Titans begin the Harris Era with comeback win over Salem.
NASHUA – In the big picture, those involved with Nashua High School North baseball program are looking to hit the reset button.
The Titans also found a way to do that within the course of just seven innings, too, as they rallied to beat Salem, 7-3 in their season opener Thursday at Holman Stadium.
“It’s a great feeling,” said North’s Casey Lane, whose bases clearing three-run double capped a six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. “It’s a great win for us, and for our program. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
“Big ups to the kids,” first year North coach Zach Harris said. “We talked about our passion for the game, our enthusiasm, something I felt had been missing the last few years here. It’s something that (on Thursday) never wavered. These guys kept their belief and picked each other up. Their pitcher was tough, tough, tough.”
The Titans were outhit 7-5 and faced deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 against big Salem righy Matt Bergeron. But Bergeron tired in the sixth, as Pat McCarthy singled with one out and Bergeron issued two walks to load the bases and force his exit.
Reliever T.J. McGregor hit Will Brooks to force in one run, and Brooks beat a throw to second on a fielder’s choice to plate Jack Gould with the tying run.
One out later Lane greeted the second Blue Devil reliever, Dylan McMenemy, with a gapper to left center that cleared the bases and gave the Titans that 7-3 lead.
“We just tried to take advantage of spots we could succeed in,” Lane said. “I just found one I liked and hope it went somewhere they couldn’t make a play on.”
Earlier in the game, with North down 2-0 in the third, Lane doubled in C.J. Barrett for North’s first run.
“We’ve talked a lot about him being our guy that drives us a little bit,” Harris said of Lane. “He doesn’t have to be the guy, but he has to be one of the guys.”
Another guy was Titan reliever Trevor Kelly, who pitched three scoreless innings to finish the game and keep the Devils at bay after Barrett had bent, but didn’t completely break.
“Trevor was great,” Harris said. “He’s going to do that all year for us. But first, C.J. (starting pitcher) had a real gutsy performance, kept us in it. He threw a ton of pitches in the first inning, but he didn’t let it get him down.”
“It’s going to be different with them, they’ve got arms, more than what they’ve had here,” Salem coach Dan Kelleher said. “They can withstand an offensive onslaught, which they did. We just need our relievers to come in. We have to put guys in situations like this early, so hopefully they get better.”
Salem had ripped Manchester Memorial 14-0 in its opener Wednesday and it looked like the Devils had picked right up where they left off, touching up Titan starter Barrett for two runs in the first on Jake Emerson’s RBI triple and a Bergeron sac fly. And they answered North’s first run with another on three walks and an error for a 3-1 lead in the fourth. But it didn’t hold up.
“It’s huge,” Harris said. “It’s about believing in what we’re doing. … Attitude and character, that’s what’s going to win us ballgames.”