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High Schools: Concord baseball team beat Spaulding in resumption of suspended game

CONCORD – It was certainly an ordeal for the Concord High baseball team. Ten innings, much of it played in what ranged from a soft drizzle to an unrelenting downpour, stretched over two afternoons.

And according to Coach Scott Owen, it was worth every second, especially when Ben Bengtson’s single in the bottom of the 10th settled in the Memorial Field outfield to score Nate Strozewski and give the Crimson Tide (11-6) a confidence-boosting 5-4 win over Spaulding (10-7) yesterday.

“Absolutely (worth it). We had a few opportunities last night to finish it off and we didn’t,” Owen said. “To come back and get one in the 10th was huge.”

Bengtson’s heroics at the plate made him a winner on the mound as well, as he pitched the final two innings in relief, getting back-to-back strikeouts to strand a runner at second in the top of the 10th and set up the winning rally for a Crimson Tide team that had lost its last two games.

“We came ready to play today, and we’ve had trouble in the middle of the season coming ready to play,” he said. “It is tough, but I think we battled and grinded it out. We made it worthwhile.”

The 10th-inning rally was the biggest of the afternoon, but not the biggest of the game, which was suspended in the top of the ninth on Wednesday. Concord staved off defeat when it countered a three-run top of the sixth for Spaulding with a three-run bottom half, getting consecutive hits from the bottom of the lineup to spark the comeback. With the Tide trailing 4-1, Nate Mullen drew a one-out walk, and Seimou Smith tripled into the right-field corner to bring in pinch runner Cam Alosa and trim the gap to two.

Strozewski then singled to left over the drawn-in infield to score Smith, and No. 9 hitter Jon Dunn put runners at the corners with a single to right. That gave leadoff hitter Bengtson his first chance to come through with the game on the line, and the junior did just that with a single up the middle to score Strozewski and tie the game.

It was the sort of rally Concord had trademarked with the late-inning comebacks and extra-inning wins that filled its 6-0 start, but had not been able to manage during the ensuing 4-6 swoon – leaving its coach to wonder if the team still had the capability.

“Early on in the year, we had a lot of resolve. And I thought we had lost a little bit of that,” Owen said. “Right before that inning, we talked a little bit about ‘Where is that team that never felt like they were out of a game?’ I didn’t really feel like we could pull it off. I didn’t feel like we had that vibe.”

Spaulding put runners on in each inning afterward, but the Tide held off the Red Raiders until it had the chance at the win. Again, the bottom half of the lineup came through, with Strozewski picking up a one-out single and Dunn bunting him to second, and again Bengtson came through in the big spot with the single to the left-field gap.

“I got an inside pitch and I took it to where it needed to be,” Bengtson said. “That’s all I was thinking.”

Owen said the production from the bottom of the lineup was made more impressive by the clutch timing.

“That’s who we are offensively. We need to hit 1 through 9,” he said. “Not 3-for-4 – we need to get hits when we need them. We talk a lot about 2-for-4, and you’re 0-for-2 with the guys in scoring position isn’t really good. You’re 1-for-4 with the guys in scoring position is good.”

Concord fell behind 1-0 in the third, but responded in the bottom half when Alex Bashios singled in Dunn, who had reached on an error.

Josh Partridge got the start for Concord and went eight innings, striking out 12 and allowing three earned runs. He left around the time Wednesday that the rain picked up and started to soak the field, leaving puddles in the infield and eventually forcing a halt to the game in the ninth.

That forced Concord to resume a game for the second time this week, and only the second time in Owen’s 13-year coaching career. This time, as opposed to when it limped away with an 11-1 loss to Timberlane, the Crimson Tide was ready to finish it off.

“On Tuesday, we played Timberlane, we didn’t come ready to play,” Bengtson said. “Same situation, fourth inning, we’re down by a lot of runs, and we didn’t come ready to play. I think we needed to (bounce back) from that to this, and we did and we stepped it up and we showed we could do that.”

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com, or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

BASEBALL

Pittsfield 11,
Portsmouth Christian 0

Kris Perkins tossed a no-hitter while striking out nine and walking only two as the Panthers (13-3) won in five innings. It was Pittsfield’s eighth shutout of the season, and Perkins extended his scoreless-innings streak to 27.

