Pittsfield falls short to Newmarket in D-IV baseball semifinals

  • Newmarket’s Nick Berthiaume tags out Pittsfield’s Kegan Vincent for the final out to secure the Mules’ victory over the No. 1 Panthers on Wednesday night in Laconia. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • It was a beautiful night for baseball in Laconia. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Newmarket’s Nathan Goodman pitches to a Pittsfield batter. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Pittsfield and Newmarket battle in the Division IV baseball semifinals on Wednesday. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • After making a great diving stop off first base, Pittsfield’s Kegan Vincent flips the ball to his teammate Deven Bedell for the out. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Pittsfield and Newmarket compete in the Division IV baseball semifinals on Wednesday in Laconia. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Pittsfield’s Casey Clark makes the play at short and throws to first. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Newmarket celebrates following its victory over Pittsfield in the Division IV baseball semifinals on Wednesday in Laconia. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

Portsmouth Herald
Published: 6/7/2018 1:03:27 AM

LACONIA – With the game in the balance, there was no question Josh Mastin’s mind what he was going to do if the ball was hit to him.

The Newmarket High School second baseman was going for the win.

Fourth-seeded Newmarket was nursing a 5-4 lead against No. 1 Pittsfield in the bottom of the seventh inning during Wednesday night’s Division IV semifinal, when Panthers’ pinch-runner Ben Stopyro reached third base with one out.

Garrett Guerrero-Hadley followed with a laser up the middle, but Mastin snared it – and in seemingly one motion – he launched a perfect throw to catcher Greg Jablonski to gun down at Stopyro at home plate.

“I was feeling good all night; I was getting him out,” Mastin said. “I wasn’t going to get the force out and come back again (for extra innings). I was going for it. If I made a bad throw I would’ve had to live with it, but I didn’t. I wanted more than anything to get that kid out.”

Newmarket senior pitcher Nate Goodwin’s complete game ended when Guerrero-Hadley was caught stealing on the next play, which sealed the 5-4 victory for the Mules at Robbie Mills Field. Goodwin allowed one earned run on five hits, three walks, and added four strikeouts.

“I saw it hit back at me – I thought I had it – but then it got under my glove,” Goodwin said. “Then I saw Josh get there, and I just started screaming. When I saw him throw – and the throw beat him and the catcher stuffed him – it was one of my happiest moments; other than the last out.”

The Mules split a pair of regular-season meetings with the Panthers and were the only team to beat Pittsfield (16-2).

Newmarket moves on to play No. 2 Littleton (17-2) in Saturday’s Division IV championship game at 1 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, after the Crusaders advanced with a 9-4 victory over No. 3 Wilton-Lyndeborough (16-3).

The Mules are seeking the program’s fifth championship, and first since a 1996 Class M title. The Mules dropped Division IV championships games to Pittsburg (2009) and Sunapee (2012) – which was the first season for season for coach Stan Jurkoic.

“(Mastin) has made plays for us all year. If there is a small chance, he turns small chances into outs,” Jurkoic said. “He’s been great for us defensively. That’s a long throw and a perfect throw.”

Late-game heroics were needed after Newmarket’s 3-0 lead evaporated in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Mules committed back-to-back errors, Devin Bedell added a RBI single, and Kegan Vincent’s run-scoring squeeze bunt evened the game at 3-3.

“We had a couple bumps in that inning and the scored, but our guys didn’t give up,” Jurkoic said. “I told him to keep it up, he was pitching great, and he did what he needed, too. He was awesome.”

After Newmarket stranded runners on the corner in the top of the fifth, the Panthers to a 4-3 lead following a Gavin Bedell single, a walk to Guerrero-Hadley, and a sacrifice fly by Kyle Stockman.

The Mules stranded five runners following the first inning against Pittsfield reliever Casey Clark, until it loaded the bases with one out in the top of sixth following a pair of walks and a Mastin infield single. Devin Bedell replaced Clark with two outs, when Pittsfield’s outfield mishandled a Collin Burleigh fly ball, which allowed Jablonski and Mastin to score and give Newmarket a 5-4 lead.

“We didn’t have our best defensive game; we’ve been playing good defense all year,” Pittsfield coach Rob Stockman said. “We just made too many bad plays and they scored runs. Then they just made one more play than we did.”

Pittsfield committed three errors in the top of the first inning, while Stockman walked three and hit a batter before being replaced by Clark with two out. Lucas Russell delivered a RBI single to help propel Newmarket to a 3-0 lead.

“I felt good the whole time, I had one rough inning where they caught up, and then they took the lead,” Goodman said. “But I still felt confident in my defense. We finally got the bats going, got a lucky play, and shut them down.”

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