Baseball: Concord falls in semis to Pinkerton, 3-0, despite solid outing from Craigue

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 06-08-2023 1:34 AM

NASHUA – An error on the infield on the first batter of the game wasn’t a great opener. The Tide allowed runs in the first two innings and trailed early. It certainly wasn’t the way the Concord baseball team hoped to open its Division I semifinal. 

But pitcher Brooks Craigue did what he does best: compete. The Crimson Tide settled in and held Pinkerton scoreless the rest of the way, but couldn’t generate any offense of its own as No. 7 Concord (16-6) fell to the No. 3 Astros (19-4), 3-0, on Wednesday evening at Holman Stadium in Nashua.

Jackson Marshall’s RBI single scored Jacob Albert - Pinkerton’s leadoff hitter who reached on an error – to give the Astros a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Cyle Archer had an RBI double and Albert connected on an RBI single in the second inning to make it 3-0.

But Craigue settled in after that, only allowing one single, striking out five and walking none over the remaining four innings. He finished the game with four hits and two walks allowed.

“He competes. That’s what he does,” Concord head coach Scott Owen said. “You’re never going to say ‘Wow that kid has phenomenal stuff.’ He’s got very good stuff, but his compete level is second to none. He just goes out and competes and keeps you in the game. He did everything we asked of him. We started different set up (pitches) to start. Once he gets (ahead) and he has three pitches it’s tough to jump on a pitch. We just mixed up what he was throwing first and where he was pitching it. There’s no guarantee that it’s going to work, but it did today.”

Craigue’s teammates played solid defense around him too, only committing one error the rest of the way.

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At the plate, Concord did a good job putting the ball in play, but Astros pitcher Garrett Hammer allowed just three hits and two walks, striking out three, while Pinkerton shortstop Brendan Horne helped turn three double plays and didn’t allow a baserunner to safely reach third all game.

Junior Dawson Fancher and freshman Noah Chrabolowski both had doubles, and senior Nater Wachter (the Division I Offensive Player of the Year) singled for the Tide.

“They’re a great defensive team,” Owen said. “We hit way too many balls at their shortstop. He’s an excellent baseball player and he proved it today.”

The loss ended the careers of Craigue and 10 other seniors who wore a Crimson Tide uniform for the last time. A few of these seniors were on the 2021 champion team as sophomores. 

“Great season,” Owen said, looking back on this season. “We were the seventh seed. We beat an excellent Exeter team (in the quarterfinals) and lost to an excellent Pinkerton team (in the semifinals). They just got a few more hits than us today. (The 11 seniors) have done everything we’ve asked them to do. It’s an enjoyable team to coach. I’m going to miss all of them. I wish this could’ve turned out differently for them.”

While it isn’t the outcome the Tide wanted, it still surpassed the expectations that most of the baseball community had for the team.

“We weren’t supposed to be here, but we fought through,” said Craigue, who will be suiting up for the Concord Post 21 American Legion team this summer before heading to D-I Merrimack College. “We really didn’t care what anyone else said. We had a good run. It’s a great group of guys. We’ve grown up playing Little League together. … Hopefully we can keep playing together this summer and have a shot at another state championship.”

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