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Nashua Legion gets sharp start from Anderson, drops Laconia in tourney opener

Nashua Post 124's Brett Anderson.

NASHUA – other than the fact that star pitcher Brett Anderson was close to being his usual overpowering self for four-plus innings and refused to make an out when batting himself, there wasn’t anything hugely impressive about the Nashua Post 124 American Legion’s 3-0 win over Laconia in the state tournament at Holman Stadium on Friday night.

But the locals still got the job done without their “A-game” and advanced to tonight’s 7 p.m. contest against Lebanon Post 22. Lebanon moved on thanks to its 10-3 drubbing of Rochester – which beat Nashua twice this summer – in the second game of the four-contest day.

Anderson went 4.2 innings striking out seven batters, walking just one, and holding Laconia to a paltry two hits. His offense managed eight safeties while also taking advantage of a couple of key defensive miscues by the visitors. The skilled southpaw helped his own cause by reaching base four times on a solid single, a bounding infield single, and two walks. But Nashua stranded some 11 runners on base, missing out on the “clutch hit” a number of times.

“You get the win any way you can in the tournament,” said Nashua coach Tim Lunn with a smile. “Basically the motto is ‘Live to play another day,’ and we did that.”

The host team enjoyed an absolutely superb regular season in notching its 15-2 record and bagging the top seed in tough District B. Coach Lunn’s crew started out at a perfect 7-0, fell to Rochester at Holman on July 7, and then won eight of its final nine contests in capping off the regular campaign. The second loss was also delivered by Rochester – this time at Spaulding High School – on July 17.

Laconia had its ups and downs during the 2019 District A season.

Joe Dee’s crew wound up right at the .500 mark at 9-9 in claiming the fourth and final state tourney spot in that

district.

The Post 1 bunch started out at 3-0 and at one juncture boasted a 7-5 record and optimism about where it might finish in the tourney positioning race. But Laconia went 2-4 in its final six battles to wind up at .500.

During the first several innings of the tourney battle, pitchers Anderson of Nashua and Garrett Demas of Laconia lived somewhat dangerously, but neither allowed a run.

The visitors stranded five runners during their first three trips to the plate, including three in the third. But Laconia couldn’t manage to push a run across as Anderson struck out six.

The Gatorade High School Player of the Year and his offense left three runners stranded on bags during the first two innings but then collected a lead in the bottom of the third.

Anderson scored the first of them by sprinting home from third on an infield error, and Albert De La Rosa made it a 2-0 game when he jogged home from third on a sacrifice fly to right field by Zach Finkelstein. But Demas wriggled out of further trouble in forcing two more stranded runners.

The hosts had committed three errors by the end of the fourth inning, but Anderson had struck out seven would-be hitters in that time and Laconia had left six men stranded on bags by that point while tallying just one (infield) hit. So although Nashua’s lead looked tenuous, the visiting side was having very little success against Anderson despite some shaky defense behind him. He had also quite uncharacteristically hit two batters with pitches in the third.

Laconia’s first loud hit was a long double to left off of the bat of Devin Bedell in the top of the fifth. And Nashua skipper Lunn took Anderson out of the game one batter later when the lefty standout got within a ball of a walk to Taryn

Laramie.

“Our pitching plan didn’t exactly go to plan,” said Lunn. “I was hoping to keep Brett to 60 pitches so we could throw him again Monday, but I chose to leave him out there a bit longer. But when he hit 80 (pitches) that was it and I made the move.”

Henri Boudreau came on in relief and issued the free pass, but then got the next batter to ground out softly. Hence, Laconia’s runners-left-on total zoomed to eight with no runs scored.

The Gate City side put some padding on its lead in the latter half of the fifth when it scored one more time thanks to several bunt hits followed by the second Laconia error. The locals got two more men in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth but left both stranded, bringing their LOB total up to 11.

Boudreau was plenty solid in mopping up for Anderson on the hill, with Laconia ending up leaving nine runners on the bases with just the two hits they managed off of Anderson. Albert De La Rosa, who helped lead the Nashua Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Stars to a New England Championship in Rochester just hours earlier, matched Anderson with two hits of his own.