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Nashua left its mark on 14U World Series

Courtesy photo Nate Smith got plenty of work in relief with the Nashua Babe Ruth All-Stars in the 14U World Series in Demopolis, Ala.

The Nashua 14U Babe Ruth All-Stars learned one important thing in their week at the Babe Ruth World Series in Demoplis, Ala.

They belonged.

“Absolutely,” Nashua coach Todd Holbrook said after his team competed in three of their four games, going 1-3. “Absolutely. It was the first night (when his players realized it). Eagle Pass (Tex.) was the runnerup last year, and we played a good game for the most part, and had one bad inning.

“So we thought ‘Hey, this is going to be it, we’re going to do much better. I thought it was our best game even though we had one bad inning. “But that’s when we knew we could definitely play with these guys.”

Holbrook got two good starts out of Nolan Medeiros and a classic one out of lefty Nick Shaw in the 4-1 win over Alabama.

Then why didn’t Nashua advance out of the Black Warrior Division (pool play) into the quarterfinals?

They scored just eight runs in four games, that’s mainly why, and were shut out in the elimination game vs. Oregon.

“Correct,” Holbrook said. “And that is not something I thought we would struggle with. … We didn’t hit, that’s the bottom line.”

Ian DeLuca had a good tournament leading off, and Ryan Bourgeois had five RBIs in the first two games for Nashua. But then the locals scored one run over the final two games.

“Honestly I don’t know what happened to the middle of our lineup,” Holbrook said. “Those guys always get one or two hits a game and it didn’t happen in the tournament.

“Honestly, I didn’t think the pitching was that much better. Florida, yes, we got outclassed (losing 17-1). They dominated us. In the Eagle Pass game (a 6-3 loss in the tourney opener), we made a couple of mistakes.

“Oregon (the final game,a 3-0 loss), we struck out a lot of times (half dozen). I thinkwe watched three or four third strikes (vs. Oregon starter Max Allen).”

So what’s next for the All-Stars? This group would be in the 15U competition next summer, but a few likely won’t be with them. Albert De La Rosa, who played Senior Legion ball this summer, likely would stay at that level throughout. Bourgeois and Medeiros likely would play Junior Legion.

“We knew we had a good team,” Holbrook said. “We went to the Regional last year but we didn’t have Albert and went 3-1. So we knew with Albert, we’d be able to win the Regional. We were right, and that’s exactly why people like Nolan Medeiros and Ryan Bourgeois didn’t play Junior Legion. Next year, who knows, I don’t think we’ll be so lucky.

“But we had a great group, great team. Luckily we had a great group that stayed together and was dedicated.”

The Nashua All-Stars weren’t scheduled to return home until Friday, as Babe Ruth mandates all teams remain for the tournament’s entirety, whether they’ve been elimiated or not.

But it wasn’t a problem for Nashua, which was treated with open arms in Demopolis.

“The community was so good,” Holbrook said, noting that on Wednesday they gave the players fishing poles, and a local farm gave the kids 12-15 golf carts.

“The kids were riding around in carts, fishing all day,” Holbrook said. “The community was awesome.”

The team, through one of the parents’ efforts, also got one of the hotels that was in Demopolis while most teams were housed an hour away.

The team also had to deal with extreme heat. The 90-plus degree temperatures and extreme humidity the last couple of days certainly were a factor as the team struggled in its last two games.

“No question,” Holbrook said. “The locals told us it was the hottest they’ve had in two years. I never, ever stopped sweating. It definitely hit us like a ton of brucks. I wish it didn’t, but it did.”

Still, it was a summer that the coaches and players won’t

forget.

“Great summer, great summer,” Holbrook said. “These kids, they’ll never forget it. It’s been a great experience.”