Perry to hold the Manchester offense back.

However, the Londonderry side had the extremely rare experience of getting walloped by an opponent itself the next day, with the Quintown contingent besting the local boys by a 12-1 tally in another game which only went four innings.

“I think you’d have to look back to when they were eight to find a time when they were ever mercied,” said Natalie Cook. “The boys just didn’t show up to play. We had a number of errors, and the Quintown bats were on fire. They had 14 hits to our two.”

So when the regional tourney got started in Dover days later, coach Marsh and his charges hoped they’d gotten all of the negative energy out of their systems as they played for big stakes against the best 11-U competition in New England.

“Perhaps it was just the wake-up call that the boys needed to understand they need to show up to play every game,” said Cook as the locals rolled into regionals.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter