High schools: No. 6 Concord boys’ tennis fights, but falls, at No. 3 Pinkerton in playoffs

  • Concord’s Liam Grennon fights off a volley on Tuesday at Pinkerton Academy during a Division I boys’ tennis quarterfinal match. The No. 6 Crimson Tide fell to No. 3 Pinkteron, 6-3. STEVE NORTON / Courtesy

  • Concord’s Jon Shamash hits a forehand on Tuesday during a Division I boys’ tennis quarterfinal at Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Shamash won at No. 5 singles, 8-3, but the Crimson Tide lost as a team, 6-3. STEVE NORTON / Courtesy

  • Concord’s Anders Norton watches a backhand volley during Tuesday’s Division I boys’ tennis quarterfinal at Pinkerton Academy. Norton won his No. 2 singles match, 8-5, and was part of Concord’s 8-3 win at first doubles along with Liam Grennon. But Pinkerton claimed a 6-3 team win to advance to Thursday’s semifinal at No. 2 Hanover. STEVE NORTON / Courtesy

  • Concord senior Philip O’Sullivan hits a forehand on Tuesday during a Division I boys’ tennis quarterfinal at Pinkerton Academy. The No. 3 Astros beat the No. 6 Crimson Tide, 6-3. STEVE NORTON / Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 5/21/2019 10:40:08 PM

DERRY – Concord fought off some match points, pushed No. 3 Pinkerton past singles and raised the level play when Tuesday’s quarterfinal reached doubles. The No. 6 Crimson Tide gave the Astros much more of run than it did during the regular season, but it still wasn’t enough as Pinkerton claimed a 6-3 win on its home courts to advance to Thursday’s Division I boys’ tennis semifinals.

“I thought we competed well, I thought we came with a positive mindset and I thought we battled on every court,” Concord coach Dave Page said. “We just lost to a better team.”

When these two met in the regular season, the Tide (10-5) was missing its No. 3 and No. 4 singles players, and Pinkerton (13-2) won all six singles matches before doubles was rained out. This time around, Concord got singles wins from No. 2 Anders Norton and No. 5 Jon Shamash. The Astros still led, 4-2, after singles, but at least this time the Tide made sure doubles had to be played.

During the regular-season match against Pinkerton, Norton lost to John Marineau, 8-2. So the Concord junior changed his strategy this time around, abandoning his favored baseline game for a more attacking approach.

“The last time we played he absolutely killed me, so I switched things up and I came up to the net a little more, and that seemed to do the trick,” Norton said.

The strategy change kept things close early as the two traded leads and kept within one game of each other. But in the second half of the match, Norton’s constant attacking led to a four-game streak as he turned a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 win.

Shamash had to play No. 3 singles during the regular-season meeting with Pinkerton because of the players missing ahead of him on the ladder, but he was back at No. 5 on Tuesday and ran away with an 8-3 win against Alex Tveter. Shamash built an early 4-1 lead, Tveter made a late push and got it to 6-3, but the Concord senior finished things for an 8-3 win.

Pinkerton’s first two singles wins came from No. 1 Seb Tonini (8-2 win against Liam Grennon) and No. 4 Jeff Marquis (8-3 win against Matt Burns). With the match score tied, 2-2, it was looking like the Astros would roll to wins at No. 3 and No. 6 to take the 4-2 lead going into doubles, but the Tide made them earn it.

Pinkerton’s Henry Andrews had commanding leads of 6-1 and 7-2 at No. 3 singles, but Concord’s Winsor Bean dug in and won a pair of late games before falling, 8-4.

Andrews’s win gave Pinkerton a 3-2 lead and left the No. 6 singles match as the last one on the courts. Pinkerton’s Anthony Walters held a 6-2 lead in at No. 6 before Philip O’Sullivan fought back to win four of the next five games with the entire crowd watching. O’Sullivan had momentum and confidence, but Walters regained his consistency in the final game to pull out an 8-6 win.

“Winsor and Phil battled and extended their matches, and they could have gone either way,” Page said. “If we had gone to the doubles three-all, would it have been different? I don’t know. I think they outplayed us on two of the three doubles courts, too, and we pride ourselves on our doubles.”

