Concord wins two for American Legion state title

NASHUA – The baseball team with the most pitching wins double elimination tournaments more often than not.

Concord Post 21 showed why on Tuesday.

Needing to beat Goffstown Post 16 twice to take the American Legion state senior title, Post 21 wore out its opponent’s pitching, winning the first game 7-4 and the second game 6-4 to capture the 2012 championship.

Concord scored three unearned runs in the fifth inning to tie the first game 3-3, went ahead with a four-run sixth and held on to force the second game. In that one, Post 21 scored four runs on five walks and two errors in the seventh inning to take the lead and again did enough to keep a potent Goffstown offense in check.

Post 21 will move on to the Region 1 Tournament, which will be held Aug. 9-13 at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Concord’s Dillon Emerson was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after hitting over .400 for the tournament.

In both games, Concord got huge performances from its relief pitchers. Autrey Gates went 61?3 innings in place of starter Eddie Dionne, and allowed two runs – one earned – on two hits and a walk while striking out four.

And in the second game, after Josh Partridge walked the first two Goffstown batters in the bottom of the fourth, Sam Bonifant came in to retire the side without giving up a run. Bonifant went four innings, giving up just a walk and hitting a batter while striking out two.

Chris Hood took the loss for Goffstown in the final game, pitching three-plus innings of relief and allowing five runs – only one of which was earned – on seven walks. With just four pitchers on the roster, Goffstown coach Nick Jaskolka had limited pitching going into Tuesday, and when Concord won the first game, Post 16 was put in a tough spot.

Concord took the lead in the top of the seventh in Game 2 without the benefit of a hit. After getting Matt McCormick to pop up to open the frame, Hood walked the next three Concord batters to load the bases.

Hood stayed in the game and the righty nearly got out of the inning. He battled to get to a full count before striking out Patrick Cannon and got David Drouin to ground a 3-2 pitch to second baseman Kyle Indigaro.

But the ball got by Indigaro, allowing Sam McManus and Ben Bengston to score and put Concord up 3-2. Hood then walked Dillon Emerson to load the bases and walked Kenny Hart to bring in another run to make it 4-2.

Bradon Smith followed with a ground ball that Hood couldn’t field cleanly, allowing one more run to score before McCormick again popped out to end the inning.

Goffstown tacked on a run in both the eighth and the ninth, but in each inning, stranded runners. Post 16 had runners on second and third when the final out was made.