Lingadal helps deliver a testy win for Nashua Legion

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Nashua's Varun Lingadal delivers a pitch during his key relief stint in the locals' 4-0 win over Dover Legion on Monday at Holman Stadium.

NASHUA – What Varun Lingadal will be doing this fall at Dartmouth College will likely be much more difficult than what he accomplished on Monday for the Nashua American Legion Post #124 baseball team at sun-splashed Holman Stadium.

But it still wasn’t easy.

Lingadal, who will end his baseball career this summer because he’s studying molecular biology in the fall, escaped a bases loaded situation, coming in relief in the fifth inning in Nashua’s 4-0 win over Dover. He also drove in the only run the locals would need in the bottom of the inning.

The former Nashua North lefty flamethrower came in with two on and nobody out in relief of starter Noah Therrien.

“I just wanted to throw strikes,” Lingadal said. “There were two on base, it was important to get those last three outs because we wanted to get the momentum rolling on offense.”

Dover Post #8 had plenty of chances at that momentum thanks to seven walks by Nashua pitching and three hit batsman. But it managed just two hits and left the bases loaded a whopping four times without scoring, all four times striking out to end the threats.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never seen that,” Dover manager Dave Rouleau said, his team coming up empty with three on in the first three innings and then that fifth. “What are you going to do? You can’t leave that many (13 in all)”

Noah Therrien, who struck out nine but walked five and hit three batters in four-plus, escaped with the bases juiced three times. Lingadal came in with two on, none out, and struck out three of the four he faced (walking one), including Dover’s Dylan Murphy looking. That was the third time Murphy fanned with the bases loaded and frustrated he issued some words that got both he and teammate John Cantwell ejected.

“The pitchers came up big with some big pitches,” Nashua manager Tim Lunn said, his team now 2-0 in District B while Dover fell to 1-1. “The defense also bailed them out in a couple of situations as well. As a team, we came up big in the spots that we needed to. But we just need to avoid those situations altogether, right?”

Nashua hadn’t really put Dover in those situations because it had trouble breaking loose offensively against Dover starter Jake Carley. But in the bottom of the fifth, Will Brooks walked, and pinch runner Billy Gonya advanced to second on a perfect Jake Smith sacrifice bunt, then to third on a ground out and scored when Lingadal singled him in.

“I just came up and tried to get a base hit and it worked out,” Lingadal said. “It was inside, I just turned on it, we got a run, and the momentum changed.”

“He’s come up big for us in a couple of spots,” Lunn said, noting that Lingadal scored a big run in the District B season opening 3-0 win over Exeter last week.

Nashua broke it open in the bottom of the sixth off the Dover pen with three runs on RBI hits by Brooks, Henri Boudreau, and a Nik DiRenzo sac fly.

Lingadal has come to terms with the fact this Legion season is it for him as far as baseball is concerned. He was thinking of trying to walk on at Cal Tech or Johns Hopkins, but when he got accepted at Dartmouth, how could he say no?

“Just having fun for one last summer with my friends,” he said.

His friends are having fun so far, too, thanks to him. What the heck, molecular biology can wait a couple of months, right?