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Medlock helps pace Merrimack’s key win over Keene, 5-4

By Tom King - Staff Writer | May 23, 2024

Merrimack releiver Eliot Medlock gets congratulated by his teammates after he closed out the Tomahawks' 5-4 win over Keene on Wednesday in Merrimack. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

MERRIMACK – If you’re looking for a reason for the Merrimack High School baseball team’s big turnaround this spring from a horrible two-win season a year ago to 11-6, look no further than the seniors who were celebrated in their final regular season home game on Wednesday, a 5-4 win over Keene.

“It’s a different year,” Merrimack infielder Garron Brown said. “We’re more of a team this year. Coming from a 2-16 year last year, and being able to turn it around, and host home playoff game, it’s huge for us. … It’s pretty awesome, especially for us seniors.”

But Brown certainly mentioned that starter Evan Sousa and the first reliever, freshman Jayden Gallano, were big yesterday as well. Sousa checked the 11-6 Blackbirds on two runs on four hits, fanning seven, but he walked four over five-plus innings and plunked a ‘Bird. Two walks to lead off the sixth led to his exit, and Sawyer Lepple hit a bloop double just inside the left field line off Gallano to tighten a 5-2 Merrimack lead to 5-4. But Gallano got a fly out with the bases loaded to get out of the jam and preserve the lead.

“We couldn’t get that final ball to drop when we needed to,” Keene coach Ryan Boden said. “They’ve come a long way, they battled, they’re friends with our guys. It was friendly competition, I like that. We couldn’t get that finishing swing, something we’ve been working on.”

But fittingly on Senior Day a senior led the ‘Hawks, Eliot Medlock. After the ‘Birds had closed to within 3-2 in the fifth, he tripled in a run to make it 4-2 in the bottom half. And that was after he drove in another run with a single as part of Merrimack’s three-run fourth.

But Medlock didn’t stop there. He closed out the game in the ninth, issuing a one-out walk but struck out the side.

“That (triple) was a big hit,” Merrimack coach Mike Dudash said. “When you think about it, on Senior Night, Eliot came through, and not just offensively.”

Medlock, an every day shortstop, had arm woes last spring so the ‘Hawks didn’t pitch him this year, but decided to ease him into things a couple of weeks ago with the postseason approaching.

“A half inning before he went to warm up and said ‘I’ll let you know,'” Dudash said, and Medlock let the Blackbirds know instead, throwing hard.

Merrimack’s Eliot Medlock slides safely into second base before Keene’s Solis Bergquist can apply the tag during Wednesday’s key Division I game in Merriack. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

Merrimack also played small ball, as part of that three-run fourth was a safety squeeze bunt by Jackson Woods, while Sousa drove in a run with a base hit. In the fifth, Medlock scored on Zach Retey’s double off Keene starter Gavin Rigby, who gave up seven hits in six frames.

The ‘Hawks also got a break in the fifth when, after doubling in a run, Keene’s Zak Whitney got caught in no man’s land after a fly out to the outfield, and was doubled up to prevent further damage.

“Give credit to (Ben) Roberts in right field, he hit his cutoff and doubled him off,” Dudash said. “Little things like that will hurt you (as far as Keene goes).

“I’m just really happy, I think this win might get us a home game.”

But he also knows to probably make sure the ‘Hawks would like to also get a win in the season finale at Alvirne on Friday. That won’t be easy; the Broncos (6-12) beat Keene the other day and yesterday shocked Londonderry 7-5.

That will have to be yet another day for the seniors – and others.


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