Please support the Valley News during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, we are asking for your support. Please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Thank you for your support of the Valley News.

Dan McClory, publisher


Upper Valley defeats Exeter, 4-0, in season opener of COVID Baseball League

  • Upper Valley Anglers, including Kyle Young (42) and Harper Flint, left, social distance instead of sitting in the dugout as the team readies to bat in the first inning of their season opener against Exeter in the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League in Lebanon, N.H., on June 22, 2020. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Upper Valley Anglers assistant coach Rich Parker wears a mask while watching the team take the field for their season opener against Exeter in the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League in Lebanon, N.H., on June 22, 2020. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Upper Valley's Jack Loftus dives back to first ahead of a tag by Exeter's Connor Norton in the third inning of their season opener in the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League in Lebanon, N.H., on June 22, 2020. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • COVID-19 warning signs hang on the fence at Eldridge Park during the season opener between Exeter and Upper Valley in the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League in Lebanon, N.H., on June 22, 2020. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Upper Valley Anglers assistant coach Ray Royce waves Trey Chickering home to score in the second inning of their season opener against Exeter in the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League in Lebanon, N.H., on June 22, 2020. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/24/2020 8:24:27 PM
Modified: 6/24/2020 8:24:23 PM

LEBANON — The late-to-the-party observer — three months late — may not have noticed much odd about the arrival of Upper Valley Anglers baseball on Monday night.

The hosts and visiting Exeter both took batting practice and infield. Exeter starting pitcher Dan Sarimento warmed up with a stretching band and weighted ball. UV head coach Rob Woodward and Exeter counterpart Tim Mitropoulos exchanged lineups. Just another summer night on a dusty diamond.

Then the facemasks came out, home-plate umpire Trevor Young asked for his personal water bottle and the Anglers sat or stood conspicuously apart outside the dugout.

These aren’t normal times, not with the coronavirus pandemic putting halt to many things. But baseball finally made its return at Eldridge Memorial Park’s Jim Wechsler Field, the Anglers riding the no-hit pitching of Trey Parker and Brendan Walker to a 4-0 win in their New Hampshire COVID Baseball League opener.

The one-year union of would-have-been American Legion teams and AAU-level clubs gives Granite State players a baseball option they might not have otherwise had. The Anglers (1-0) made the most of it, with Parker and Walker combining for 17 strikeouts.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get to play up here this summer,” Parker said. “It’s great to be able to get out of the house and just play baseball, especially against another team, have the guys here, have the coaches. It’s a little different with COVID, but it’s really great to be back.”

NHCBL health rules required Upper Valley program manager Pete St. Pierre to keep a running contact list of team officials and media in order to reach out in case of a positive COVID case. Maybe half of the fans in attendance wore masks; those who didn’t usually kept their distance. Each team used its own balls for warmups, assiduously gathering them in a 5-gallon bucket before leaving the field.

Come game time, it was all Anglers.

Parker enjoyed a feast-or-famine opening three innings. The Kimball Union Academy graduate and Roanoke College freshman displayed three pitches and little nervousness in striking out the side in each of his first three frames. He ultimately walked three, hit one, surrendered no hits and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third with his eighth and ninth Ks of the evening.

“That was a good team we played today,” Parker said, “and I thought we played really well.”

Meanwhile, the Anglers made themselves at home by scoring in the first two frames.

Nolan Gantrish doubled home Ben Williams in the opening inning for a 1-0 lead. Upper Valley knocked Sarimento out of the game — literally — in the second, Trey Chickering’s liner back to the box catching the Exeter hurler on his non-throwing elbow. On came Gavin Moss, who allowed a two-out, seeing-eye single to right to Walker and a bases-loaded walk to Gantrish for a 3-0 advantage.

Williams, never given a chance to show his Hanover High freshman baseball bona fides this spring, gave a tantalizing taste in the fourth. The outfielder beat out a broken-bat infield single, shooting out of the batter’s box like a dragster. Moving to third on an error and a groundout, Williams burned rubber again on Parker’s bouncer to short, beating the throw home for a 4-0 cushion.

Walker, from Woodsville High, excelled over the final four innings on the mound, fanning eight with just one walk.

Exeter second baseman Christian Petry made the night’s defensive play in the home fifth, diving to secure a sinking Josh Bucci liner and tagging the bag to catch Sam Sacerdote for a double play.

A pretty effort on a welcome night.

“Baseball’s back,” Parker said with a big smile.

Nibbles: Parker credited teammate Casey Graham with the Upper Valley Anglers name, which won out over the alternative Montshire Monarchs. “Woody definitely jibed with the Anglers more,” Parker added. ... St. Pierre said he’s in discussions with SAU 88 about possibly being able to move home games to Lebanon High School by next month. That’s where Lebanon Post 22 would have played its Legion season had there been one. ... Upper Valley had five hits off four Exeter pitchers.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy