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Nashua falls, but looks ahead to Junior Legion baseball regionals

Photo by ANDREW SYLVIA Nashua Post 124 batter Ethan Smith for Nashua takes a cut during Wednesday's Junior American Legion state tournament game in Salem.

SALEM – Following a season of dominance, the Nashua Post 124 Junior American Legion team ended their state tournament run that was anything but dominant.

Their chance at the 2019 New Hampshire Junior American Legion Baseball Championship was dashed at the hands of Dover Post 8, losing 8-0.

Dover and Nashua (19-2) both advance to the Junior regional in Concord, which starts Friday at Memorial Field.

Post 124 will take on the New York state champion Rockland Post 130 at 3:30 Friday

afternoon.

Post 8 opens at 6 p.m. against the Rhode Island champs from Cranston.

Dover took its first run off a first-inning single by pitcher Alex Noel, making up for a pair of walks he allowed to Nashua batters in the top of the inning.

Noel led the second by allowing another pair of walks to Isaac Zhang and Zachary Rioux, with a sacrifice grounder by Derek Finlay putting the pair into scoring position.

With Brandon Metivier at the plate, a missed sign for a

suicide squeeze transformed into a pickle between third and home, with Zhang out at the plate.

Hall followed that out by striking out Metivier, ending any hope of Nashua momentum.

Christopher Keefe’s double in the third was the only thing standing between Hall and a no-hitter, with only pitch limitations keeping him just one out away from a complete game victory.

“I’m not really disappointed (in not finishing the game), a pitch limit is a pitch limit,” said Noel.

Noel’s commanding performance was buoyed by a strong offensive outing by his

teammates. Jake Smith’s triple in the third came just inches from going over the right field fence. That triple brought three runners home and Smith would come home as well on the next at-bat.

Noel grabbed his second RBI of the contest with a bases loaded sacrifice fly in the fourth, bringing David Picou home. Jackson McCoy drove in Picou again with a double in the eighth, and Will McGregor’s single let Smith’s seventh-inning double transform into Dover’s final run.

In addition to their RBI, Noel and McGregor each added non-RBI hits to join Smith with two hits while Picou went 3-for-5 with a stolen base.

Nashua’s loss marks their second to Dover during the tournament, with neither team meeting each other during the regular season.

Following earlier tournaments in the year, Nashua Head Coach Jeff Lunn knew that his squad’s undefeated regular season record might not matter against talented teams they might find here.

“We kind of came up flat in those games,” said Lunn. “I told them it was a wakeup call for Dover and Hudson, they’ve got varsity guys with varsity innings. I think it was a little lost in

translation a bit.”

Lunn was discouraged, but pleased with his team’s overall performance as well as an upcoming chance in the Northeast Junior Regional American Legion Baseball Tournament at Memorial Field in Concord, marking the first time in Lunn’s three years as coach playing at the regional level.

“I’m excited, I’m ready to compete,” he said. “It will be fun to compete against higher competition (like Dover), and I hope my guys are ready to buckle down and give some good baseball.”