U11 All Stars march into state tournament

HB U11 All-Stars opened Cal Ripken District play recently with two strong wins, avenging losses from last summer and qualifying the team for the State Tournament.

July 1

HB knocked off Amherst 8-3 led by a strong effort on the mound and at the plate from Travis Lafontaine. Andrew Eckman and Jackson Goldstein each contributed three hits, while Adam Connelly and LaFontaine each added doubles. Amherst jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a long home run by Maddux McGrath, who added another RBI single in the second to stretch the lead to 3-1. Ben Dufoe tied the score at 3 with a two-out double scoring LaFontaine and Martin Bergeron and Goldstein, followed up with his third RBI of the day to put HB on top, 5-3. Alex Razzaboni added an RBI single and pitched 2 2/3 strong innings to pick up the win. LaFontaine threw 2 1/3 shutout innings with four strikeouts to record the save.

July 2

Bryce Sturges pitched 4 2/3 strong innings to lead HB to a 7-5 victory over Merrimack. Daniel Martin and Alex Razzaboni paced the offense with long home runs, while Eckman added two hits, helping HB jump out to a 5-0 lead. Sturges cruised into the fourth inning, facing the minimum batters and striking out four while HB played sparkling team defense behind him. Merrimack hit three homes late in the game, including a solo shot from Reece Lopez and two from Elliot Metlock, highlighted by a three-run shot in the sixth to cut the lead to two.

Jackson Goldstein came on in relief, and fter inducing a pop-up from Lopez for the first out, Lafontaine and Gavin Knudsen continued to flash the leather and turned a sparking 5-4-3 double play to close out the victory.

HB U10 All-Stars fight hard in district play

June 18

HB U10 All-Stars began Cal Ripken district play with a strong effort defeating a tough Merrimack team 15-4 in Nashua. Alex Razzaboni pitched four solid innings and Bryce Sturges collected four hits, including a double to lead HB. Travis LaFontaine and Adam Connelly hit RBI singles in the first, propelling HB to an early 2-0 lead. After Merrimack jumped ahead 3-2, Jackson Goldstein hit an RBI double to tie it up. Later in third, Adam Connelly drew a bases-loaded walk and Elliot Troddyn drove in the fifth run. Consecutive singles by Goldstein, Razabonni and LaFontaine set up Ben Dufoe, who put the game out of reach with a hard, line-drive RBI single to center field. Gavin Knudsen and Andrew Eckman each had two hits, and Evan Costa cruised on the mound through the final two innings to close out the win.

June 19

HB couldn’t come up with big hits, leaving six runners on base and lost to Amherst in the second game of Cal Ripken District play by a score of 9-1. Alex Razzaboni continued his torrid hitting, going 3 for 3 at the plate, while Martin Bergeron and Ben Petrella both hit long doubles. However, Nick Nowak and Maddux McGrath shut down the HB attack, each pitching three strong innings. McGrath homered to center in the sixth to put the game away. The loss was HB’s first in the double-elimination tournament.

June 20

HB bounced back with a resounding 20-1 win over Nashua B. Travis LaFontaine, Andrew Eckman and Gavin Knudsen dominated from the mound, striking out eight while only allowing two hits. Eckman led the hitting attack with three hits and four RBIs. The HB bats came alive in the second inning with three singles a row by Travis LaFontaine, Ben Petrella and Ben Dufoe followed by an Eckman triple deep in the left-field corner to stake HB to a 6-0 lead. In the third, Petrella hit an RBI single and Martin Bergeron followed with an RBI double on a deep fly ball to right field. The HB attack continued with RBI singles from Eckman and Gavin Knudsen followed by a line-drive double in the gap by Jackson Goldstein, who scored on a single by Evan Costa to make it 13-1 after three innings. Bryce Sturges, Goldstein and Petrella finished with three hits apiece.

June 21

HB lost a heartbreaker to Merrimack, 9-8 in 10 innings. HB withstood some early punches from Merrimack, which jumped out to a 5-1 lead heading in to the bottom of the fourth. HB cut the lead in half when Bryce Sturges and Jackson Goldstein hit back-to-back doubles. Goldstein held Merrimack scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings with strong relief pitching, setting up a pressure filled bottom of the sixth. Three outs away from elimination, Gavin Knudsen turned the momentum around with a leadoff double to deep left center. Bryce Sturges followed with double to right to make it 5-4 and Goldstein laced an RBI double to tie it. Travis LaFontaine then hit a two-out double on a deep fly to left field, but Adam Connelly’s line drive was snagged by the pitcher to keep the score tied and send the game to extra innings.

In the seventh, Merrimack pushed across a run on three walks and a single. HB turned to Knudsen in relief, who came in to a bases loaded jam with no outs. Knudsen gave up a single to make it 7-5, but then slammed the door with two strikeouts in the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, HB bounced back again. Ben Petrella doubled to left and Martin Bergeron stayed hot with a single to center. Knudsen then delivered at the plate with an RBI line drive single to make it 7-6. Bergeron scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 7-7 while the potential winning run moved to third. After Goldstein was hit by a pitch, Razzaboni rapped a hard grounder to the shortstop who just beat Goldstein to second for the final out of the inning to keep the game tied.

In the eighth, Merrimack pulled ahead 8-7 on a double by Reese Lopez. Once again, HB answered with another run in the eighth to tie it up. LaFontaine led off the inning with a double to center, moved up on consecutive walks by Connelly and Petrella, and scored on a passed ball. Both teams were held scoreless in the ninth.

After a delay to move the game to a lighted field, Sturges relieved Knudsen to start the 10th inning. Keegan Ponder singled to lead off and later scored on a Lopez single. Sturges struck out the final two batters to give HB one more shot in the 10th. Despite a booming two-out double over the head of the left fielder by Martin Bergeron, HB ran out of magic and couldn’t push across the tying run.

Regardless of what the scoreboard read, all of the boys fought like champions. The loss knocks HB out of district play which will gave them a week off before hosting the Cam Ricard SVI tournament at the HB fields, where they were the U9 Champions last Summer.