Red hot Raiders advance to semifinals


by Bob Martin
Sports Reporter - Gilford Steamer, WInnisquam Echo, Meredith News

SBHSbaseball1
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Cole Contigiani pitched a complete game shutout against Mascenic to advance Belmont to the semifinals. Bob Martin. (click for larger version)
June 05, 2017
BELMONT — Pitcher Cole Contigiani has been lights out all season for Belmont High School, and this continued last week with a 3-0 complete game shutout over seventh ranked Mascenic.

The win puts second-ranked Belmont against third-ranked Conant in the semifinal round of the Division III state championship.

Contigiani had a complete game, two hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. Coach Matt Leblanc said games like this have become normal for Contigiani.

"Cole has taken his game to another level," said Leblanc. "I think in some ways people have still underestimated him, but then he comes out and pitches like that against a team everyone respects. They didn't have a runner get past first base until the seventh inning. He's commanding his pitches, putting them where he wants them. It's impressive and he's really worked for that."

Leblanc said in big games the big players will step up. Contigiani once again dominated on the mound and Corey Derosier and Chris Marden led the way offensively. Derosier was 2 for 3 with a stolen base and Marden was 3 for 3 on the day.

"Chris hit the ball the hardest I've seen him all year," said Leblanc. "He went opposite field with it. He went up the middle with it. I was really impressed with Chris's approach at the plate."

Defensively is where the team stood out, which is something that has been a recurring theme for the Red Raiders this season. The team rarely makes mistakes in the field, and they also have a knack for capitalizing on the mistakes of their opponents.

This was the case in the third inning, which saw the only scoring on the day. Derosier led off the inning with a walk and Marden slapped a single on the ground to left field. Doug Price flew out to right, which advanced Derosier to third base. This set the table for Contigiani who smashed an RBI single to left with two strikes on him.

With two outs Kyle Minery came up and hit a hard ground ball to third base. He hustled hard down the line and beat out the throw, which got loose and allowed two runs to score making it a 3-0 game. That was all Contigiani and the BHS squad would need for the win.

"It was a fun game to coach and the team looks really good all around," said Leblanc.

Leblanc said the team is driven as they eye a potential state title. He said Contigiani prepared himself by going to see Mascenic play on his own accord. This helped in his approach to the team, and Leblanc said this is something you can't teach someone.

"Cole has worked hard," said Leblanc. "He has turned himself into this player. He is so receptive to the coaches but last year in a game against Bow where we got eliminated in the playoffs, he struck out to end it. I think that stuck with him and he has worked on his game from there."

Leblanc added, "When you don't have success it either breaks you or drives you. Clearly it has driven him."

The Red Raiders face Conant at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday (today) at 4 p.m.

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