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Four in four


Gilford 10s continue District 6 dominance


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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The Gilford 10U All-Stars captured their fourth District 6 Championship in a row last week, as the squad swept host Three Rivers at Odell Park in Franklin to advance to this weekend's state tournament. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
June 30, 2014
FRANKLIN For the fourth consecutive year, the Gilford 10U All-Stars ruled District 6.

Gilford outscored opponents by a whopping 90-21 margin during its perfect 6-0 tournament run, and the squad capped it off with a two-game sweep of Three Rivers in the best-of-three championship series last week to capture the Cal Ripken District 6 title for the fourth straight year. The crown saw Gilford advance to the state tournament, slated for July 5-10 in Barrington.

The tournament kicked off with a 4-0 run in pool play, as Gilford beat Franklin (21-8), Merrimack Valley (11-1), Newfound (12-5) and Belmont (17-1) to easily advance to the championship against Three Rivers.

"The kids really did a fantastic job limiting mistakes in the field, running the bases hard and putting the ball in play to force the other team to make plays," said Gilford manager Joe Rizzitano.

Rizzitano lauded the depth at pitcher in being a key to success, as Tyler Rizzitano, Ben Muthersbaugh, Riley Marsh, Alex Berube, DJ Roberts, Anthony Aguiar, Harry Meehan and Tanner Keenan all saw innings on the mound.

In Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series, Gilford jumped out thanks to a 1-6-3 double play defensively. The web gem aided the team to a 12-4 victory to take a 1-0 series advantage at Odell Park.

"At this age group, one play like this can be the difference," said Rizzitano of the double play.

Gilford got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning, as the squad took a 3-0 lead. Aguiar led off with a hit, while Rizzitano and Muthersbaugh also added base knocks. A double from Marsh set the tone for Gilford in the first inning.

The squad led 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth before exploding for four runs to take a 9-4 lead it would not relinquish. Gilford tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull away for the 12-4 victory.

Rizzitano was a perfect 4-for-4 at the dish in the win, while Muthersbaugh added three hits and Marsh and Berube registered a pair of hits for Gilford.

Game 2 featured a lights out pitching performance from Berube, who struck out seven in five innings of action while not allowing an earned run in Gilford's 17-2 win to secure the District 6 championship.

Gilford scored early and often in this one, taking a 5-2 lead in the top of the second inning before tacking on two more for a 7-2 lead entering the fifth. That's when the offense kicked into overdrive, as Roberts led off with a hit then an RBI triple from Tyler Talbot was followed by an RBI single from Aguiar. Rizzitano drove in three runs with a double, and Muthersbaugh (RBI double) and Marsh (RBI single) closed out the run-ruled shortened victory as Gilford pushed 10 runs across in the frame to earn the 17-2 victory.

Talbot was 4-for-4 in the Game 2 win, while Rizzitano (3-for-4) and Muthersbaugh (2-for-3) also aided the offensive effort.

The title moved Gilford to the state tournament, where the program will look to continue its progression against the best 9 and 10 year old teams across New Hampshire. Last year's tourney saw the 10U All-Stars win their first-ever game at the state level, beating Great North Woods, 14-4, before falling in an elimination game to Youngsville, 3-0. The opening game loss to Exeter had Gilford finish 1-2 overall, and the squad will look to continue improving at the state level with this year's edition.

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