Craig LeBrun slides home with the go-ahead run against Nashua in tournament action Friday in Manchester. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 30, 2012MANCHESTER — After an impressive regular season, the George Minor Cavis Post #62 Junior Legion team out of Bristol couldn't get through the opening rounds of the state tournament over the weekend at Gill Stadium in Manchester.
Bristol finished at 11-5 overall and earned the second seed in District A for the tournament, matching up with Nashua in the opening round of the tournament on Friday, July 27, in the Queen City.
Both teams took advantage of a little wildness on the hill in the first inning and each team put a run on the board.
Nashua scored in the top of the first after Bristol starter Ryan Pluskis issued a leadoff walk. After a wild pitch, a pair of groundouts pushed the run across for a 1-0 lead. Pluskis gave up another walk, but got out of trouble by inducing another groundout to end the inning.
Bristol bounced right back in the bottom of the inning, with Cam Patridge leading off with a base hit. Nick Hurd was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base and two outs later, Brett Minery reached on an infield hit to load the bases. A wild pitch then pushed Patridge across the plate with the tying run.
Pluskis found himself in trouble in the top of the second, as he surrendered a leadoff double. One out later, a base hit and stolen base put runners on second and third. After getting a big strikeout, a walk loaded the bases, but Pluskis made a nice play on a shot back to the mound to end the inning.
After Bristol went in order in the bottom of the inning, Nashua again put runners on base in the top of the third inning. After a leadoff base hit, Patridge made a nice grab going back from second base to shallow right field. Catcher Zach Desrochers then helped his pitcher out by gunning down the runner stealing second. That proved to be a key play in the inning, as Pluskis walked the next three batters to load the bases. However, the lefty got out of trouble with a pop fly to second base to end the inning.
The bottom of the inning proved quite eventful, though by the time all was said and done, Bristol was unable to score.
Patridge led off with an infield hit and Hurd followed with a bunt, but no out was recorded. Descrochers followed with another bunt, but again no out was made on the play, as the pitcher tried to get the runner at second but threw late. One out later, Minery put down a squeeze attempt, but Patridge was forced at the plate and a strikeout ended the inning with the score still tied.
Nashua got a two-out double in the top of the fourth but didn't score and Hurd was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the inning but was stranded, keeping the score tied at one.
Bristol finally took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Craig LeBrun doubled and took third on a wild pitch. Desrochers then grounded out to third. LeBrun broke for the plate on the throw and managed to keep the Nashua catcher from snagging the ball, giving Bristol a 2-1 lead.
Hurd took the mound in the top of the sixth inning and a couple of hits got Nashua off to a quick start. After two outs, a double to left plated a pair of runs and an error allowed another run to score for a 4-2 lead for Nashua.
"After he didn't get that third out, it hurt," coach Shaun Bean said. "There were two ground balls to the left side that we probably should've have gotten to."
Bristol went down in order in the bottom of the sixth and Nashua added a couple of runs in the top of the seventh inning. After Hurd walked the leadoff batter, Patridge took over on the mound and surrendered a base hit and a bloop double to push across two runs for a 6-2 lead. A base hit made it 7-2 and LeBrun replaced Patridge on the hill. After surrendering a walk, a line drive to second resulted in a 4-6 double play, ending the inning.
The first two batters of the bottom of the seventh went down on strikes, but Patridge came up with a base hit to keep Bristol's hope alive. However, a line drive to center ended the game, giving Nashua the 7-2 win.
"When we didn't get out of that jam (in the sixth), we kind of fell apart," Bean said. "But we had a couple of opportunities on offense and we didn't produce."
Bean praised Pluskis for keeping his team in the game through the first five innings, though the fourth inning, in which he threw more than 30 pitches, forced him to come out a bit earlier than normal.
"He gave us a chance to win, but that's what happens," Bean said.
The team returned to Gill Stadium the next day to take on Jaffrey and Desrochers took the hill for Bristol. The righty held Jaffrey to just one hit and Bristol hung tough the entire way, but couldn't get the win, falling 3-1.
"We battled the whole way," Bean said, noting that Bristol loaded the bases in the seventh inning but couldn't convert.
The Bristol team roster included Sam Avery, Zach Descrochers, Destin Fitts, Nicholas Hurd, Craig LeBrun, Spencer MacDonald, Brent Minery, Cam Patridge, Ryan Pluskis, Joseph Putnam, David Sykie, Nick Tapply, Joshua Weinmann and Cedric Witham. The team is coached by Shaun Bean and Ed LeBrun.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126