South baseball hoping to finally play today vs. North

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Nashua South baseball coach Jim Gaj and his team have been on the outside looking in for much of this seson thanks to rainouts. The Panthers should finally get a game in today vs. rival North at Holman Stadium.

NASHUA – It’s really the warmup act for a bigger event nine days later.

But actually, for the Nashua High School South baseball team, today’s 1 p.m. game vs. rival Nashua North at Holman Stadium will be more of a coming out party.

Providing the game is played, of course. This season, you never know, as the Panthers have played just three games this year (1-2), thanks to all the rain over the last couple of weeks that have had coaches and athletic directors going crazy, trying their best to summon their inner-creativity.

“The irony is we were outside (in the preseason) earlier than ever,” South coach James Gaj said. “We had six scrimmages. We’ve had more scrimmages than games, which is incredible.”

Monday’s late day and overnight rain was the latest culprit. The Panthers saw their 4 p.m. game against Pinkerton slated for Holman Stadium rained out. Tuesday they were scheduled to make up an earlier rainout vs. Trinity at the field at South. That was deemed unplayable, as was the JV field. OK, how about the fields at North? Nope, unplayable. And Holman was in the same shape.

“That’s five fields we couldn’t use, underwater,” Gaj said. “Right now, I’m willing to play in a parking lot with a broom stick and a rubber ball.”

When the umpires showed up at Holman on Monday, they told Gaj he could start the game if he wanted, but the likelihood of even getting a couple of innings in was slim and none. Pinkerton, whose field apparently drains well, offered their field for Monday’s game,but Gaj didn’t want to give up the home field. Plus it was pouring by that point.

“I’m frustrated, but the guys are frustrated, too,” Gaj said just before heading to South’s Belange Gym for yet another indoor practice. ” They want to play. We can’t play any games, get in any kind of a groove, can’t even set up a pitching rotation.” In fact, Gaj wasn’t even sure who should start today’s game on the mound given the interruptions, although was leaning toward junior Dante Young.

The Titans haven’t had the same problem, though close. Their game vs. Merrimack on Monday was suspended and resumed Tuesday. Before that, they were 1-3, so they will go into today’s game having played just two more games than the Panthers.

South’s last game was last Friday, a 2-1 loss to Concord. Playing North for the Panthers at this point isn’t as big a deal as it could have been had they gotten more games in.

“We’ll play anybody at this point,” Gaj said. “This isn’t the game that eveybody pays attention to. It’s more the next one (Friday night May 3 at Holman, part of the Battle of the Bridge). It’s almost going to seem like a scrimmage. Right now, we feel like we’re in scrimmage mode. It’s a weird year.”

And Gaj said he’s keeping his fingers crossed that even today’s game can be played since there was supposed to be light rain Tuesday night. But the weather today is supposed to be sunny and in the 60s.

Finally.

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There’s a big baseball event planned for Holman on Saturday, May 11 – a tripleheader. The irony is it will involve just two local teams.

The schedule will be Bedford vs. Pinkerton at 1 p.m. (Pinkerton home team), followed by Concord vs. Londonderry (Londonderry home) at 4 p.m., and then Nashua South vs. Bishop Guertin at 7 p.m. (BG home). All three games were moved from their original Friday scheduled date.

Apparently the seeds were planted at a coach’s convention/clinic at Mohegan Sun back during the winter.

“Scott Painter came up to me and asked if I would mind playing Saturday instead, and I said that would be fine,” Gaj said.

According to Gaj, the event is being held in conjunction with Adrenalin Fundraising. It certainly will bring back memories when state baseball tourney quarterfinals were held at neutral sites (rather than home of higher seeds) and Holman was the Division I quarterfinal site for a quadrupleheader that started at 10 a.m. It will be, as usual, the site for the Division I semis.

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When Gaj said it was a weird year, he wasn’t kidding. Take the Alvirne at Winnacunnet game last Friday, for example. The Broncos had apparently ordered pizza for either after the game or the bus ride home, and according to a report on seacoastonline.com, a Hampton area pizza delivery car actually drove onto the Warriors field, trying to go down the first base line toward home plate. Amazing.

It was stopped by the home plate umpire and Warriors coach Mike Abood, just a few feet away from the plate.

“Alvirne coach Mike Lee likes to try exotic pickoff plays and even though we were in the field, I thought it was some sort of play he set up,” Abood said jokingly after the game to seacoastonline reporter Jay Pinsonnault.

The diversion may have worked, as the Broncos won, 9-6 behind the hitting of Alex Boulay and Grady Hudson, and the pitching of Adam Scharn. And were hopefully well fed after.

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It’s school vacation week, and a lot of teams and some schools take the entire sports schedule off save for makeups. Tennis is one sport that does not schedule any matches unless necessary (the Souhegan boys have a makeup of a makeup match vs. Lebanon on Thursday).

Good or bad? For some teams like the Bishop Guertin girls, who are 6-0, it’s like screeching the brakes.

“I’m OK with it,” Bishop Guertin girls coach Barry Ndinya said. “On one hand, you like the break for the girls to come back recharged for the rest of the season. On the other hand, you’d almost like to keep playing. We’re playing well so far, so you’d want to keep the momentum going.”

Teams resume their schedules next Monday or Wednesday.

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If you’re a high school softball fan, get ready to travel for all the tournament semis finals. Why? Southern New Hampshire University’s softball field isn’t hosting the Division I and II semis/finals this year as it usually does (as we reported a couple of weeks ago). The NHIAA has settled on Plymouth State University to be the site for those rounds for all softball divisions after the quarterfinals. Division II baseball will have its semis at Concord’s Memorial Field, while Division III and IV will be at Robbie Mills Park in Laconia.

But, different from the earlier tourney site listings, SNHU is now going to serve as the site for the girls lacrosse finals for all three divisions (Manchester Memorial was an earlier listed site), and will also host the Division I boys and girls team tennis finals.

Also, in a departure from the norm, the University of New Hampshire is listed as the site for all the high school track championships (other than Unified, which will be at Alvirne), including the Meet of Champions as it stands now. Merrimack and Portsmouth had been the most commonly used sites for Division I in the past. Division I will be on Friday May 24 with Division II at 9 a.m.on May 25 and Division III to follow at 3 p.m. A different tourney trail this spring, indeed.

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There won’t be a Steve Beals Season II for Alvirne girls soccer next fall. Beals, the Alvirne principal, took over the job at the last minute before the season started when two potential head coaches abruptly resigned in the preseason, one after the other. Alvirne AD Karen Bonney said the hiring process is ongoing and “Hopefully we’ll have someone in place soon.”