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Kingswood 10U wins District Eight title

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

THE KINGSWOOD 10U team celebrates its District Eight championship on June 26 in Farmington. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 30, 2014
FARMINGTON — The Kingswood 10U Cal Ripken team had a busy week in Farmington, but in the end, it was well worth it, as the squad picked up the District Eight championship with a thrilling win over Mount Washington Valley.

The week got off to a slow start when Kingswood dropped a 6-3 decision to Suncook Valley on Monday, June 23, in round robin play. However shortly after playing that game, Kingswood was back at it, playing Mount Washington Valley and getting a 9-5 win.

That set up the final round robin game, which came against Farmington on Tuesday, June 24. Pitching was the star, as four pitchers combined for a no-hitter.

Kingswood wasted little time getting on the board early. Riley Smith walked to open the top of the first inning and after a wild pitch, he scored on a base hit by Will Danais. Danais then came around to score on a double by Ashton St. Pierre, giving Kingswood a 2-0 lead before Farmington even came to bat.

St. Pierre got the start on the mound and struck out the first five batters he faced. Hayden Robischeau reached on an error to open the top of the second inning, but he was stranded after a sacrifice groundout by Henry Saunders.

In the top of the third, Kingswood came up with two more runs. Again Smith sparked the rally with a walk and Jackson McCullough roped a base hit and an error allowed Smith to come all the way around to score. McCullough then scored on a groundout by Danais for a 4-0 lead for Kingswood.

Smith came on to pitch in the third inning and struck out the side. Saunders had a base hit in the top of the fourth inning, but he was stranded. Smith hit two batters in the bottom of the fourth, but he worked around it by striking out the side. Kingswood got a base hit from Danais in the top of the fifth, but again, could not get the run home.

McCullough came on to pitch in the fifth inning for Kingswood and walked three batters, but also got a strikeout and a groundout and St. Pierre threw out a runner stealing to help the inning.

Kingswood got a leadoff walk from Jake Apgar in the top of the sixth and after Robischeau worked a walk, a grounder by Saunders forced Apgar at third base and Farmington was able to get out of the inning.

Apgar took over on the hill in the sixth inning for Kingswood and worked around an error and a walk, striking out two and getting a grounder to third to help Kingswood close out the 4-0 win.

The win clinched Kingswood's spot in the finals against Mount Washington Valley on Wednesday, June 25.

Kingswood scored one in the first and MWV got one in the second to tie the game before the game was halted in the third inning by thunder and lightning.

With the field flooded and rain continuing, the teams were sent home and told to return on Thursday, June 26.

Kingswood came back with a run in the top of the third inning and added another in the fourth for a 3-1 lead before MWV cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth.

Danais started on the hill before Apgar got the final out of the second inning. Smith pitched the third through the fifth and St. Pierre came on to close the game out. Reese Clarke made a nice catch in center in the fifth inning to highlight the defense for Kingswood.

MWV got out to a quick start in the second game of the finals, scoring four runs in the first inning against St. Pierre. MWV then added two more runs in the top of the second inning to up the lead to 6-0, but a nice catch by Shaw Swinerton in right field got Kingswood out of the inning.

Kingswood was able to get the bats going in the bottom of the second inning. McCullough got things started with a base hit and Smith followed with a hit of his own. A wild pitch and an error allowed both runners to score. Robischeau worked a walk and Apgar was hit by a pitch to put two more runners on. Infield hits from Clarke and Saunders drove in runs and Kingswood had the lead down to 6-4.

Smith took over on the hill in the third inning and St. Pierre made a nice play throwing out a runner on a ball hit in front of the plate. Saunders made a nice play in foul territory at first in the top of the fourth inning. Danais reached on an error in the third and Smith doubled in the fourth, but neither was able to come around to score and MWV came back and put two more runs on the board for an 8-4 lead.

Kingswood went quietly in the sixth inning and MWV came back against McCullough in the sixth and added another run for a 9-4 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Danais worked a one-out walk and St. Pierre and McCullough had back-to-back base hits to drive in one run. Smith reached on an error, but Kingswood couldn't put another run across the plate and MWV had the 9-6 win.

The MWV win forced a third and deciding game between the two teams in the double-elimination finals.

McCullough got the start on the hill for the third game and gave up a run in the top of the first inning to put MWV on top early. Base hits from Saunders and Patrick Runnals got Kingswood off to a good start and they moved up on a groundout by Danais, but they were both stranded. Runnals contributed on the defensive side of the ball with a nice play to force a runner at second base in the second inning and Kingswood got on the board in the bottom of the inning.

Robischeau led off the second with a walk and a base hit by Apgar and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position. One out later, Clarke reached on an error, allowing both runners to score for a 2-1 lead for Kingswood.

From there, the pitching did the job, with Smith leading the charge. He struck out two in the fourth inning after an infield hit for MWV. Saunders and Runnals had base hits in the bottom of the fifth, but they were stranded.

MWV made things interesting in the sixth. After a nice play by Robischeau at third base got the first out and a strikeout made for the second out, a base hit and walk put the go-ahead runners on base. However, Smith got a grounder to Runnals at second to close out the game with the 2-1 win and clinch the District Eight championship.

The Kingswood roster includes Jake Apgar, James Yarling, Max Rourke, Tyler Sprince, Shaw Swinerton, Henry Saunders, Hayden Robischeau, Patrick Runnals, Riley Smith, Ashton St. Pierre, Will Danais, Jackson McCullough and Reese Clarke. The team is coached by Chris Runnals, Tom McCullough and Chuck Smith.

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

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