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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hudson takes lead over Rochester 11-7

NASHUA – The Hudson Post 48 coaching staff had a decision to make when Connor Whittemore led off the top of the ninth with a walk.

Should Post 48 be safe and play small ball to try to tie Rochester Post 7? Or should Hudson go all-in and play for a big inning? ...

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NASHUA – The Hudson Post 48 coaching staff had a decision to make when Connor Whittemore led off the top of the ninth with a walk.

Should Post 48 be safe and play small ball to try to tie Rochester Post 7? Or should Hudson go all-in and play for a big inning?

Scott Szuksta put all his chips on the big inning and it paid off, as Hudson scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Rochester 11-7 in Friday’s final game at the American Legion Senior Tournament at Holman Stadium.

The win advances Hudson in the winner’s bracket, as Post 48 will take on Dover Post 8 at 2 p.m. on Saturday, while Rochester will look to stay alive against Derry Post 9 at 11 a.m.

Hudson got two RBIs from Luis Matrille, while Dakota Williams was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI and Greg Emanuelson was 2 for 5 and scored two runs, one of which turned out to be the game-winner in the ninth.

“I really felt like we were going to (get something in the top of the ninth),” Szuksta said. “I talked to my assistant coaches and after Whittemore got on, I asked, do we go for a big inning or do we bunt him over to second and go for the tie. We decided to go for the big hit and Greg got his big hit and Dakota got a hit. We got the big inning we were hoping for.”

Williams also picked up the win by pitching 2 2/3 innings of relief. He allowed one unearned run on one hit and one walk while striking out four.

Jordan Damon took the loss for Rochester, as he lasted just 2/3 of an inning and gave up five runs on five hits and a walk. Ben Gravell had a two-run single for Post 7 in the fourth inning and Justin Jewell was 2 for 4 with two runs scored.

The teams combined for 10 errors, 14 walks and nine unearned runs. At times, both sides seemed content with giving the game to the other.

“It was kind of an ugly baseball game, it really was,” Rochester coach B.J. Gagnon said. “We didn’t play well from the first pitch of the game. We didn’t string any hits together, we didn’t make plays when we had to. They gave us just about everything we got and we gave them just about everything they got until it blew open in the ninth.”

The game was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams from District B, who split their two games during the regular season. Rochester took a 2-0 lead in the first, but Hudson tied it up in its half of the second and went up 3-2 with a run in the third.

Post 7 got a two-run single from Gravel in the fourth to go up 4-3 and again Hudson came back, tying the game when centerfielder Jewell dropped a fly ball off the bat of Jacen Hudson, allowing Emanuelson to score.

Post 48 loaded the bases with no one out, but Rochester’s Kyle Bernier struck out Dan Brown and got Jackson Musco to pop up to first. Matrille followed with a single to right, scoring Williams. Post 48 might have had more, but Hudson ran through a stop at third and was easily thrown out at home for the third out.

Two Post 48 errors led to an unearned run for Rochester in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.

“We made a lot of mistakes and it wouldn’t have been one play that cost us,” Szuksta said. “You think about things, but baseball is never decided on one play. We got lucky because all year (Rochester) had played solid, mistake free baseball. It was uncharacteristic of them and I’m still nervous about them being in the tournament. That’s not an easy team to beat. We’ve been lucky a couple of times against them.”

Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or jmarchilena@ nashuatelegraph. com. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeM).