Newport Baseball Has Answer for Stevens’ Arms
C.J. Lawrence of Newport, right, greets teammate Jeff Qumby after he scored a run tying the game with Stevens in Newport, N.H., Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Newport won 4 - 3.
(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Bryan Rouillard of Stevens, right, stops Ricky Hammond of Newport before he reaches the plate for an out during their game in Newport, N.H., Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Newport won 4 - 3.
(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Newport — Apparently Newport doesn’t read the Stevens High baseball clippings.
Back by strong pitching, Stevens compiled a 5-1 record and the Cardinals’ pitchers gave up just six earned runs in 39 innings. Two of those victories were complete-game no-hitters. In five of the six games the opposition never scored more than one run.
But that changed on Wednesday, as Newport held on for a 4-3 victory at Bill Bates Field in the first game of a home-and-home day-night doubleheader. The Cards came back for a 2-1 win in the nightcap, with Donald Pellerin scoring from third base on a one-out wild pitch for the split.
The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the opener with senior Caleb Beckley pitching two-hit ball for the first three innings. But the Tigers pushed across two runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings and held their breath a bit in the final two innings.
“They just made a play or two more than we did,” Stevens coach Paul Silva said. “I told the kids before the season that I didn’t want them to play the type of baseball that didn’t make me feel good when I went home. This was a game that did not make me feel bad.”
Added Newport coach Tim Spanos: “This was the first good day weather-wise that we have had all year and both teams played good baseball, especially the defenses. This was a lot of fun.”
Newport had been struggling a bit with three straight losses after opening the season with two wins. Spanos was not at all pleased with a six-error 9-1 loss at Fall Mountain or an 8-6 defeat in the first of two games with Sunapee. Most recently the Tigers dropped a 2-0 loss to the Lakers, but Spanos thought his team was starting to turn things around. He knew Wednesday’s effort was another step in his team’s improvement.
“We’re getting better,” he said. “Can we get better? You bet. But we’re starting to show that we know how to play this game.”
They certainly made believers out of the Cardinals.
Down 3-0 in the fourth, the Tigers started making life miserable for Beckley. A one-out single by C. J. Lawrence was followed by a walk to Dawson Campbell. Ricky Hammond followed with a single to right that delivered Lawrence and Spencer Coronis singled home Campbell. Newport came close to getting a third run in the inning when Taner Sherman launched a fly to center with pinch-runner Matt Boone on third. Stevens’ Austin Tenney fielded the ball and tossed a one-hopper to Bryar Rouillard, who put the tag on Boone to keep it a one-run game.
But the Tigers grabbed the lead in the fifth as a hit batsman, passed ball and singles by Jeff Quimby and Brady Bates brought in the tying and go-ahead runs and knocked Beckley out of the box.
“You can second-guess yourself to death,” Silva said as he wondered if he went too long with Beckley.
Stevens came right back and loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against Newport senior hurler Matt Bocko, who was making his first varsity start. Bocko got a come-backer to get a force at the plate for the second out, but when he started off Pellerin with a pitch out of the strike zone, Spanos took him out and brought in Andrew Houde, who got a grounder to short to end the inning.
With one out in the Stevens seventh, Austin Tenney reached second on an infield overthrow. Houde struck out Stevens clean-up hitter Ryan Tanguay, but Bryar Rouillard hit a tantalizing pop-up just in front of the plate, and both Houde and catcher Jeff Quimby called for it. There was a collision, but Quimby made the catch and held on as he tumbled to the ground.
Stevens scored single runs in each of the first three innings. In the opening frame Tanguay singled in Chase Hussey. In the second, Jordan Haines singled in Rouillard and in the third Hussey tripled to center and scored on a wild pitch.
Each team made just one error.
After a four-out save in the opener, Andrew Houde threw a one-hitter over seven frames and pitched to one batter over the minimum in the nightcap. Newport, however, couldn’t turn nine hits of support into more than a Sherman run in the third.
Stevens nicked Houde (eight strikeouts) for the tying run in the sixth. Hussey walked and eventually scored from second base on a Bryar Rouillard infield dribbler.
Spanos had to pull Houde in the eighth, having hit his innings limit for the day, bringing freshman Dylan McNamara to the mound. Pellerin blooped a single to get on base, moved to second on a Hussey sacrifice and used two wild pitches to score the deciding run.