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Post 22 Jrs. on the Brink

  • Lebanon Post 22 American Legion juniors catcher Calvin Bates can't hold on to a throw home Monday night at Leary Field. Nashua Post 124 won the state tournament game, 10-4, forcing Lebanon into a 6 p.m. game Tuesday night at the same location. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The reading glasses and scorebook of Lebanon Post 22 American Legion junior baseball assistant Dan Griswold await his return to the dugout Monday night at Leary Field. Lebanon lost a state tournament game to Nashua Post 124, 10-4. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Jorgen Leuthauser welcomes Trey Chickering home with one of the Lebanon Post 22 American Legion junior baseball team's runs Monday during a 10-4 loss to Nashua Post 124. The setback at Leary Field denied Post 22 a day off Tuesday and it will instead have to play another state tournament game tonight. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kobe Benoit pitches for Lebanon Post 22's junior American Legion team Monday during a 10-4 loss to Portsmouth. Post 22 must win a game tonight and two more on Wednesday to claim the state title at Leary Field. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Garrett Prince receives some eye black from assistant coach Hunter Boutin prior to the Lebanon Post 22 junior American Legion baseball team's state tournament game at Leary Field. Post 22 lost, 10-4, to Nashua Post 124. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Portsmouth, n.h. — If the Lebanon Post 22 American Legion baseball team is to win the New Hampshire junior state tournament, it will have to be the hard way.

After Monday’s 10-4 loss to Nashua Post 124 at Leary Field, Lebanon must play at 6:30 p.m. tonight against the winner of a preceding game between defending champion Newmarket and Dover. If Post 22 wins that contest, it must twice defeat Nashua on Wednesday to claim its organization’s first state championship.

The chance to take Tuesday off was there for Lebanon. However, after being tied, 4-4, through three innings on Monday, that hope went up in flames. Nashua scored three times during the fourth frame and twice more in the fifth, taking advantage of sloppy defense and a Post 22 offense that stalled out the rest of the way.

“We had 11 hits, but their defense beat our defense today and that was the difference,” said Post 22 coach Travis Pelletier, whose team was officially credited with three miscues but also didn’t look sharp on its fielding decisions and execution.

“It was mental errors: missing cuts and giving them extra bases and not keeping the ball in the infield. You gotta forget about it a little bit, but the good thing is I think (the players) are a little pissed off about their performance.”

Nashua had three hits and three runs and swiped the first of its eight stolen bases during the first inning. Lebanon looked jumpy, recording two outs on the first two pitches it saw, but rallied to pull within 3-2 after two innings.

Nashua went up, 4-2, after its third at-bat, but Lebanon clawed back for a 4-4 tie in the bottom half of the frame on Jorgen Leuthauser’s sacrifice fly and Sean Maddock’s run-scoring single.

The fourth inning was not kind to Post 22. Nashua parlayed two hits, two errors and a walk into three runs.

Post 124’s first two batters during the fifth each singled and later scored, and the game was effectively over. Starting pitcher Kobe Benoit allowed 10 hits and nine runs, eight of them earned, while striking out two batters, issuing an intentional walk and hitting a batter.

“He threw strikes, and there were some runs that were scored that weren’t his fault,” Pelletier said. “He gave us a chance to win the game, I thought.”

Lebanon had 11 hits, with cleanup hitter Kyle Young producing four singles. The batters immediately in front and behind him in the order, however, Kyle Pelletier and Calvin Bates, were a combined 1-for-8. Trey Chickering had two singles, and shortstop Nolan Gantrish had a double but committed two errors.

Diminutive and bespectacled Sam Sacerdote, who could pass as the team’s bat boy, pitched and recorded the last nine outs for Lebanon, earning his coach’s praise.

“It was good to see him get the chance, and he pitched well,” Pelletier said. “He’s calm and throws strikes and mixes speeds, and he’s effective. He stayed under the pitch limit we needed, so he can still help us (Tuesday).”

In order to reach Wednesday’s games, Lebanon must return to putting pressure on other teams, instead of being the team under the gun.

Nashua “was aggressive and threw us for a bit of a loop,” Pelletier said. “We know defense is going to win the tournament. You have to pitch well and limit baserunners, but the best defensive team is usually there at the end.

“It’s a grind, and a lot of our guys haven’t gone through this process. The good thing is we’re still playing, so anytime you’ve still got a chance, we think we can win it.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.