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Timely hitting lifts North Country past Farmington in title game

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

JOHN BARNES takes a pickoff throw during championship game action Sunday in Littleton. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 09, 2012
LITTLETON — Every time Farmington rallied, North Country had an answer and the host team's big bats allowed them to pick up a 21-11 win in the championship game to claim the District Five championship at Remich Park in Littleton on Sunday.

North Country scored all but its first run with two outs in an inning and came through with plenty of big hits to continually bounce back from Farmington rallies.

The two teams actually battled through two and a half innings without a score, as North Country starter Ben Rexford and Farmington hurler Kevin Poulin exchanged zeroes. Both teams had chances in the first few innings, but neither could capitalize.

North Country got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Mark Berryman beat out an infield hit and stole second. He then stole third and came home on a throwing error to plate the game's first run, the lone run of the day for North Country not scored with two outs. One out later, Rexford doubled and a Spencer Nast hit drove him in. Kyle Lyndes then doubled off the 310 sign in left field and Nick Walsh blooped a base hit to plate both runners for a 4-0 lead.

Farmington bounced right back in the top of the fourth, pushing across eight runs. Jordan Damon led off the inning with a base hit, but he was forced at second on a grounder to third by John Barnes. Brian Borelli followed with a base hit and Reggie Pennell reached on an error to bring home Farmington's first run. Poulin followed with a base hit to plate another run and Nast took over on the hill for North Country. After retiring the first batter he faced, Nast surrendered base hits to Jake Hatch, Adam Valladares and Anthony Bennett to push across three runs, giving Farmington a 5-4 lead. Damon then doubled home another run, ending Nast's day on the hill. Lyndes took over and gave up a double to Barnes to plate two more runs and up Farmington's lead to 8-4.

North Country answered in the bottom of the inning. Jared Gunter started the rally with a one-out hit and one out later, Justin Siewierski reached on an error. Rexford then lined a base hit to right to plate one run and Nast followed with a base hit, which was compounded by an error, allowing two runs to score, cutting the lead to 8-7. Poulin was replaced by Mark Levesque and Lyndes greeted him with a double to tie the score. Walsh then singled to drive in a run and came all the way around to score on a couple of errors for a 10-8 lead before the inning ended.

Again, Farmington battled back. Pennell led off with a base hit and Levesque lined a homer to left field to tie the score at 10. Two outs later, Valladares had a base hit and Anthony Bennett walked. Damon then reached on an error to plate the go-ahead run.

North Country rallied again. Gunter led off with a walk, but Farmington catcher Hatch gunned him down stealing second for the second out of the inning. Siewierski drew a walk and took second on a wild pitch and Rexford reached on an error, tying the game at 11. Nast then drove a homer over the fence in left for a 13-11 lead. Lyndes reached on an error and Walsh walked. On a double steal, the ball was thrown away and Lyndes scored for a 14-11 lead heading to the sixth.

Lyndes sent Farmington down in order in the top of the sixth and after Levesque got the first two outs of the bottom of the sixth, Berryman drove a homer to left. Siewierski walked and Rexford beat out an infield hit. Nast and Lyndes drew back-to-back walks to plate another run and a Walsh base hit brought home two more runs, bringing Borelli to the hill for Farmington. Cody Woods and James Baker worked walks to plate another run and a base hit by Gunter plated two runs to finish the game.

North Country advanced to the finals with a 5-2 win over Farmington on Friday, July 6, and a 5-0 win over Twin Rivers on Saturday, July 7.

North Country will now advance to the state tournament, which will be held in Rochester. The first game for the North Country team is Sunday, July 15, at 2 p.m. at the Monsignor Gilles Simard Babe Ruth Field.

The Farmington roster include John Barnes, Anthony Bennett, Brian Borelli, Sean Dale, Jordan Damon, Travis Drapeau, Jake Hatch, Mark Levesque, Logan Loring, Brendon Mathias, Reggie Pennell, Kevin Poulin and Adam Valladares. The team is coached by Dave Bennett and assistant Ken Borelli.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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