Broncos keep the faith in 6-5 comeback win over Nashua South
HUDSON – A fan was making the long walk back from the baseball field to the Alvirne High School parking lot when he blurted out, “You never know.”
Nope, not with this current Broncos squad you don’t. Despite a 5-10 record, they never seem to be out of a game. Such was the case on Friday, as they rallied from a 5-0 deficit, scoring three runs in the sixth and three in the seventh to stun Nashua South, 6-5.
“We just kept hitting, kept it going, no matter what,” said Alvirne’s Ryan Ruigrok,who slid head first across the plate with the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh. “Never, never (give up). The whole year.”
“I told them before the start of the season, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Alvirne coach Mike Lee said. “And right now we’re finishing the right way. … Now we’re competing. You saw the excitement they had.”
It was a tough pill to swallow for the 7-9 Panthers, who had lost three straight coming in by a combined 30-0, including being no-hit the other night by Bedford. But it looked as if they would snap that streak after they got two runs in the second on a Seth Marcano RBI single and a wild pitch, and then three in the third thanks to two Alvirne errors that followed a walk and a Jay Matylewski double to go up 5-0.
“You know, you’ve got to play seven innings,” South coach James Gaj said. “You can’t play four, you can’t play five, you’ve got to play seven. … We got complacent after the first two innings, and because we got complacent we let these guys back into it. There’s no days off in Division I. You can’t let teams hang around.”
South starter Hunter Routhier seemd to have things under control, though, with five shutout innings, checking Alvirne on four hits. But the Broncos got new life in the sixth, with two-out RBI hits by Ryan Santos (two-run double) and Jeff Piantaggini to close to within 5-3.
South went with Zach Finkelstein to try to close it out in the seventh and it didn’t work. Alvirne’s Hayden Callery walked to lead off the inning, advanced on a Grady Hudson single, stole third and scored on an ground out off the bat of Evan Beals. Ruigrok reached on an infield error,and a wild pitch brought home the tying run.
Following a walk, Josh Trzcienski hit a one-out dribbler that with Ruigrok running on contact gave the Panthers
really no play.
“Coach kept telling us to keep swinging the bats, we had to keep it up,” Ruigrok said.
Callery got the win in relief for the Broncos, who are barely alive for a tourney berth. Turnabout was fair play in a way for Alvirne, which saw Londonderry rally from a 4-1 deficit late to beat the Broncos in extra innings, 5-4 earlier this week. Lee reminded them of that when they entered the seventh down by two.
“I said to them, ‘How many runs did Londonderry need to tie on Monday?,” Lee said. “‘Three.’ How many runs do we need to tie? Two. And how many do we need to win? Three.’ They had to believe.”
They do now.