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Bashios’s bat, Partridge’s arm lead Crimson Tide past Pioneers in first round

CONCORD – When the Concord High baseball team pursued, and ultimately claimed, its first Division I championship in 32 years last June, Alex Bashios was in the middle of the fray, a starter at second base and a key cog of the Crimson Tide machine. Josh Partridge, meanwhile, watched from the dugout, an emergency option but, for the most part, an ingredient for Concord’s future.

That wasn’t the case yesterday. In the Tide’s first game of its quest for a repeat, both players were in front-and-center starring roles. And both played up to the moment.

Bashios went 4-for-4 to spur the Concord offense, Partridge cruised through all seven innings and the second-seeded Crimson Tide started the playoffs in style, beating No. 15 Trinity and ace Carmen Giampetruzzi, 4-2, in the first round of the Division I tournament.

“Great first-round game. You’re looking at the draws, and I see we draw Trinity, that’s a tough one for the pitching,” Concord Coach Scott Owen said. “We knew it was going to be a tight game, and we were able to make a few more plays than they did.”

Concord (13-6) also had a major asset in Partridge, who had been the Tide’s ace all season but was making his first tournament start. The junior left-hander started off his postseason career on a roll, striking out eight in seven innings and allowing seven hits.

“I just wanted to get ahead and stay low,” said Partridge, who beat the Pioneers (6-13) in the season opener. “The two-seam and curveball were working really well today. … After the fifth inning, I felt like I was throwing a lot better. I pretty much settled in after the fifth.”

“You can talk all you want about being prepared for a playoff game. But it’s a different ballgame,” Owen said. “It just is, and I thought he handled it incredibly well and just did a great job for us.”

When Partridge needed runs, the Tide, led by its first baseman, began to supply them. Bashios was a nightmare for Giampetruzzi, getting his second single in the third and scoring Concord’s first run on Braden Smith’s squeeze bunt single. The Tide scored later in the inning when Cody Ferns came home on Mitch Hayes’s sacrifice fly, and in the fourth, after Jon Dunn singled with one out, Bashios made it 3-0 with his third straight single, a line drive to left.

When the Tide needed insurance in the sixth, it knew where to look. Ben Bengtson led off the inning with a single up the middle, and Bashios drilled the first pitch he saw from Giampetruzzi into the left-field corner for a double that brought in Bengtson for the fourth and final Concord run of the game.

It was a return to form for Bashios, who entered the game hitting .246, and he said facing a pitcher that he had success against, going 2-for-4 in the season opener, boosted his confidence.

“I tried to bring that into this game, on top of that with playoff intensity, and I just put it all together today,” he said. “Great job by the whole team.”

“He’s hit in the two hole for us all year, and I’d say he’s been streaky,” Owen said. “But he did a great job today. Came up big in big situations.”

Trinity got its only runs with two outs in the seventh when Alex Currier hit a two-run home run over the fence in right-center field, but it wasn’t the Pioneers’ only chance of the game. Trinity seemed poised to grab the lead in the second when Aiden White singled to left with runners at first and second, but Hayes’s throw from left field was in time to catch Ryan Slatki at the plate. An inning later, Trinity got runners on second and third but had another rally extinguished when Partridge picked off Colby Fortin at second base.

The plays allowed Concord to go into the dugout still tied 0-0, but fueled by its escapes, the Tide didn’t keep it that way for long.

“When you make plays to keep runs off the board ... those are huge,” Owen said. “It kept us tied, then we went up a little bit, then we were able to push ahead some more.”


No. 3 Pembroke 3,
No. 14 Manchester West 1

Pembroke (14-4) got a strong outing from Autrey Gates, who went the distance and allowed no earned runs and only four hits while striking out eight.

Offensively, the Spartans were led by Mike Martinez, who was 1-for-1 with a stolen base, two walks and one RBI. Chris Gauss chipped in with a sacrifice fly and two walks, while Jerry Caruso contributed the other Spartan RBI.

No. 1 Goffstown 5,
No. 16 Coe-Brown 2

The Bears (5-12) held a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, but a five-run rally gave Goffstown (18-1) a lead that would ultimately be enough to avoid the upset.

Coe-Brown pitcher Brennan Riley was superb through 5 1∕3 innings, allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out two and walking four to that point. However, fatigue took hold in the sixth inning, and Coach James Johnson made the mistake of leaving Riley in the game too long.

“I pulled a Grady Little,” Johnson said, referencing the infamous decision by the former Red Sox manager not to pull Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

Riley also led the Bears offensively, with two hits, an RBI and a run scored. McCormick Struthers added two hits for Coe-Brown.

No. 10 Souhegan 3,
No. 7 Merrimack Valley 1

The Sabers (9-8) held the Pride (11-6) to three hits and generated enough offense of their own to advance to the second round.

David Drouin pitched a complete game for the Pride, allowing six hits while striking out six. Andrew Pike recorded a double, and Charlie Wright drove in MV’s lone run.


No. 14 Pelham 5, No. 3 Bow 3

The Falcons (13-4) outhit Pelham, 7-5, but they committed five errors that led to three unearned runs, and the Pythons (10-8) were able to pull off the upset.

