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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sweeney Post 2 tops Milford Post 23 in Legion baseball

MILFORD – Any question of whether the Milford Post 23 baseball team belonged among the top teams in the state was answered in the team’s last two games.

Whether Post 23 advances to the American Legion Senior state tournament for the first time still remains up in the air. ...

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MILFORD – Any question of whether the Milford Post 23 baseball team belonged among the top teams in the state was answered in the team’s last two games.

Whether Post 23 advances to the American Legion Senior state tournament for the first time still remains up in the air.

Coming off a 5-0 win over Lebanon Post 22 on Saturday – Lebanon’s first loss of the season – Milford jumped out to a 4-0 Monday lead over Sweeney Post 2. But an error in the top of the eighth inning opened the door for Sweeney to tie the game and Post 2 scored a run in the top of the 11th for a 5-4 win at Keyes Field.

“They never gave up and they’ve been like that all year,” Sweeney coach Dave Flurey said. “I don’t look at any lead as being safe against us because these kids never quit. That’s the sign of a good team.

“Milford is a good team and they took advantage of the errors we made early. I’m not surprised one bit by the type of season they’re having because they are a talented ball club and they’ve proved it.”

Mason Gaudette suffered the loss, giving up one run on three hits in a walk in 31⁄3 innings of relief. Chandler MacKenzie started the game for Milford, going 72⁄3 innings and allowing four runs – one earned – on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

MacKenzie battled out of trouble in the sixth and the seventh, and after Dan O’Connor reached on an error to lead off the eighth, it appeared as if the Milford pitcher was going to do it again.

But Connor Walsh hit a two-out double to score O’Connor and make it 4-2, and Zach Szczechowicz followed with a two-run home run to left that tied the game.

“I told the kids afterward, it’s my bad, and I told Chandler, I would have done exactly the same thing he did,” Milford coach Frank Douglas said. “Mason warmed up and I told Chandler I was going to make the change and he said ‘coach, I feel a hundred percent and I’ve only thrown 75 pitches, I can get it done.’

“We were going through the top of the order, they’d seen him a couple of times and I wanted to give them a different look, but it’s tough to tell a kid give me the ball.”

Sweeney also got a solid pitching performance from starter Nolan Flynn, as he gave up four runs on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in nine innings. Milford got a run off Flynn in the third and batted around in the fourth, scoring three more times, but after that, Flynn retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.

Joe Lamontagne got the win by pitching two scoreless innings of relief. Milford got four hits –two in the 10th and 11th – off the Post 2 pitcher, but Patrick Martin ground into a double play to end the 10th and Padrick Harvey was thrown out trying to go from first to third on a single to right to end the game.

Ryan Britton and MacKenzie each had two hits for Milford while Jake McMaster and Mike Mancini each drove in a run. All 10 of Post 23’s hits were singles.

Milford returns to action Wednesday when Post 23 travels to face Goffstown Post 16 at 5 p.m. at Saint Anselm College. The teams will play again in Milford on Thursday.