Jed Eastman led Pittsfield’s offense, going 3-for-3 with two RBI. Wesley Ward went 1-for-2 with home run, and Brandon Smith went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI.

Portsmouth Christian finishes 6-12.

Stevens 3,
Hillsboro-Deering 0

Robert Armstrong pitched a complete game for the Hillcats, allowing only two earned runs on four hits while striking out nine, but the H-D offense wasn’t able to tally any hits of its own. The Hillcats finish the season 3-14, while Stevens improved to 10-5.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Kearsarge 8,
Kingswood 3

In a defensive struggle through heavy rain and muddy conditions, the Cougars prevailed to finish the regular season undefeated at 13-0.

Libby Brooks (three goals, one assist) and Anna Stowell (two goals, one assist) led the way offensively for Kearsarge. Haley Brook and Gemma Bready each tallied one goal and one assist, while Lianna Blakeman added one goal. Morgan Galluzzo was superb in net, recording 15 saves.

Kate Scheuch, Christie Ross and Kaileigh Davis anchored the defensive effort.

Kingswood finishes the season at 9-5.

John Stark 11,
Con-Val 5

The Generals held a narrow 5-4 lead at halftime but pulled away in the second half to record the convincing win.

Casey Poirier (three goals, one assist) and Giana Pezzulo (two goals, three assists) led the way for John Stark (7-7). Samantha Valcourt and Danielle Galli each tallied two goals and one assist, while Kathleen Medvetz added one goal and Halley Rogers chipped in one assist. Clarissa Foote picked up the win in net, while Hailey Nase, Mikayla Cusson and Becky Beaulieu anchored the defensive effort.

Con-Val finishes the season 2-12.

Pembroke 16,
Merrimack Valley 11

Pembroke (4-10) won its regular-season finale to earn a spot in the state tournament. Nathalee Clarke played outstanding in goal with 19 saves. Alex Byrne also played well for the Spartan defense. The offense was led by Keerstyn Allen (six goals), Brianna Douglas (four goals), Madison Cote (three goals), Devon Cassidy (two goals), and Vanessa Lacey (one goal).

MV (2-12) got goals from Karra Hebert, Hannah John, Lilly Davis and Rebekah Stearns (five assists). Sydney Rollins (assist) was strong offensively, and Danielle Wiley was strong on draw controls. Emily Davis, Melissa Gifford and Alex Puntin were all recognized for senior night.

SOFTBALL

Pembroke 8, Plymouth 1

Ashley Henshaw got the win in the circle for the Spartans (8-9), going five innings and giving up only two hits and one run while striking out three. Hannah Seidner pitched the final two innings, giving up one hit and no runs with three strikeouts.

Pembroke jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning on hits by Seidner, Katherine Arvanitis and Madison Pellerin. The Spartans then added two more in the third and four in the seventh. Pellerin finished the day 3-for-4 with two singles and a standup triple. Seidner and Arvanitis each went 2-for-4, and Melissa Gerrish had a RBI. Amanda Clement got on base four times, while Sarah Swanson was solid behind the plate.

Plymouth finishes the season 5-11.

Stevens 8,
Hillsboro-Deering 2

Stevens (11-4) scored all of its runs in the first two innings, and the Hillcats (2-15) couldn’t answer from the plate.

Erin Delacey (2-for-5), Brittany Perez (2-for-2) and Kymberlee Bergstresser (1-for-2) led H-D offensively. Maggie Girard pitched five innings of scoreless relief, allowing only three hits.

BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL

Londonderry 3,
John Stark 0

John Stark (9-4) lost a tough match against Londonderry, falling 28-26, 25-13 and 25-13.

Top performers for the Generals were Simon Becka (one ace, one kill, eight assists), Ryan Compagna (five kills), Zach Grattan (four kills, three stuffs), Serge Boucher (one kill, one block, six assists), Brandon Dugay (one kill, seven digs), Carson Dunn with (four kills, two stuffs) Ryan Sandmann (two digs, two assists) and Ian Franco (four digs).

Londonderry improved to 12-2.

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