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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Milford clinches tourney spot; Nashua stays alive

American Legion Baseball

MANCHESTER – If there’s anything that can be learned from Milford Post 23, it’s the value of patience.

Milford spent the last two years as American Legion bottom-dwellers. It had one of the youngest teams in the state and was regularly hammered by more experienced teams, resulting in consecutive 15-loss seasons. ...

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MANCHESTER – If there’s anything that can be learned from Milford Post 23, it’s the value of patience.

Milford spent the last two years as American Legion bottom-dwellers. It had one of the youngest teams in the state and was regularly hammered by more experienced teams, resulting in consecutive 15-loss seasons.

But 2014 has been different. Post 23 has matured, jelled and regained a pair of dominant pitchers in Pat Martin and Ryan Britton on its way to a winning season.

On Saturday, Milford capped its impressive single-season turnaround with an 8-0 win over Goffstown Post 16 in its regular-season finale at Saint Anselm College, clinching a spot in next weekend’s tournament at 11-7.

“The last couple of years we had a really young team,” catcher Cam Douglas said. “Now you can see them starting to develop. We have a lot of young kids who grew up together and are starting to mold together well.

“The difference this year I think everyone is really committed to the team. We have a lot more pitching, we have a lot more chemistry and it’s just working together really well.”

Milford coach Frank Douglas said teams used to take advantage of its youth. Many of the top Legion teams consist of high school upperclassmen and early college-aged players. The last two years, Post 23 was filled with 14- and 15-year-olds who were still adjusting to playing against high school-level talent.

Time and age have changed that drastically.

“If you have a weakness on your team, it’s pretty easy to take advantage of it at this level,” Douglas said. “That’s how we were the last couple of years.”

Martin led Milford to its playoff-clinching victory Saturday. The right-hander dominated Goffstown’s lineup through seven shutout innings. He surrendered just two hits, two walks and had six strikeouts.

After allowing the first two batters to reach base, he retired 17 straight Post 16 hitters between the first and sixth.

Martin also contributed with two hits and three RBIs in five plate appearances.

Burbank lifts Nashua
over Portsmouth

Nashua Post 124 kept its playoff hopes alive Saturday afternoon with a 6-3 win over Portsmouth.

Pitcher Jake Burbank allowed just one earned run over eight innings. Jon McQuarrie led Post 124 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs. Shane Nowak added two hits, while Eric Damphousse and Spencer Madden had two RBIs apiece.

Nashua’s game against Salem on Saturday night at Holman Stadium was not finished at press time.

Post 124 plays its regular-season finale Sunday at Derry.