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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Alvirne stops slide, rips Dover in Division I baseball

By NICK CANELAS

Correspondent

HUDSON – Mike Lee could see what was happening to his Alvirne High School baseball team.

Losers of four straight with two games left in the regular season, the Broncos were slipping at the wrong time. ...

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HUDSON – Mike Lee could see what was happening to his Alvirne High School baseball team.

Losers of four straight with two games left in the regular season, the Broncos were slipping at the wrong time.

They had stayed within the top eight all season long, but now their goal of hosting a state tournament game was in danger, along with their confidence entering the playoffs.

The Broncos collected nine hits off three pitchers and got a dominant performance from starter Tyler Brown in a 10-1 rout of Dover. The win moves Alvirne to 9-8 for the season and puts them alone at No. 8 in the standings with the season finale at Merrimack on Friday.

Hoping for a spark, Lee challenged his team at practice on Tuesday and reminded them of the importance of their Senior Day game against Division I-leading Dover on Wednesday afternoon.

“One game can turn your season around, and this is the game where you do that,” the Alvirne coach told his team. “So let’s come ready to make that happen (Wednesday).”

The players responded.

“We haven’t been getting much luck. We haven’t been playing well and a little bit of this, little bit of that, has led to our not peaking at the right time,” Lee said. “(Wednesday) was important to make sure we’re playing the right kind of baseball as we go into the tournament.’’

Lee stressed the importance of having a reliable ace entering the postseason, and Brown gave him reason to feel confident in his top arm on Wednesday. The right-hander gave up one unearned run on four hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts over six innings. Dover (14-3) got only four base runners into scoring position.

Brown said his arm started to feel dead in the second inning – the inning Green Wave scored their lone run off him in – but he picked it back up in the third and cruised despite not having his best fastball.

“It feels really good,” said Brown, who also went 1 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored. “We knew we just needed to come back with a good one (Wednesday), get us back on track for the playoffs.”

Dover starter Anthony Lopi lasted just three innings on Wednesday, but can credit the loss to a lacking defense behind him. The Green Wave committed three errors in the first inning, leading to all three of Alvirne’s first inning runs.

Dan Brown led off the inning with a double to right field. Jacen Hudson, who led the Broncos offensively with two RBIs and three runs scored on a 1-for-3 afternoon, followed with a fly ball that was dropped by center fielder Jared Gagne. Tyler Brown drove Dan Brown home on an error by third baseman Tim Burke.

Hudson and Tyler Brown scored three batters when Burke committed another error.

This time his throw to first on a Kyle McKinley ground ball was too low and skipped right out of play.

“That was the key there, making things happen with two strikes,” Lee said. “Everybody going up there shortening their strokes and putting it in play and let’s see what happens.”

“Just seeing runs come through is a big confidence-booster, knowing that we can get runs in any way,’’ Brown said.

The Broncos broke the game open with three more runs in the second. Derek Hudson drove Dan Brown and Jacen Hudson in with a single to left, and Robbie Flohr brought him in with a single of his own.

Jacen Hudson made it 8-1 with a two-run triple to deep right-center, then scoring on Tyler Brown’s single.