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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Londonderry baseball team rallies to oust Nashua North, 9-6

LONDONDERRY – The Nashua High School North baseball team could taste it.

The Titans had erupted for five runs in the third inning against fifth-seeded Londonderry on Saturday for an early 5-2 lead and were still in control at 6-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth. ...

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LONDONDERRY – The Nashua High School North baseball team could taste it.

The Titans had erupted for five runs in the third inning against fifth-seeded Londonderry on Saturday for an early 5-2 lead and were still in control at 6-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

They were just six outs away from a huge upset and the right to play in the Division I semifinals at their own beloved Holman Stadium.

But the Lancers had three words for their guests in their eventual 9-6 quarterfinal win: Not so fast. Londonderry (15-7) plated four runs in the sixth off relievers Sam McCarthy and Zach Smith, and will play the 7 p.m. semifinal at Holman on Wednesday against No. 9 Bedford, which upset top seed Dover 6-5.

Pitching hurt 9-13 North on Saturday. Including starting lefty junior Ricky Constant, Titan hurlers issued five walks, hit a batter and were behind several others.

“We had them,” North coach Kyle Harvell said. “As much as we said we had a chance to make plays in the Concord game and did on Thursday, today they had a chance to make plays, and they did. That was really the difference.

“If Sam and Ricky were a year older, I think we get them.”

The Lancers pounded out 12 hits.

“Down 5-2, there were a lot of teams that would’ve mailed it in, especially with the pitching that North has,” Lancers coach Brent Demas said. “But they just kept fighting and fighting, and if finally broke open.”

The Lancers strung together five hits, including a game-tying RBI single by Colby Joncas, a go-ahead squeeze bunt by Jonny Meskell to make it 7-6 and insurance RBI hits by Zach Tavano, with a double, and Tom Corey, with a single.

“We got into fastball hitting counts,” Harvell said. “We needed to throw a fastball, and they’re a good fastball hitting team. That’s a good baseball team over there.”

Down 2-0, North rallied in the third, sending nine to the plate and scoring five runs.

Lancers complete-game pitcher Tom Corey issued bases-loaded walks to Brennan Kastens and Chas DeWitt, another run on a fielder’s choice and later, a two-run double to Smith.

Joncas and Geoff Kayo hit RBI doubles in the third and fourth respectively, the latter making it 5-4 and chasing Constant.

North felt pretty good with another Smith RBI double in the fifth to go up 6-4, but Londonderry answered off McCarthy with Brett Evangelista’s two-out, run-scoring triple to hang in there at 6-5.

The other key was Corey, a senior. He looked like toast a couple of times, but really only suffered through one bad inning. He allowed only six hits and fanned eight.

“I know Tommy pretty well,” Harvell said. “I thought we were one hitter away from chasing him. But he really gutted it out.”

The Titans thought they were going to do the same. Close, but not quite.