That pride, and some pretty good doubles skills, gave the Tide belief heading into the last half of the match, despite the deficit.

“We’re better at doubles than we are at singles, as a team, so we thought there was still a chance, and coach was working us through it,” Norton said. “But I still thought we had to play excellent.”

That’s exactly what Norton and Grennon did at No. 1 doubles. After dropping the first game to Tonini and Marineau, the Concord team won the next four games on their way on to an 8-3 win.

“We definitely raised our game and hit a lot of good shots,” Norton said. “And after we took the lead they got down on themselves.”

Pinkerton’s second doubles team of Andrews and Marquis jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 4-1 against Concord’s Bean and Shamash. Like they did in singles, the Concord kids fought back, winning the next two games to make it a match. But the Astros took control from there, leaning on their big serves and winning all the critical points to claim an 8-3 win that sealed the team match.

Pinkerton’s Tveter and Robbie Morin finished out the scoring with an 8-5 win at third doubles against O’Sullivan and Burns.

“We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities in the regular season to get a higher seed, which would have given us a better draw, but I think even to be 10-4 and reach the playoffs wasn’t a given for this group of kids, so we can’t be disappointed in the season,” Page said. “The kids set a goal to be 10-4, so from that standpoint they succeeded, and we got better as the season went on and got a lot out of our abilities.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)

Boys’ Lacrosse

John Stark 12, Pembroke 7

Key players: John Stark – Cam Fortin (5 G), Peyton Marden (2 G, 3 A), Kayden Easter (2 G), Brandon Destefano (G, A), Owen Jones (G), Logan Beliveau (G)

Highlights: The Generals continued their late-season surge with a third straight victory and have now won four of their last five heading down the final stretch.

Coach’s quote: “It took us awhile to adapt to their zone, but we eventually found our spots and shots.” – John Stark’s Howie Roever

Records: John Stark 7-5; Pembroke 1-12

Hopkinton 13, Laconia 7

Key players: Hopkinton – Corey Breault (3 G, 2 A, 7 GB), Colby Quiet (3 G, 2 A, 14 GBs, 7 faceoff wins), Paul Molnar (3 G, A, 15 GB, 8 faceoff wins), Allan Faulkner (3 G), Ryan Hughes (defense), Steven Newton-Delgado (defense), Benny Madden (9 saves); Laconia — Jakob Steel (4 G),Cole Reed (2 G), Ryan Chiasson (G),Garrett Whitney (defense)

Highlights: It was a very tight game all the way with the score tied 2-2 after one quarter and Hopkinton holding a narrow 5-3 lead at half. Both teams exhibited solid defense and goaltending throughout. The Hawks were able to take advantage of fast breaks and broken situations to come away with a win in a rematch of last year’s Division III final.

Coach’s quote: “We did a good job of not only keeping our composure and sticking to the game plan, but also adapting to what we saw on the field. Laconia played a great game and we had to respond in kind. Our faceoff and groundball play proved key. We were also able to stay out of the penalty box more than them, which helped us create some nice extra-man scoring opportunities.” – Hopkinton’s Deacon Blue

Records: Hopkinton 12-1; Laconia 9-4


Bow 4, Milford 1 (9 inn.)

Key players: Bow – Ben Harris (5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 K, 3 BB), Matt Lamy (1 IP, W, 0 H), Connor Blandini (double, triple, run, RBI), Steven Guerrette (2 hits, RBI)

Highlights: Stuck in a 1-1 tie after eight inning, the Falcons plated three runs in the top of the ninth to steal a game on the road. After the first two batters of the ninth failed to reach base, Blandini blasted a triple and scored on an RBI single from Matt Hamilton to put Bow on top. Milford allowed two more runs to score on two walks and two base hits. Harris went the first five for Bow and Lamy tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to finish off Milford.

Records: Bow 13-2; Milford 4-11

Lebanon 6, John Stark 0

Key players: John Stark – Nathan Isabelle (hit), Carter Pike (hit), Jake Cole (hit, SB)

Highlights: Lebanon scored in each of the first four innings while Stark’s bats were ice cold.

