Concord Northeast U11 All-Stars fall, 14-13, in West Area final; state tourney on deck

  • Concord's Tommy Weaver swings for a pitch during a Cal Ripken League 11-year-old West Area Tournament game on Friday, June 28, 2019, in Merrimack. Jason Orfao—Monitor staff

  • Concord catcher Isaac Vaillancourt reaches for a throw to home plate while a Nashua runner scores on during a Cal Ripken League 11-year-old West Area Tournament game on Friday, June 28, 2019, in Merrimack. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord's Owen Thornton delivers a pitch during a Cal Ripken League 11-year-old West Area Tournament game on Friday, June 28, 2019, in Merrimack. Jason Orfao—

  • Concord's Charlie Bolnick prepares to unload a pitch during a Cal Ripken League 11-year-old West Area Tournament game on Friday, June 28, 2019, in Merrimack. Jason Orfao—Monitor staff

  • Concord manager Jason Ammann (center) speaks to his players during a Cal Ripken League 11-year-old West Area Tournament game on Friday, June 28, 2019, in Merrimack. Jason Orfao—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/28/2019 10:52:54 PM

The Concord Northeast U11 All-Stars were down four runs in the third, but like true all-stars do, they kept their composure.

The result was a nine-run fourth inning, putting Concord back on top, but it wasn’t enough as the locals fell, 14-13, to Nashua in the championship game of the Cal Ripken 11-year-old West Area Tournament.

Despite the loss, Concord will play in next weekend’s State Tournament at Swanzey thanks to a top-three finish in the five-day tournament held in Merrimack.

The U11 All-Stars, comprised of 11 players from three Concord Northeast and two Hopkinton teams, lost to Keene, 11-6, in the opening game, but picked up victories over Kearsarge Valley, 9-7, Swanzey, 5-3, and Hudson, 8-5, to advance to the championship.

“As the week went on we developed a lot more confidence,” Concord manager Jason Ammann said. “They really elevated their play.”

So when Concord trailed 6-2 through three, nobody panicked.

“I told them we were down 5-0 (in an earlier tournament game),” Ammann said. “We tied that game and won it. Trailing 6-2 is not as much as we were down (before). Just stay focused each at-bat. We kept our composure, one batter at a time. Not worrying about the score, just one batter at a time.”

Ammann’s son Bronson (three home runs and seven RBI in a two-game stretch in the tourney) led off the inning with a single and a combination of three more singles, four walks and an error allowed Concord to go up 11-6 in the top of the fourth.

Tommy Weaver had an especially key two-out single to drive in a pair of runs and keep the rally going.

“This game was a little more small-ball than some of our other games,” assistant coach Matt Masur said. “The bats were the soul of the team. Some were doing big power hits, some kids were doing it one single at a time, but everyone contributed in each game in some fashion.”

Besides Ammann, Weaver (four hits against Keene) and Isaac Vaillancourt were the main contributors at the plate throughout the tournament, while Owen Thornton and Ryan Stephenson were excellent contributors on the mound several times throughout the tourney.

Nashua came back to score two runs in the bottom of the fourth and six in the bottom of the fifth to go up 14-11, forcing Concord to score at least three runs in the top of the sixth.

Concord fell just short, plating two runs and stranding the tying run on third, but took plenty of positives away from the West Area Tournament run.

“A lot of guys contributing, a lot of hustle,” Ammann said. “Little things like beating the throw to first. We only got thrown out once stealing the whole tournament. Making (our opponents) work for every play.”

Tad Stokes, Charlie Bolnick, Tyler Miller, Cole Hatton, Patrick Martin and Bernie Masur are the other members of Concord Northeast’s U11 All-Star team who were featured in Friday’s lineup.

Concord, champion Nashua, third-place Hudson and host Swanzey advance out of the West Area Tournament to the State Tournament starting July 6 in Swanzey.

The tournament will be an eight-team, double-elimination format.




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