Merrimack blasts BG

NASHUA – Watch out for the Merrimack High School baseball team. It doesn’t enjoy losing very much.

Looking to rebound from a loss to Trinity earlier in the week, the Tomahawks took their frustrations out on Bishop Guertin Cardinals on Friday, April 22. Merrimack left Holman Stadium with a convincing 14-3, six-
inning win to improve to 5-1 on the season in NHIAA Division I.

"Yeah it would’ve been great to beat Trinity, but that lit a fire under our guys," Tomahawks coach Nick Jaskolka said. "We had our best practice of the year (Thursday) and we consider these (Cardinals) our rivals, so we took care of business."

Leading the way was pitcher Justin Grassini, who allowed just one earned run on five hits over six innings. He also had three hits, including a double and a homer over the left-field billboards, and drove in four runs. Think he wanted this one?

"When he has that look on his face, he’s tough to stop – whether he’s pitching or hitting," Jaskolka said.

"I think we can be a really good team," Grassini said. "We just have to put everything together. … Leads are huge. When you’re a pitcher out there and your team gives you a huge lead, it’s a lot of confidence."

And the Tomahawks did just that, jumping on four Bishop Guertin pitchers for 13 hits, also taking advantage of five Cardinal errors. It was 3-0 after one inning, 6-0 after two and 8-3 after three.

The only real BG offensive highlight was a Jake McMaster RBI double that paced a three-run Cardinal uprising in the third.

All the good feelings from Wednesday’s extra-inning win over Londonderry disappeared for the Cardinals.

"We just weren’t ready to play," BG coach Scott Painter said. "Simple as that. The extra-inning game should have been a boost for these guys … It’s clear by the final score we weren’t ready."

Merrimack scored in every inning, Grassini’s bomb making it 12-3 after five and then two more runs in the sixth put the mercy rule into play.

Jaskolka knew how Guertin felt, because the Tomahawks experienced it a lot last year.

"We really like this team," Jaskolka said. "We went young last year, and we took our lumps all year long (6-13, eliminated in first round of playoffs). We were able to respond with our preseason workouts all winter long. It was different."

Different enough for a good regular season and tourney run?

"We’ll see," the Tomahawks coach said with a grin.