Nate Corriveau threw 5 1∕3 innings for Bow, allowing four hits while striking out five. Sam Morrow pitched the remainder of the sixth inning and Sebastian Strong took the mound for the seventh. Offensively, the Falcons were led by Corriveau (2-for-4, triple) and Hunter Berke (2-for-3).

No. 8 Winnisquam 5,
No. 9 Farmington 2

The Bears (12-5) had nothing going offensively for five innings, but had the small ball working during a five-run sixth that propelled them into the second round of the tournament.

Kevin Radcliffe, the ace for the Tigers (11-7), held Winnisquam hitless for five innings, but the Bears rallied back while hardly ever leaving the infield. After Greg Hunt walked, Tucker Normand reached on an error and Parker Normand was intentionally walked. Dom DeBlasie reached on an infield single off the second baseman’s glove that scored Hunt and Tucker Normand. Parker Normand and DeBlasie moved up on a wild pitch, Caleb Hutchins was intentionally walked and John Montalto’s suicide squeeze bounced in between the pitcher’s mound and third base, allowing Normand to score the go-ahead run and Montalto to reach safely.

Curtis Archibald brought in DeBlasie for the fourth run with a groundout to second, and Jack DeCormier had the third hit of the inning on a swinging bunt up the third base line that scored Hutchins.

Austin Hunt got the win on the mound, going all seven innings while striking out six, walking four and allowing six hits. He was helped out by excellent defense from Hutchins, who recorded seven assists at third base.

No. 7 Somersworth 3,
No. 10 Hopkinton 2

Three Hilltoppers runs, two of them unearned, in the first put the Hawks in a hole early, and the defending champions weren’t able to rally before seeing their season end in the first round with their fifth one-run loss of the year.

Hopkinton chipped away with runs in the second and fifth. The Hawks (10-7) got an RBI groundout from Evan O’Keeffe that scored Jake Nelson for the first run, and then made it 3-2 when O’Keeffe reached on an error and pinch-runner Kevin Smith advanced on a sacrifice bunt and groundout and scored on Steve Auger’s double. Hopkinton got runners on in the sixth and seventh, but wasn’t able to come through with the tying run.

Collin Paraskeva got the start and went four innings, allowing one earned run while striking out two, walking one and giving up four hits, three of which came in the first. Liam McNicholas relieved and pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit.


No. 3 Pittsfield 6,
No. 14 Portsmouth Christian 2

Pittsfield (14-3) trailed briefly in its first-round matchup against the Eagles (6-13) but scored a run each in the third through fifth innings before breaking the game open with a three-run sixth.

Starter Chris Farr went 4 2∕3 innings of two-hit ball, giving up two unearned runs on two walks and three strikeouts. Kris Perkins came in to relieve Farr and continued the solid pitching, going the final 2 1∕3 innings and only allowing one walk while striking out six batters.

From the plate, Max Tuttle (2-for-4), Branden Smith (2-for-3) and Perkins (2-for-3) starred for the Panthers, while Tuttle also made a couple of great plays at third base.


No. 2 Bishop Guertin 15,
No. 7 Concord 3

The Crimson Tide (7-1) saw its season end in the quarterfinals as the Cardinals (15-4) dominated. No details were reported.


No. 4 Bow 10, No. 5 Portsmouth 9

The Falcons (11-4) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after the first quarter and held a 6-2 at halftime. Leading 9-4 in the fourth quarter, they saw Portsmouth (10-6) go on a 5-0 run to tie the game, but Devin Calkins netted the game-winner for Bow with about 20 seconds left, lifting them in their quarterfinal-round game.

Travis Beauchain had 10 saves and played a great game in goal for the Falcons, while Derrick Labranche, Charley Reagan, Tucker Johnson and Alex Reitze all played well defensively.

Calkins led the offense, tallying three goals and dishing out four assists. Dan Crisman and Dylan LaBranche each had two goals and one assist, Mike Fanaras added two goals, and Matt Sanford chipped in one goal and one assist.


No. 2 Hopkinton 12,
No. 7 Kearsarge 3

Strong defense led by James McCluskey and Nate Hunt, and solid goaltending by Matt French (12 saves) kept Kearsarge (10-7) scoreless through the first half, and the Hawks (16-0) maintained the advantage throughout the game to advance to the semifinals.

Austin Cowan led Hopkinton offensively with three goals, while Henry Merrow tallied two goals and four assists. Bennett Mosseau scored two goals and added one assist, Doug Fleury scored two goals, and Bowman Ridinger chipped in one goal. Ned Metcalf (two goals) dominated faceoffs, winning 10 while only losing one.


No. 1 Coe-Brown 3,
No. 16 Plymouth 1

The Bears (15-2) navigated a tricky first-round game and got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to move on to the next round.

Coe-Brown had trouble early on with the Plymouth (5-12) starting pitcher, whose slow tosses caught the Bears off guard before the bats woke up in the fourth and fifth innings. Amanda Riley (3-for-3, RBI) got things going with a triple and scored on Kianna Daudelin’s sacrifice to tie the game at 1.

After Lacey Locke and Emily Therrien led off the fifth with base hits, Lauren Jones (double) and Riley (single) drove them in with hits to give Coe-Brown the lead for good.

Daudelin pitched the complete game, giving up nine hits and a run with a walk and six strikeouts. Right fielder Sarah Harris played an important role in the bottom of the seventh, making the game-ending catch with the bases loaded to allow Coe-Brown to escape.

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