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TNLL can't get on track in loss to Rye

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

TNLLís Ethan Bryson throws a pitch in the first inning of his teamís game against Rye on July 6 at Charles Dwinal Field. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
July 09, 2012
NORTHFIELD Ė Forgive the Tilton-Northfield 11-12 year old All-Stars for not quite having their best stuff on July 6.

The squad ran into one of the top teams in its District II pool, as Rye (5-1) came to Charles Dwinal Field and handed TNLL just its second loss of district play, as the hosts dropped a 16-4 decision on a warm and overcast night of youth baseball.

With the way TNLL has been playing during its district run, losses have almost become unexpected. The team entered Friday night's loss with an impressive 4-1 record, the most wins it has ever had in pool play. But Rye showed why it's near the top of the D-II standings almost immediately. The visitors scored four runs in the top of the first inning and three more in the second to chase TNLL starting pitcher Ethan Bryson from the game. Bryson did manage to strike out three batters in his 1.2 innings of work, but the hosts found themselves in an early 7-0 hole.

While reliever Blaise Ross struck out the first batter he faced in the second to get his team out of a jam, TNLL finally got on the board in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs, Harrison Parent ripped a triple just inside the first base line to give his side some life. Noah Smith followed with a grounder to third that was bobbled, allowing Parent to score the team's first run of the day and cut the deficit to 7-1.

Ross struck out the first two batters on the third inning and was throwing some serious heat before walking Max Malila and allowing back-to-back singles for an 8-1 Rye advantage. That would be all the team would get in the frame however, as a grounder back to Ross saw him toss to first baseman Colby Hopkins for the final out.

TNLL got that run back in the bottom of the third, as Trevor Frederick led off with a bullet single to left field. Bryson walked with one out to put two runners on base, and Ross came through with a shot that was misplayed at shortstop to plate Frederick and cut the lead to 8-2.

That would be as close as the hosts would get on the night however, as Rye scored two more runs in the fourth inning and six more in the sixth inning to take a commanding 16-2 lead.

But TNLL wouldn't go away without a fight in the bottom of the sixth, as Nick Lynch led off the final inning with a single and moved to second when Parent followed with a walk. After a strikeout, Smith came up with a big two-run double that cut the lead to 16-4. Smith was thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple however, and a pop out to the pitcher ended the game with the 16-4 final.

Left fielder Hunter Dupuis and shortstop/catcher Matt Hoey also had hits for TNLL in the loss. Ross struck out five batters in relief, while Hopkins and Frederick also saw action on the mound.

The sting of the tough defeat didn't last long for the squad however, as TNLL rebounded with a solid 5-3 win over Concord American Little League one day later on July 7 at Dwinal Field. The victory saw the team enter this week with a 5-2 record, good enough for third place in the 11-team pool. TNLL has outscored its opponents, 39-33, in those seven games.

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