EVAN DASCOULIAS looks to the umpire to see the safe call during sixth inning action against Keene on June 9. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 16, 2012KENSINGTON — Mount Washington Valley Cal Ripken 10U pitcher Nate Grames has been about as good as it gets during both the district and state tournament.
So when the youngster got hurt during state tournament action, it wasn't good news for the team.
Grames gutted it out and returned to the mound on Monday, July 9, as MWV faced off against Keene and fought through his injury until his final at bat, when he was replaced on the base paths.
However, the gutty performance by the youngster wasn't quite enough to overcome Keene and MWV was eliminated from the state tournament with a 5-4 loss at Sawyer Park in Kensington, closing out the tournament at 2-2.
MWV got the game's first base runner, as Justin Olson reached on an error in the first inning, but he was stranded. Grames then struck out the top three hitters in the Keene order in the bottom of the inning and MWV threatened to take the lead in the top of the second.
With one out, Chase Spencer walked and Dominic Jones doubled to center field. Spencer broke for home on a wild pitch and though it appeared he may have beaten the tag, he was called out on a close play, putting a damper on MWV's rally.
Keene took advantage in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on two MWV errors and a walk to push across a run. Grames struck out two more batters, but Keene had a 1-0 lead.
MWV instantly fought back in the top of the third. Noah Barrows drew a leadoff walk and Braeden Bailey reached on an error to put two runners on. Grames grounded to shortstop to plate Barrows with the tying run and Derek Dascoulias followed with a base hit to drive in Bailey with the second run of the game and MWV had a 2-1 lead.
However, a base hit and a double allowed Keene to plate the tying run in the bottom of the inning, though Grames did record two more strikeouts, bringing his three-inning total to seven.
After MWV went quietly in the top of the fourth, Keene rallied for two more in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of three walks and an error. Grames struck out another batter and Bailey made a great throw to gun down a runner trying to steal second to end the inning after a close play at the plate went Keene's way.
Olson was robbed of a base hit in the top of the fifth, as the Keene pitcher stabbed a screaming line drive up the middle to keep MWV off the board.
Grames struck out two more batters in the bottom of the fifth inning, despite his ailing leg. However, a walk and two errors helped plate another run. Bailey was able to cut down a runner trying to take third on the second error, ending the inning, but Keene had the 5-2 lead.
Grames led off the top of the sixth with a base hit and Evan Dascoulias took over on the bases. Derek Dascoulias followed with a base hit and two outs later, a wild pitch scored the first run and Jones reached on an error, bringing home the second run for MWV, cutting the lead to 5-4. However, Jones was stranded and the game finished at 5-4 in favor of the Keene kids.
The MWV roster included Nate Grames, Braeden Bailey, Derek Dascoulias, Noah Barrows, Parker Coleman, Ethan Pepin, Justin Olson, Chase Spencer, Ryan Lund, Chet Johnston, Will Eaton, Evan Dascoulias, Dominic Jones and Shane Johnston. The team is coached by Mike DiGregorio and assistants Doc Walker and Brad Grames.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126