Cavaliers halt Grizzlies streak
At the plate and on the mound, Cam LaFleur provided the boost his Hollis Brookline High School baseball team needed to take down the top team in Division II on Wednesday.
LaFleur recorded 16 strikeouts and provided a hit to help the Cavaliers beat Goffstown, 2-0, ending the Grizzlies’ 13-game winning streak.
Hugh Devlin and Joe Spohn accounted for the game’s only RBIs in the bottom of the fourth inning after Hollis Brookline’s bats failed to create any offense against Goffstown pitcher Tanner Putnam (seven strikeouts, three hits, three walks) over the first three frames.
LaFleur got things started when he got aboard via a bunt then stole second to put himself in scoring position. Devlin blasted a hit over Putnam’s head and into center field driving LaFleur home for the Cavaliers’ first tally.
“I just realized that I had to get the ball in play because we weren’t getting anything going,” Devlin said. “Just get on base because that’s only way to make something happen.”
Shea Whalen’s sacrifice bunt moved Devlin over to second base where he was brought home by Spohn’s shot to left-center field. The Cavaliers recorded all three of their hits in the bottom of the fourth.
“Once we get guys on base then we can start stealing and bunting and putting some pressure on the defense,” said Hollis Brookline coach Ryan Coulter, whose Cavaliers improved to 10-2.
“Our feeling was it was probably going to be a pitcher’s duel so we wanted to score two or three runs for Cam and we thought that would be enough.”
What LaFleur started at the plate, he was able to finish on the mound by allowing no base runners and recording seven strikeouts in the ensuing three frames.
“After we scored the runs I knew I had to shut them down in that inning because that was a statement inning,” said LaFleur, regarding the fifth frame. “My stuff was working. I was just mixing up counts and giving them different stuff in different situations.”
LaFleur concluded the seventh inning by striking out the side.
“He’s a one of the best pitchers in the state,” Coulter said, “and that’s what we need him to do to take over games.”
The hitting roles between the two teams were reversed in the opening three frames.
The Grizzlies cranked out three hits, but stranded four runners, two of which were at the corners in the top of the third, but Tyler Perron struck out swinging.
“This was about the game I figured,” said Goffstown coach Adam Lawrence, whose Grizzlies fell to 13-2 with the loss. “LaFleur was throwing well. He’s a great pitcher. A 2-0 game is about what I expected.”
Hollis Brookline has now won seven straight games since its last loss on April 25.