Coach’s quote: “Tough day for us today. Our guys were definitely frustrated, but we need to refocus and get it going again Friday.” – Stark’s Dennis Pelletier

Records: Lebanon 8-6; John Stark 13-2

Hopkinton 11, Winnisquam 0

Key players: Hopkinton – Sam Rawson (no-hitter, 2 BB, 3 K), Larsen Burack (4-for-4, 3 RBI), Caleb Yianakopolos (2 hits), Colby Marshall (2 RBI)

Highlights: Marshall got the Hawks on the board with a two-run single in the top of the first. The Hawks added two runs in the second, one in the third, three in the fourth and three more in the fifth. Rawson was lights-out throwing the no-hitter and pounding the strike zone. Defensively, the Hawks played clean baseball.

Coach’s quote: “Hawks showed up and put the pressure on the Bears with aggressive play and a great performance on the mound from Rawson.” – Hopkinton’s Dave Chase

Records: Hopkinton 12-3; Winnisquam 6-9

Pittsfield 3, Newmarket 2

Key players: Pittsfield – Gavin Bedell (6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB), Jesse McGlashing (2 hits, RBI), DJ Zensky (2 hits)

Highlights: Pittsfield plated three in top of the first and held on the rest of the way for the one-run victory. Freshman Gavin Bedell got the win going, limiting Newmarket’s hitters over six innings of work.

Coach’s quote: “We asked Gavin to try to keep us in the game and he went out there and threw a gem for us against a really good Newmarket team. Gavin mixed his pitches so well tonight. I’m very proud of this young man picking his team up when our pitching is depleted. ” – Pittsfield’s Rob Stockman

Records: Pittsfield 15-1; Newmarket 12-2


John Stark 5, Souhegan 4

Key players: John Stark – Izzy Nelson (16 K, 1BB; 2-run HR), Lilli Stogner (double, triple, run)

Highlights: On Monday, Elizabeth Aubin hit a two-out single to drive in a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to put Stark on top for good. Brooke Patnode made a great catch just in front of the fence to record the final out in the seventh and secure the win. The Generals also claimed a 12-0 win on Tuesday against Lebanon (0-13). Tyler Descoteau got the pitching win in that one, striking out five and allowing just one hit, and Alana Sevigny scored a pair of runs for Stark.

Records: John Stark 11-3; Souhegan 10-4

Campbell 3, Bishop Brady 2

Key players: Bishop Brady – Jess Beeso (RBI, single, triple), Halle Laramie (2 hits, run; 3 ⅔ IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 0 BB), Jayden Johnson (RBI, double, run; 2 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB), Ami Rivera (hit), Isabella Rivera (defense)

Highlights: Brady opened up the game with two quick runs on singles by Ami Rivera and Laramie, followed by an RBI double by Johnson and a run-scoring single off the bat of Beeso. Campbell came back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth when Brady’s defense collapsed with two errors allowing all three runs to score unearned.

Coach’s quote: “We had all the momentum, out-hit them and controlled most of the game, but we can’t give a team like Campbell an edge. Campbell capitalized on our mental mistakes and errors on the field. I’ll take full responsibility for one error because I called for the infield in and a hard hit ball got through. Regardless, a strong team like Campbell will take full advantage of our mistakes.” – Brady’s Freddy Rivera

Records: Campbell 12–1; Bishop Brady 11-3

Hopkinton 13, Winnisquam 4

Key players: Hopkinton – Megan Blanchette (Win; 3-for-4, 3 runs, RBI), Kally Murdough (3 hits, run, double), Julia Baer (2 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBI), Katie Meserve (2 hits, double, 2 runs, 2 RBI); Winnisquam – Carly Catty (4-for-4), Hannah Max (2-for-3, double, walk), Chloe Colarusso (4-for-4)

Highlights: The Hawks broke open a 5-4 game with four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Seven Hopkinton batters had hits and the team played some solid defense in support of Blanchette in the circle.

Coach’s quote: “Nice to see contributions from so many players today. A real team win.” – Hopkinton’s Dan Meserve

“Playing half of our a games in less than two weeks (eight games in 10 days), I was pleased with our team effort ...We had a couple of chances and just could not get that big hit in the later innings.” – Winnisquam’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Hopkinton 12-3; Winnisquam 7-7

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