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Upper Valley all tied up in title series

  • Upper Valley Anglers coach Rob Woodward addresses his team prior to game two of the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League championship series with Dover on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, at Noble Pines Park in Somersworth, N.H.

  • The Upper Valley Anglers' Trey Parker (11) can't check his swing on a second-inning pitch during game two of the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League championship series with Dover on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, at Noble Pines Park in Somersworth, N.H.

  • Dover Greentoppers bat boy Chase Dalton retrieves a bat to the dugout during game two of the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League championship series with the Upper Valley Anglers on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, at Noble Pines Park in Somersworth, N.H. Dalton is the son of Greentoppers coach Jack Dalton.

  • Upper Valley Anglers pitcher Nolan Gantrish delivers to the plate during the first inning of game two of the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League championship series with Dover on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, at Noble Pines Park in Somersworth, N.H.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/17/2020 4:17:52 PM
Modified: 8/17/2020 4:17:45 PM

SOMERSWORTH, N.H. — The shout came from the Dover Greentoppers’ dugout late in Sunday’s New Hampshire COVID Baseball League championship series game: “Remember what they did to us!”

The sixth-seeded Greetoppers didn’t forget their 15-4 debacle against the fourth-ranked Upper Valley Anglers on Saturday to open the best-of-three set and made sure they didn’t repeat it with their second opportunity to play. Plymouth State relief pitcher Aidan McDonough threw four-hit ball into the seventh inning, sending Dover to a 3-1 win at Noble Pines Park and securing a winner-take-all finale at Lebanon High School on Monday evening.

Trey Parker’s solo home run accounted for all of the Anglers’ scoring.

“The kid pitched a pretty good game; he’s got a pretty good fastball,” Upper Valley coach Rob Woodward said. “We were watching strikes. He’s effectively wild; he throws enough strikes to get by.”

A 2019 Dover High graduate, McDonough kept a tepid Upper Valley lineup tied up with a capable fastball. He finished with five strikeouts, two walks and one hit batsman. McDonough yielded the mound to teammate Spencer Aubin upon reaching the NHCBL’s 105-pitch limit, and Aubin induced a foul pop from the Anglers’ Ben Williams to end the game.

“The thing about Upper Valley is Upper Valley is going to make a run at the end,” Dover coach Jack Dalton said. “We’re smart enough to know that. Focus and finish has kind of been our mentality going through these playoffs.”

McDonough came out dealing strikes. The lanky right-hander fanned the speedy Williams on three pitches to start the contest, induced three ground-ball outs and got some big defensive plays early, center fielder Jackson McCoy’s diving robbery of the Anglers’ Kobe Benoit on a sinking second-inning liner serving as the highlight.

Upper Valley’s Nolan Gantrish pitches to contact, and he needs his defense to respond as well. Trey Parker made a leaping grab to snare an Axel Post bullet to end the first inning, and Gantrish helped himself by picking off the Greentoppers’ David Picou off second base for the final out of the second.

“They’re a fun team to play against for the single reason that they’re a good team,” Dalton said of the Anglers. “That’s what we want to see this summer.”

Dover broke through on the scoreboard in the home third.

Designated hitter John Luchsinger singled, moving around on an error and two force plays, with Post earning an RBI on the latter. Aubin followed with a two-run double to give the Greentoppers a 3-0 advantage.

The remember-the-rout shout came shortly thereafter and seemed prescient after the Anglers’ Parker slammed a McDonough fastball over Noble Pines’ shallow left-center field fence in the top half of the fifth for a solo home run.

The big rally on which Upper Valley has relied this postseason was there for the taking. Andrew Hadlock followed Parker’s blast with a single, Sam Sacerdote added a one-out single and both moved up on a McDonough balk. Dalton intentionally walked Gantrish to load the bases, and McDonough killed the comeback with a swinging strikeout of Keegan Silovich.

“It didn’t seem to me we were up like (Saturday),” Woodward said.

Gantrish had an efficient outing in defeat. He threw just 74 pitches over six innings. True to his style, Gantrish scattered eight hits, walked just one Greentopper and didn’t record a strikeout. He did, however, work out of a bases-loaded conundrum in the Dover sixth to give the Anglers’ one last chance.

Now they have just one more. Monday’s deciding contest starts at 5 p.m. at Lebanon High School.

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




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