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Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweeney’s ninth-inning rally ends Hudson’s title hopes

NASHUA – With Ryan Glendye on the mound for the Hudson Post 48 baseball team, there was nothing Sweeney Post 2 could do.

Unfortunately for Hudson, Glendye could only pitch for so long. ...

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NASHUA – With Ryan Glendye on the mound for the Hudson Post 48 baseball team, there was nothing Sweeney Post 2 could do.

Unfortunately for Hudson, Glendye could only pitch for so long.

The Post 48 righty shut out Sweeney for six innings – giving him 15 scoreless innings against Post 2 – but with Glendye out, Sweeney scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally for a 4-3 win Sunday in the American Legion Senior Tournament at Holman Stadium.

Sweeney advanced to the final day of action, while Hudson was eliminated from the tournament, ending a season that only those wearing a Post 48 uniform could have expected back in mid-June.

“It’s been a great ride this year,” Hudson coach Scott Szuksta said. “We definitely started down. We had to cancel our junior program because of lack of interest. We had to go searching for players and the ones who did tryout and ended up on this roster definitely clicked. I think they exceeded everyone’s expectations except their own. I’m very proud of them and it was a great year for them.”

Dakota Williams suffered the loss for Hudson as he pitched two-plus innings of relief. After Glendye went six innings – giving up six hits and a walk while stranding seven – Sweeney’s Peter Abood greeted Williams by sending his first offering over the left field wall for a solo homer.

That made it 3-1 Hudson and started the momentum swinging in Sweeney’s favor.

“I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sad to see (Glendye) come out of the game because I think mentally, it was wearing on the kids, playing 15 innings and not being able to get one run off him,” Sweeney coach David Fleury said. “Just to get a different look, it was probably a good thing for the kids to see something else.”

Sweeney loaded the bases in the eighth and Williams was able to escape the jam, but Kevin Gonzales and Brendan Sullivan opened the ninth with back-to-back singles, bringing Connor Walsh to the plate.

Walsh went the other way Williams’ offering for a double, bringing in both runners to tie the game.

Chris Murphy came on in relief of Williams and was able to get out of the inning, but not before
Nolan Flynn drove in Walsh with the go-ahead run.

Both Williams and Murphy had pitched in relief in earlier games and Szuksta was weary of over-using each.

“Our bugaboo all season has been what our pitching will be like in the tournament and it killed us (Sunday),” the coach said. “Dakota gave us as much as he could, but when he got to about 50 pitches, that’s a lot for a reliever. He kind of hit his wall. Murph came in, but the reason we were hesitant to bring him is because he just threw three innings (Saturday).”

Hudson got to Sweeney starter Ryan Baldwin early, as Greg Emanuelson and Jacen Hudson each had RBI singles in the first inning. But Baldwin settled down after that and Hudson couldn’t capitalize.

Post 48 had runners at second and third with no one out in the third and two on with two out in the fifth. In the sixth, James Sullivan manufactured a run almost singlehandedly, as he led off with a single was sacrifice over by Jackson Musco and took third when no one was covering the base. He then scored on a throwing error to make it 3-0.

Sweeney will now play Derry at 4 p.m. Monday, and the winner gets to take on Dover at 7 p.m. for the state championship.