Miscues on basepaths cost Nashua Senior Legion team
WORCESTER, Mass. – One bad pitch, two bad base running decisions.
Those all cost the Nashua Post 124 Senior American Legion team Wednesday in a frustrating 1-0 Northeast Regional tourney loss at the hands of Lawrence (Mass.) Post 15.
“Our biggest Achilles heel has been lack of baserunning IQ throughout the year,” Nashua manager Tim Lunn said. “That came back to bite us both times.”
And the second time was for the game-ending third out in the bottom of the seventh, Brett Anderson caught in a rundown between third and home after Noah Therrien missed on a bunt attempt.
As a result, Nashua will take on Stamford, Conn.this morning at about 11 a.m., weather permitting, at Holy Cross’s Fitton Field in a loser’s bracket game, needing to win to stay in the tourney.
The game was originally slated for 9:30, but last night’s final first day game between host Shrewsbury, Mass.and Hampden, Me.was suspended by rain and will resume today at 9 a.m.
Nashua was threatening with runners at second and third with no one out in the ninth vs. Lawrence reliever Jairo Vasquez. But two strikeouts later, Anderson was caught.
“It wasn’t a squeeze play,” Lunn said. “(Therrien) was bunting for a hit, and we just started running for whatever reason and got caught. We almost beat the kid, but it’s a tough way to lose.”
The pitch: an Anderson 2-1 offering to Lawrence’s Anibal Pena, and Pena sent it over the wall in left field for a solo shot in the fifth. The irony is Anderson, who tossed six innings, allowing just three hits while striking out six, walking four, had retired the first two hitters on three pitches.
“Our bats were hitting the ball but they weren’t falling,” Lawrence manager Julio Ramos said. “AB has been hitting the ball well in the state tournament, he got a good piece on it and took it out.”
It ruined an otherwise great start by Anderson.
“He threw a great game,” Lunn said. “It came down to that one pitch. And even then, going into that at-bat, we were trying to relay we wanted fastballs to start and work way ahead. But we fell behind in the count, rather than after two straight fly outs attack that kid and get ahead.”
The first bad decision: With runners on second and third and one out for Nashua in the bottom of the second, Nashua’s Trevor Kelly lofted what looked like a sac fly to center. Will Brooks crossed the plate standing up, but not before Nik DiRenzo was thrown out by Lawrence’s John Batista standing up trying to take third on the play for the third out of the inning.
“That was a great throw by John Batista,” Ramos said.
The kid made a heady play throwing to third,” Lunn said, “but still we’ve got to recognize. … You know, that’s game experience and knowing the situation. Normally I like the aggressiveness, but a ball right at the kid we’ve got to be careful, especially early in the game.”
Nashua managed just two hits off Lawrence starter Miguel Matos – an Anderson single in the first and a DiRenzo double in that bottom of the second.
But Matos, who walked one and struck out six, plunked Anderson leading off the bottom half of the seventh.
Enter reliever Vasquez, who walked Zach Finkelstein and then tossed a wild pitch to put runners at second and third with no one out for the second time in game for Post 124. But Vasquez struck out Will Brooks and DiRenzo before Therrien came to the plate.
And it ended up that both times with second-third none out, Nashua came up empty.
“If we execute and we lose, so be it,” Lunn said. “Tip your cap. But the fact we didn’t execute, that’s what hurts.”