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Monday, July 21, 2014

Nashua Post 124 finishes season with 18-4 romp over Derry Post 9

DERRY – It’s an empty feeling, having to take the field less than 24 hours after being eliminated from playoff contention.

After failing to qualify for the American Legion baseball tournament with a 5-3 loss to Salem Post 63 Saturday night, that’s exactly what Nashua Post 124 dealt with on Sunday in its final District B game against Derry Post 9. ...

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DERRY – It’s an empty feeling, having to take the field less than 24 hours after being eliminated from playoff contention.

After failing to qualify for the American Legion baseball tournament with a 5-3 loss to Salem Post 63 Saturday night, that’s exactly what Nashua Post 124 dealt with on Sunday in its final District B game against Derry Post 9.

Instead of feeling sorry, Post 124 embraced the chance to play with an 18-4 route of playoff-bound Derry in seven innings at Pinkerton Academy.

The Nashua players were loud in the dugout, played loosely and were as aggressive as they would be if it were a meaningful game. The result was one of their strongest showings of the year.

Post 124 collected a whopping 18 hits and got a strong, six-inning effort from starting pitcher Joe Gouveia. The offense turned a two-run game into a blowout with a nine-run sixth that saw 15 Nashua hitters come to the plate.

“Everyone is kind of loose and everything,” Nashua coach Kevin Palanski said. “It’s probably tougher on (Derry). After getting beat like this they’ve got to wrap it up and play for real on Thursday. This is almost a scrimmage game in a way.

“But we hit the ball, so it was good for everybody. Good to end the district season like this, on a good note.”

Sunday’s win gives Post 124 a 9-9 record for the season, good for fifth in District B. It will play one last non-district game against Sweeney Post 2 Tuesday night.

According to Palanski, Nashua is losing 14 of its 18 players, meaning the roster will be completely different next season. He said the only returning players are Colby Gunter, Pat McDonell, J.J. Dunn and Tim Paige.

As for 2014, a .500 record and no postseason is certainly an underachievement for a veteran team, which was one win away from a state championship a year ago.

“We were really inconsistent. We didn’t hit in key situations, I think that was the telltale sign,” Palanski said. “There are times, a game like this, where we could gather a lot of hits. But in games where we were getting six or seven hits, we weren’t getting them in key situations. That’s where we were lacking, a lot of timely hitting situations.”

Sunday proved just how good Post 124 could’ve been if it had hit consistently all season. Five different players had multi-hit games, while Shane Nowak and Andrew Mierzwa had three RBIs apiece against a battered set of Derry arms.

“It was a game that really meant nothing for both teams,” Palanski said. “They’re already in the tournament, so they weren’t using any of their top pitchers.”

Post 9 still used its starting lineup against Gouveia. The lefty held Derry to four runs on eight hits. He walked four and struck out three. Quinn DiPasquale pitched a scoreless seventh to end the game.

Nashua jumped on Post 9 starter Caleb Shoip right away. After walking Paige to start the game, Shoip gave up four straight singles to give Post 124 a 2-0 lead.

Derry answered with two runs in the bottom of the first after Gouveia hit one batter and walked two others.

Post 9 pulled ahead in the third with two more runs to take a 4-2 lead. Ben Curry reached with a one-out single. He stole second and scored on a base hit by Chris Gerossie. Chase Sprois drove in Gerossie with an RBI triple to the left field fence.

Nashua responded with four runs in the fourth to take a 6-4 lead it wouldn’t surrender. Brendan Martin and Eric Damphousse led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Nowak drove both home with a single, and scored on an RBI double by Jeff Lunn.