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Upper Valley Anglers fall on road, face elimination game

Nashua Telegraph
Published: 8/15/2020 9:34:07 PM
Modified: 8/15/2020 9:34:05 PM

NASHUA, N.H. — On the first day, the visiting team didn’t defend.

On the second day, the other visiting team didn’t throw strikes.

And thus we have the third and deciding day in the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League semifinals between the eighth-ranked Nashua Defenders, 9-4 winners on Wednesday, and the No. 4 Upper Valley Anglers. They’ll square off Thursday at 5 p.m. at Lebanon High School to decide one spot in the league finals.

The 14-10 Anglers’ problem on Wednesday? A combined 12 walks and hit batsmen at Bishop Guertin High School’s Elliott Field. That’s not going to help anyone.

“We didn’t have very good pitching tonight,” said Anglers skipper Rob Woodward, who sent five hurlers to the mound and four of them to the showers. “We escaped it the first two innings (thanks to two double plays). And then it just kept going. ... That was the biggest thing tonight. They’re a good team, and they’re going to make us pay for all that stuff.”

“When anybody has a day like that on the mound, for us or anybody, it’s tough,” Nashua manager Tim Lunn said. “When you’re the one that’s benefiting from it, you’ve got to capitalize.”

The Defenders did, but it took a few innings to do it. Upper Valley actually led, 2-0, with a Kobe Benoit RBI single in the first and Andrew Hadlock’s rope to right in the third off Nashua starter and winner Henri Boudreau. But they didn’t score again until two meaningless runs in the seventh.

Anglers starter Kyle Young and his control issues were gone by the second inning, but Nashua’s comeback didn’t begin until the third when Will Brooks got the first of his three RBI hits to cut the deficit in half. Three Defender runs in the fourth and five more in the fifth sent things to a rubber game.

The one double play the Anglers couldn’t turn cost them, as shortstop Trey Chickering’s wild throw to first in an attempt to complete a tailor-made, inning-ending double play plated two runs to give Nashua (11-12-1) the lead for good, 3-2.

Brooks then doubled in another run off reliever Harper Flint to make it 4-2.

The Defenders broke things wide open with five runs in the fifth. Chickering, the fourth Upper Valley pitcher on the day, plunked No. 9 hitter Zach Rioux with the bases loaded to plate one run.

Dan Trzepacz, who hit that potential rally-killing double-play ball in the fourth, rocketed a double to right to drive in three. Then Brooks drove in the final Nashua run to make it a 9-2 game.

“We had a lot of chances to do damage early,” Lunn said. “And it took us a little while to do that. It just came down to making some adjustments, putting decent swings on balls, and things kind of opened up a little bit.”

Nolan Gantrish walked, singled and scored twice for the Anglers.

For the decider, the Defenders should start Zach Finkelstein, who tossed 6⅓ impressive innings in Nashua’s quarterfinal win over Concord.

“We have Zach; Varun (reliever Lingadal, who pitched the seventh) can come back; we have Corey (O’Day) as well,” Lunn said. “It’s just a matter of coming, getting ready to go and doing what we need to do.”

Woodward, whose team had nine hits, said he has three possibilities for the Anglers, including Sam Sacerdote and Brendan Walker, the pitchers who dealt back-to-back wins over New Hampshire Prospects White in last week’s quarterfinal sweep.

“Oh, it’s gonna be a game,” Woodward said.

With, hopefully, more strikes from his staff.

Valley News

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