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He Can Throw as Well: Newport’s Houde Handles Mascoma

West Canaan — Andrew Houde has made a reputation for himself as an all-state basketball player, scoring more than 1,000 points before the end of his junior season.

However, when Houde switched schools, going from Pembroke Academy to Newport Middle High School after his freshman season, his father Scott, a 1,000-point scorer at Stevens, said his son’s best sport might be baseball. And after what happened at Mascoma on Monday, Dad maybe wasn’t too far off.

Andrew House hit one drive off the Royals’ fense, another one over it and backed that up with one-hit pitching over five innings as the Tigers rolled to a 12-1 win in a NHIAA Division III game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School.

While the baseball season remains in its early stages, there has been some concern for the rocky starts both teams have had to date.

Mascoma, while still very young, has some senior pitching coming back, but Monday was the fifth game of the season and the fifth time the Royals (1-4) haven’t had a full complement of players. Guy Serviss, the veteran Mascoma coach, said he had to reach down to the junior varsity squad to get nine players for Monday’s game.

“We just can’t seem to get everybody healthy and here,” said Serviss.

Freshman Cam Hill was the jayvee player elevated to the varsity, and it was his luck to face Houde in his first varsity game. Make it bad luck: Houde, who throws hard, plunked Hill the first two times he came to the plate to bat.

To show he was aware of what he was supposed to do, Hill did not rub the contacted spot either time.

“He’s a good kid, and he’s going to be a good ballplayer,” said Serviss. “This was a tough spot for him.”

Newport (2-1) was coming off a six-error, 9-1 loss at Fall Mountain and was in need of a good day all over the field. Houde assured the mound portion of it, striking out 10 and walking three. Of the 10 strikeouts, seven were on called third strikes.

“We helped Andrew a lot by swinging at pitches out of the strike zone,” said Serviss. “I kept telling the kids that it’s important to put the ball in play. Things happen when you put the ball in play.”

When Houde came to bat in the fifth inning against Mascoma pitcher Kyle Kosiorek, the Newport junior doubled off the left-field screen. In the sixth against Oscar Brueckner, Houde launched a high pitch over the fence.

Neither ball had much elevation. Teammate Jeff Quimby, who was on deck when Houde hit his home run, apparently liked what he saw — he followed with a homer of his own, also over the left-field fence.

Newport had just one error in the game. While that was a nice improvement over the Fall Mountain loss, first-year coach Tim Spanos, while happy with the win, still had a bit of a frown after the game.

“We still did some bonehead things,” he said. “We’re not thinking baseball. We have 10 games left against real good teams, and we have to make some improvement.”

Houde tossed 75 pitches, and the only hit he gave up was a crisp single to right by Mascoma’s Ethan Neily in the fourth inning.

Both starting pitchers, Houde and Kosiorek, went five innings. Dylan MacNamara pitched the sixth for Newport and Brueckner the sixth for the Royals. The 10-run mercy rule was invoked after six innings.

Newport scored single runs in the first and second innings. With the game still close early, Mascoma got the first two batters on base in the home second, and the potential for a sizeable inning was there.

Both runners moved over on Brueckner’s bunt, but the rally fizzled when an attempted suicide squeeze failed. The Royal at the plate missed the bunt, and Walt Hammond, breaking from third base, had no chance.

The game changed in a big way when Newport scored three times in the fourth and tacked on two more in the fifth.

Newport second baseman Matt Bocko had three hits, Tiger teammates Taner Sherman and Houde each had two.

Both teams play again Wednesday, as Newport goes to Monadnock and Mascoma hits the long road to Berlin.