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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hudson tops Merrimack in American Legion baseball

NASHUA – Following a sluggish start to the game, the Hudson Post 48 baseball team didn’t look like a squad competing for a top-four seed in the playoffs.

However, after a big sixth inning Friday, everyone was reminded why the team currently sits in third place in the Senior District B standings. ...

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NASHUA – Following a sluggish start to the game, the Hudson Post 48 baseball team didn’t look like a squad competing for a top-four seed in the playoffs.

However, after a big sixth inning Friday, everyone was reminded why the team currently sits in third place in the Senior District B standings.

Hudson got one step closer to locking up a playoff berth after topping Merrimack Post 98, 7-3., in a game played at Daniel Webster College. The win improves Hudson’s record to 11-6, basically assuring the team an appearance in the postseason.

Post 48 only managed three hits in the first five innings, but the offense turned it around in the sixth. Hudson got its first two runs via clever base running from Kellin Bail and Jim Sullivan. After Jacen Hudson and Jackson Musco reached base, Dan Brown came through with the big hit, knocking a triple into right field. Kyle Shaw knocked in another run before the end of the inning, giving Hudson a 5-2 lead.

“We got off to a little bit of a slow start and then we really turned it on in that big inning,” Hudson coach Scott Szuksta said. “After that our offense clicked, our defense clicked. It was big for us.”

Sullivan led the way offensively for Hudson, finishing with three stolen bases and two runs scored. Yet it was Brown’s triple that was fresh on the coach’s mind following the game.

“He’s someone who’s played amazing defense at shortstop this year,” Szuksta said. “He’s been struggling at the plate a little bit. For him to come up with that hit and really open up the game for us was huge.”

Merrimack (5-10) got on the board first, as Chad Seaver knocked in Brendan Carter in the second inning. Post 98 lifted its advantage to two following a Taylor Black RBI, but the team couldn’t find much offense after that.

“It was a little discouraging,” Merrimack coach Cliff Hicks said. “We had five solid innings to start and then the sixth inning we kind of just collapsed. That’s when the floodgates opened. It was tough.”

Justin Grassini took the loss for Merrimack, allowing five runs in five-plus innings of work. The righty cruised through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth.

“I absolutely love the kid on the mound,” Hicks said. “He’s a freshman, so its huge to see him competing against some of these college kids. The way he’s pitched all year long has been great. He’s going to develop into a good pitcher.”

Hudson earned the win for Post 48, allowing two runs on seven hits and four walks. Ryan Glendye pitched the last two innings and earned the save.