Marauders Strong-Arm Raiders
Lefty Two-Hits Lebanon as Hanover Sweeps Season Series
Hanover's Parker Thurston pitched a complete game two-hitter against Lebanon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park in Hanover, N.H., on May 14, 2014. Hanover won, 1-0. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon players don rally caps in the seventh inning during Lebanon at Hanover baseball at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park in Hanover, N.H., on May 14, 2014. Hanover won, 1-0. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover's Josh Goodrich singles in the second inning of Lebanon at Hanover baseball at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park in Hanover, N.H., on May 14, 2014. Hanover won, 1-0. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Hanover High baseball players used to walk to their home games. Way back when, all it took was a few strides to the south end of campus, where the school’s track now rests. Even the downhill saunter to Thompson Terrace was an easy reach.
It takes a special effort now, with longtime Marauder coach Mike Jackson gaining use of Dartmouth’s Biondi Park for Wednesday’s home-away-from-home date with Lebanon. A similar effort produced a 1-0 Hanover win as well, as junior Parker Thurston twirled a complete-game two-hitter supported by a single unearned run.
For one sunny afternoon on the home of Big Green baseball, the Marauders (3-5) could forget about pitching by committee or a season-long inability to turn baserunners into runs. Caleb Broughton has both of Lebanon’s hits, while Thurston induced a dozen ground-ball outs as Hanover swept the season series with its neighbors.
“Today it was just good defense, getting good first strikes, a lot of ground balls,” said Thurston, now the owner of Hanover’s only complete-game mound outing this spring. “I don’t really on strikeouts; it’s mainly the ground balls. This team’s defense is very good, so the ground balls that we get, we generally get out.”
The same issues that induced a 14-inning loss at John Stark on Monday bedeviled the Raiders (6-4) again on Red Rolfe Field’s artificial surface. Broughton’s first- and third-inning singles accounted for all of Lebanon’s offense, rendering Grayson Hardy’s fine pitching effort moot.
Hardy held Hanover to just six hits and stranded 10 Marauders in a hard-luck loss. After needing 2½ hours to earn a 4-1 win at Lebanon on May 2, Thurston and company completed their sweep in a tidy 88 minutes on Wednesday.
“We were playing well enough,” Hardy said. “We had solid D. My stuff was working well enough. …
“We’ve had a couple of tough games. A lot of us are slumping, myself included. I figure we’re going to snap out of it. We’ve just got to get our swings in and keep working.”
Lebanon’s only legitimate scoring opportunity came and went in the top of the first. Broughton singled over leaping Hanover third baseman Ben Herndon-Miller to open the game, advancing to third on back-to-back outs. In the theme of the day, Thurston induced a Tanner Simms grounder to short to end the threat.
Half of the Raiders’ ground outs ended up in Thurston’s glove, all of which the junior handled with aplomb. Thurston also induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the top of the sixth and staying in control even through a pair of Hanover infield errors in the late going.
“He’s pitched two games prior to this against good baseball teams (Goffstown and Hollis-Brookline) and held both teams, who are very good, to four runs,” Jackson noted. “We knew he had it in him. We just needed to play better behind him.”
Thurston prefers to attack batters with a tailing fastball. He kept Lebanon in knots, however, with a no-rotation changeup that resulted in three late strikeouts as the visitors sought the key hit that never came.
“It’s something that I generally throw in there to mix it up,” said Thurston, who walked two and threw an efficient 91 pitches. “If it throws off a batter, that’s good enough for me.”
Hardy fanned four, walked three and hit two, yet had the presence of mind to prevent the big Hanover inning. Unfortunately, something small helped undo the Raiders.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, the Marauders’ Rohan Kumar reached first base when Lebanon third baseman Cam Broughton rushed a throw on a Kumar bouncer enough to pull Dave Albright off the bag. Herndon-Miller doubled Kumar around to third base, and Sam Hastings brought him home with a ground out to short.
Double-digit figures in the left-on-base department have been Hanover’s bane this year. Thurston’s pitching prevented it from being a factor.
“He controlled the game today,” Jackson said. “He did what we really hope he can do all the time and what we hope every pitcher can do all the time.
“He kept people out of situations. He threw strikes in big situations. Even when he was behind in the count, he came all the way back. He fielded his position very well. I don’t think anyone could say he didn’t pitch a complete game.”
No walk in the park. Certainly a walk to one, though.
Fungoes: The Raiders wore camouflage baseball caps with their avian school logo on Wednesday as part of Operation Hat Trick, a statewide initiative involving more than 60 Granite State high schools. According to an OHT news release, the program’s goal is to “raise awareness for our veterans and educate students in the service and sacrifice of our wounded veterans.” The program hopes to raise $70,000 to go toward recovery initiatives. “We were certainly proud to do it,” Lebanon coach Doug Ashey said. … OHT asks that involved teams hold a recognition ceremony for veterans as part of the program. Because the Raiders have three road games this week, Ashey said their ceremony would come next Wednesday against Con-Val. … The contest temporarily drew one rooftop observer atop a house across South Park Street from Biondi Park. … Pat Dyroff joined Herndon-Miller in the two-hit department for Hanover. … Lebanon continues an overall four-game road swing at first-place Goffstown on Friday. The Marauders’ four-game week continues at Souhegan on Friday before a home game — at their normal Dresden Athletic Field haunt — against Stevens on Saturday afternoon.
Greg Fennell can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3226.