Bedford rolls past Bishop Guertin in Division I baseball
NASHUA – The Bedford High School Bulldogs certainly dig the long ball. They probably like Bishop Guertin High School’s Elliott Field a lot too.
Bedford used a huge three-run homer by Spencer Pratt to overcome a 3-0 deficit and go on to an 8-3 Division I baseball preliminary-round win Thursday over the No. 8 Cardinals.
One bad pitch was all it really took to end Guertin’s season. After the Cards (11-10) had taken advantage of an errant throw by Bedford winning pitcher Grayson Jennings in the bottom of the second to grab a 3-0 lead, Pratt got a hold of a Jason Ferlan 3-1 offering for an opposite-field three-run pop over the short left field porch at Elliot in the top of the third.
It was a clutch at-bat. An error by Ferlan on a ball hit back to the mound allowed one run to score to make it 3-1. With two out, Ferlan didn’t get the benefit on a close pitch to the lefty hitting Pratt, who pounced on the next one for a 4-3 Bedford lead.
“I thought it was a strike,” Pratt said of the 2-1 pitch. “That could have changed the whole at bat and I got lucky. He (Ferlan) was throwing me outside the whole game, so I crowded the plate a little bit.”
“I knew it had enough off the bat,” Guertin coach Scott Painter said. “High fastball outside, the kid stuck his bat out and got it. It happens.”
“We haven’t had any (homers) all year so it’s a good time to save them for the playoffs,” Bedford coach Bill Chapman said. “We talked yesterday on how we needed a knockout punch. I think that was our knockout punch.”
Bedford (No. 9, 10-9) now awaits the winner of Friday’s rescheduled Dover-Merrimack prelim to see who it faces in the quarters on Saturday.
Clinging to that 4-3 lead, the Bulldogs plated five more in the top of the seventh to secure the win, the first run coming on a booming shot over the left-center fence off a 2-1 Ferlan pitch by Bedford’s Nick Angelini. A steal of home on a botched squeeze play, an error and a wild pitch produced three more Bulldog runs off reliever Quinn DiPasquale.
The Cards left 11 men on base, a problem all season, including the bases loaded in each of the last two innings. The sixth was tough to take with Bedford only up 4-3, as Jennings got BG’s Andrew Mierzwa to fly out in foul territory in right for the third out.
“Just quickly guessing I’d say we left another 15 on base again today,” Painter said. “We just couldn’t get a key hit all year. Pitching and defense was where we were at all year, and until the sixth inning, I thought we were right there. Make a couple of errors, one bad pitch, that’s what happens.”
It was an emotional game for the Cards, their first following the sudden passing of pitching coach Tom Bowles a week ago.
“The kids were amped up and ready to go,” Painter said. “Probably now they’ll look back, maybe it played a part and maybe it didn’t.”
Bedford will likely have to play the next round without DH A.J. Schiappa, who was tossed by home plate ump Mark Cherbonneau in the seventh for throwing his bat. Cherbonneau also tossed Guertin’s Shane Nowak and DiPasquale in the bottom of the seventh for complaining about balls and strikes, as well as a fan.