Nashua Chiefs edge Souhegan Valley Mutts

Telegraph photo by HECTOR LONGO Nashua Chiefs leadoff man Roy Santiago is all over this belt-high fastball, smacking a liner to left for one of his three hits in the opening-night, 4-3, win over the Souhegan Valley Mutts on Tuesday night.

AMHERST – Summer baseball is about individuals putting in the time, honing their craft, working on their game.

Getting better.

Roy Santiago shattered that mold shortly after he and the Nashua Chiefs held off the Souhegan Valley Mutts, 4-3, on opening night in the New England Independent (19-under) Baseball League.

“We want to win a championship,” said the Nashua South senior-to-be, plain and simple.

Santiago, a flashy shortstop, had three hits for Nashua, scoring once, for Nashua, which rolled through five different pitchers in the opener.

Hector Rodriguez earned the win, with 2-2/3 innings of strong work out of the pen. It didn’t come easily, though, as with two outs in the botttom of the seventh, Souhegan mounted a charge.

Kyan Bagshaw would single as the Mutts would load the bases on a pair of walks.

That would chase Rodriguez and bring on Mason Linscott.

The right-hander walked Brandon Dufour on four pitches, cutting a 4-2 lead in half, but Linscott buckled down and induced a one-hopper to Rodriguez, who stepped on the bag to end it and lock up a good team win and a solid first step for the Chiefs.

“We’re a family, everyone here likes each other, and it’s a great team to be on,” said Santiago. “We’re excited. Very excited.”

For Nashua, Ryan Lopez had two hits, and both Linscott and Caleb Plourde rapped RBI singles.

Both teams get back to work on Thursday (6 p.m.) as Souhegan Valley hosts Concord, while Nashua travels to Hollis Brookline.

The Dodgers opened their 2019 summer at home on Tuesday night, knocking off ConVal, 4-1.