Nashua Junior Legion baseball aiming for championship

PORTSMOUTH – Fundamentals and taking advantage of mistakes are important in any sport, but in baseball they are paramount.

Both the Nashua Post 124 and Lebanon Post 22 Junior Legion baseball teams racked up 11 hits on Wednesday in the winners’ bracket final of the New Hampshire Junior American legion tournament, but Nashua played error-free baseball while Lebanon made four costly errors.

Post 124 took advantage of a pair of those mishaps in the fourth to break a deadlock and went on to defeat Lebanon, 10-4, at Leary Field.

Nashua (3-0) advances to the championship day, where it needs to win just once to be crowned state champs.

First pitch is slated for 4 PM on Wednesday.

“Minimizing our mistakes and taking advantage of theirs was the key,” said Nashua coach Jeff Lunn. “We also put together some good swings and put them in tough places. I have been telling the guys all year, ‘you just have to put the pressure on the other team.'”

Nashua will use the rest day to set up its pitching, while Lebanon (2-1) plays an elimination game Tuesday night.

After Lebanon tied it at 4-all in the third, Nashua responded in the fourth. Ethan Smith led off with an infield single and was driven home by Sam Cronin’s double down the left field line that made it 5-4. A routine groundball from Braden McDonnell was booted and scored Cronin from second. McDonnell scored on a throwing error upping the edge to 7-4.

Nashua added a pair in the fifth to make it 9-4. Lebanon loaded the bases in the bottom half, with one out but Corey O’Day got Nolan Gantrish to ground to third, forcing a double play to end the inning.

“It was a perfect groundball with a charity hop,” said Nashua third baseman Matthew Thibault. “I made a good throw home and the catcher did the rest of the work.

Six different batters had hits for Nashua. Hayden Shattuck went 3-4 with a pair of RBIs, while Cronin went 2-5. Thibault and Ethan Smith also had a pair of hits. Post 124 stole six bases. Post 124 used three pitchers.

“Everyone just put everything together perfectly,” said Thibault. “We had no mistakes in the field and we hit well. It is awesome we got (to the championship), but we just must focus and do what we have the rest of the tournament.