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Marching on to states

Gilford 10U all-stars beat Franklin, capture District 6 title

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

The Gilford 10U All-Star team poses with the championship trophy after winning the District 6 title at Prescott Park in Meredith on June 26. Back row: Coaches Jaime Boucher, Rick Muthersbaugh, Jeff McKinney. Middle row: Daegan Boucher, Nick Murphy, TJ Carmilia, Alex Rives. Front row: Cody Boucher, Ben Muthersbaugh, Sebastian Moceri, Connor Sullivan, Jack McLean, Alex Muthersbaugh, Austin Milligan, Hunter Wilson, Billy McKinney. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
July 02, 2012
MEREDITH – For the second year in a row, a District 6 Cal Ripken championship resides in Gilford.

The Gilford 10U All-Stars won their second consecutive title on June 26, advancing to the state Cal Ripken tournament with a two game sweep in the best of three championship series against Franklin at Prescott Park in Meredith. Gilford won via 6-0 and 13-3 scores.

"We finally put it all together as a team," said Gilford manager Rick Muthersbaugh. "Our defense was unbelievable and our pitching was solid. That's what you need to win a tournament like this."

With just three holdovers from last year's district title team, Gilford saw many new faces contribute to the strong weekend. The statistics really tell the story for the squad however, as Gilford went 6-1 in seven games in Meredith, with four of those being shutout wins. All told, the team allowed just 13 runs over the seven games played.

The weekend actually started off on a down note, as Gilford opened the tournament with an 8-7 loss to Belmont. But the team wouldn't lose again, rattling off four straight wins to reach the championship round. That included a 1-0 win over Franklin during early round action.

Once in the finals, Gilford was certainly familiar with its opponent from Franklin. The teams had met twice the previous week in the Gilford 10U Invitational, with Franklin grabbing a pair of wins to capture the title. This time around, things went the opposite way. Connor Sullivan and Alex Muthersbaugh combined to pitch a shutout in a 6-0 Game 1 victory, setting the stage for the clincher in Game 2. While it would wind up 13-3 in a mercy-rule shortened victory for Gilford, things didn't quite start off that way. Franklin took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, as Gilford's defense struggled a bit in the early going. Trailing for the first time all weekend besides the opening loss to Belmont, the offense came alive and responded immediately. Gilford took the lead back in the next half inning and kept scoring in bunches for the big win. Muthersbaugh and Hunter Wilson both pitched the team to a spot in the state tourney.

"Some kids just really stepped up," said coach Muthersbaugh. "They've all kind of assumed some roles after a month and a half or so playing together. We've tried to put kids in positions where they had chances to be successful."

Next up for Gilford is its second straight trip to the state tournament, which will be held July 6-12 in Exeter. Last year, the team faced a tough draw and lost its first two games to be knocked out of the double elimination format. Whatever happens this weekend, playing with the big boys of the state will be a great experience for the young Gilford team.

"We're going to go down there and compete to best of our abilities," Muthersbaugh said. "If we can play like we did this past weekend, I think we can give people a run. We're a small town going in to compete against the big boys…the Nashuas, Manchesters, Keenes. We only draw players from Gilford.

"But the experience we had of playing Rochester in the finals of the Farmington tourney a month ago, we'll draw from that," the coach continued. "We were up 5-2 in the third inning over there. Unfortunately things went a little bit south for us but we were in that game for a few innings. Even back then, we had only been together for about a week or so but there were glimpses of something special with this group."

The 10U All-Star roster is made up of: Manager Rick Muthersbaugh, coaches Jaime Boucher and Jeff McKinney, players Daegan Boucher, Nick Murphy, TJ Carmilia, Alex Rives, Cody Boucher, Ben Muthersbaugh, Sebastian Moceri, Connor Sullivan, Billy McKinney, Hunter Wilson, Alex Muthersbaugh, Austin Milligan and Jack McLean.

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