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Friday, June 13, 2014

Campbell crushes Berlin to reach Division III baseball finals

By TOM KING

Staff Writer

MANCHESTER – The Campbell Cougars just keep on purring, don’t they?

There appears to be no underestimating the will of this high school baseball team as it is back in the Division III finals after a year’s absence, thanks to a 10-0 semifinal win (six innings) over Berlin at Southern New Hampshire University. ...

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MANCHESTER – The Campbell Cougars just keep on purring, don’t they?

There appears to be no underestimating the will of this high school baseball team as it is back in the Division III finals after a year’s absence, thanks to a 10-0 semifinal win (six innings) over Berlin at Southern New Hampshire University.

The top-seeded Cougars (17-2) will now take on No. 2 Somersworth (17-2), an 8-7 winner over Bow in the earlier semi, in the title game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Manchester’s Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

There always seems to be someone different coming through for the Cougars, and this time it was pitcher Tyler Butler, who tossed six innings of five-hit shutout baseball, walking one and striking out three. Butler also helped himself out with two hits and a run scored.

“You mean the Bulldog?” Campbell coach Jim Gorham said. “Every time we roll him out there, he’s like that. He’s got more competition inside a small body, I wish everybody was like Tyler.”

“I just kept focused throughout the game,” Butler said, “and continued to battle and help my team.”

Remember, this is a team whose one of its best players, Connor Sahlin, was dismissed from tournament play due to unspecified rules violations.

“They are who they are right now,” Gorham said. “They’re out to prove to everybody they’re a team.”

The Cougars scored two in the first but broke the game open in the fifth with six runs, and ended up with 12 hits.

“They’re always going to hit a ton,” Berlin coach Nathan Roberge said. “They’re tough.”

The Cougars touched up Berlin starter Connor Jewett for two runs in the first as Kyle Shaw led the game off with a walk and eventually scored on Robert Baril’s sacrifice fly. Vincent Bucci added an RBI single and it was 2-0.

But the fifth inning really ended the game as the Cougars broke it open with six runs on six hits. Zach Byers (two hits) singled in the third run of the game and Christian Bourgea (also two hits) doubled him in to make it 4-0. Baril’s RBI bloop single made it 5-0, and Austin Baker singled to make it 6-0 when the Mountaineers fell asleep and allowed Bourgea to basically take home.

Michael Gray singled in the seventh run when the ball was lost in the lights and Campbell’s eighth run scored on a double steal play.

“We finally started hitting the ball and putting it in play,” Gorham said, “instead of trying to crush the ball. A couple of bloopers turned into (runs), and if you look at the first inning, we turned a walk into two runs.”

The Cougars scored two runs in the sixth on bases loaded walks to kick in the 10-run mercy rule. And now it’s breakfast with Somersworth on Saturday.

“When we get rolling, we get rolling, no one’s going to stop us,” Bourgea said of the avalanche of runs. “We just capitalized on everybody’s mistakes. If we just keep doing what we’re doing, I think we can win it all.”