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DiPrizio provides the thrills in Post #72 comeback

ALTON CATCHER NATE GONYA applies the tag to a runner trying to score in the first inning of his teamís win over Plymouth July 10. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 14, 2009
NEW DURHAM — In the middle of a tough week came a great win for the Alton Post #72 Legion squad.

Jake DiPrizio went deep in the bottom of the ninth inning against Plymouth on Friday, July 10, tying the game at 10, then won the contest in the bottom of the 11th with a base hit down the right field line.

Unfortunately for the Post #72 boys, that was the only win in a long week of games.

The boys finished the week at home against Sweeney on Sunday, July 12, and dropped a 7-6 decision, coming up just short in a ninth inning rally.

Sweeney scored two in the first and four in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead, then added an important run in the eighth inning.

Nate Gonya got the scoring started for Alton in the fourth, clubbing a two-run homer.

DiPrizio added a two-run base hit in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 6-4.

Trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, Casey Reed drilled a two-run blast to pull Alton within one, but the local boys couldn't put the tying run across the plate.

For Reed, it was his second blast of the game, however, the first came just a bit short of clearing the fence, with the bases loaded in the third inning.

Reed also started on the hill and went seven innings before yielding the Brendan Hussey for the final two.

Alton pounded out 10 hits, but the squad was hurt by three errors.

"We got behind, had a hell of a comeback, but it was not quite enough," said coach Gary Noyes Sr. "We just couldn't get it done."

The boys hosted Exeter on Saturday, July 11, and things were a bit tougher, as the visitors walked away with an 8-3 win.

"We seem to have that one bad inning," Noyes said. "It just wasn't a great ball game."

Alton made five errors behind Jeff Runnals, who pitched the first seven innings, and Hussey, who closed out the game.

Kevin Lee and Reed had back-to-back doubles in the sixth to plate one run for Alton and Reed drove in the other two runs with a double in the eighth.

"We're so close to being a real good team," Noyes commented. "We just can't get off to a good start."

He commended the team's pitchers for hanging tough and avoiding a high number of walks.

"We just have crucial errors here and there," he said.

Friday's game against Plymouth played out in much the same fashion, as the visitors came up with two runs in the first and another three in the second off of Tyler Penney.

Alton did manage one in the first inning, as Hussey reached on an error, Gonya had a base hit and Reed knocked in the first run of the game with a base hit.

Alton plated another run in the third inning. DiPrizio led off with a base hit, and Hussey followed by reaching on an error, but DiPrizio was forced at second. One out later, Lee laced a base hit to put runners on the corners and Reed reached on an error to plate Alton's second run.

Penney gave up hits to the first two batters of the fourth, but a 5-3 double play from Hussey to Reed and a nice grab by Danny Miller in right field got the Alton hurler out of trouble.

Alton couldn't take advantage of a Corey Courchene base hit in the fourth, and Plymouth plated one in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly, stretching the lead to 6-2.

In the bottom of the frame, Alton scratched out another run. With two outs, Lee doubled to right center and then scored on Reed's double to right center, making it 6-3. Matt Mangum walked, but Reed was caught stealing to end the inning.

Penney surrendered a two-run homer in the top of the sixth, but again, his team came back in the bottom of the inning.

Courchene lined a two-out base hit and DiPrizio walked to put two runners on. Hussey followed with a base hit to make it 8-4.

Plymouth replaced pitcher Michael Larson in the seventh and Alton came out swinging. With two outs, Mangum walked and Miller reached on an error. Wes Fisher walked to load the bases and Courchene plated two runs with a base hit, making it 8-6.

Lee took over on the mound in the top of the eighth and gave up one run before an out was recorded, but settled down and got out of the inning without anymore damage.

Plymouth plated another run in the top of the ninth, taking a 10-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth, when things turned around for Alton.

Reed led off with a homer, cutting the lead to 10-7. Two outs later, Fisher worked a walk and Courchene lined his third hit of the night, putting two runners on for DiPrizio.

The Alton shortstop then lined a shot down the left field line and over the fence, tying the game at 10.

With one out in the 10th, two Plymouth batters reached, but Lee made a diving catch of a bunt attempt, doubling the runner off first for an inning-ending double play.

He then struck out two batters in the 11th and in the bottom of the frame, Alton got the run they needed.

Mangum reached on an error to start the inning and Miller was intentionally walked. Fisher followed by laying down a beautiful two-strike bunt, moving both runners up a base. Courchene was intentionally walked to load the bases and DiPrizio sent Mangum home with the winning run with a bloop hit down the right field line.

"They had us down at the beginning, but we fought back, one run here, one run there to stay in it," said Noyes.

Noyes praised Fisher for getting down the two-strike bunt after missing on the first two chances he had.

"It's a risk, but he got it to the first base side and moved them up," Noyes said.

The Alton coach also had nothing but praise for his pitchers.

"Tyler hung tough for us, and you can't say enough about Kevin," Noyes pointed out, as both pitchers got stronger as their outings went along.

The team was supposed to play July 7 and 8, but both games were postponed by rain. The only other contest of the week came on Thursday, July 9, at Manchester's Gill Stadium against Post #79.

The hosts scored one run in each of the first four innings to take an early 4-0 lead against DiPrizio, who pitched the first six innings, allowing seven hits before yielding to Reed, who retired six of the seven batters he faced.

Alton scored twice in the fifth, as Penney tripled and scored on a Runnals sacrifice fly. Gonya also tripled, knocking in Hussey, who had singled.

In the seventh, base hits by Hussey and Gonya again produced a run, and in the final inning, Alton threatened to tie the game at four, or even take the lead.

Will Chase led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Matt Apkarian ran at first and a walk to Mangum put two runners on with nobody out. However, a strikeout and a line drive that turned into a double play ended Alton's hopes.

"That's baseball," Noyes said. "We couldn't string a couple of hits together again. We kept popping the ball up."

Alton will host Plaistow today, July 16, at 5 p.m. in the final home game of the season. The team will head to Portsmouth on Friday, July 10, for a 5 p.m. game and will head to Plaistow on Saturday, July 18, for a 4 p.m. game to end the regular season.

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