Newport Trying to Avoid Tourney’s First Round
Newport's Brady Bates tracks a foul ball before catching it during Mascoma at Newport baseball in Newport, N.H., on May 26, 2014. Newport won, 15-2. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport pitcher Matt Bocko follows through during Mascoma at Newport baseball in Newport, N.H., on May 26, 2014. Newport won, 15-2. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Mascoma's Kyle Kosiorek throws to first during Mascoma at Newport baseball in Newport, N.H., on May 26, 2014. Newport won, 15-2. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport — Newport, hoping to avoid one of those dreaded NHIAA Division III state tournament play-in games, got eight hits from its last three batters in the order for a 15-2 win over Mascoma at Bates Field on Monday.
When the Tigers lost to Monadnock last week, they dropped from sixth to a tie for 10th in a large league that features a 20-team postseason. The top 12 teams avoid that first-round game, with places 13 through 20 teams playing off for the final four second-round slots.
“I think the win today will get us in the top 12,” said Newport coach Tim Spanos, who was afraid that a loss to the Royals (3-11) on Monday and a defeat in the final regular-season game at Conant on Wednesday would take the Tigers out of the top 12.
Newport is 9-6 in a division that has eight teams with five or six losses. Even though the Tigers had an easy win, Spanos had his team doing pushups after the game.
“I learned that from Woody (Lebanon Post 22 American Legion coach Rob Woodard),” said Spanos. “It’s not a punishment. It’s to make strong teams stronger.”
Mascoma was hoping to play spoiler; Monday’s loss mathematically eliminated the Royals from postseason contention. The Tigers did their part by scoring 13 runs in the first three innings in a game that was called by the 10-run mercy rule after Mascoma batted in the fifth.
Mascoma coach Guy Serviss was not at his happiest after the game. After first declining to comment to a reporter after the game, Serviss eventually said that he was unhappy because Newport pitched its top hurler, Scott Houde, in the fifth inning.
“Pitching your ace with a 13-run lead,” Serviss said, “I’ll never forget this.”
Spanos said if he had to do it over again, he would not have pitched Houde.
“Andrew hasn’t pitched in a week, and he’s going to pitch on Wednesday,” said Spanos. “I wanted to give him some work.”
Mascoma got two runs and three hits in the first inning, but never scored again and got just one hit the rest of the way.
Matt Bocko went the first four innings for Newport, throwing 67 pitches. He struck out two and walked two.
Walt Hammond had a rough time on the hill for the Royals, going 21⁄3 innings. He was roughed up for eight hits. Alex Schwarz finished up.
After Mascoma scored its two runs in the first, Newport matched that total in the bottom of the inning before putting the game away with four runs in the second and seven in the third.
Zach Brown, the No. 7 hitter for Newport, was 3-for-3, as was No. 9 hitter Spencer Coronis. No. 8 batter Matt Boone was 2-for-3.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the second, the Royals put themselves in the hole when a leadoff walk was followed by two sacrifice bunts that Mascoma could not field cleanly, loading the bases. Coronis then hit a two-run single to right, which was followed by RBI singles from Taner Sherman and Bocko for a 6-2 cushion.
Sherman and Bocko each drove in two runs with base hits in the third as Newport took control.
Hammond drove in the Royals’ first run with a double, and he later scored on a single by Oscar Brueckner.
Mascoma has two games left, at Fall Mountain on Wednesday before closing out the season at home with InterLakes on Thursday.