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Week ends on a good note for Legion kids

JOEY GRASSO (right) accepts congratulations from teammate Ethan Henderson after his hustle produced another run for Alton against Post #79 on July 9. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 13, 2010
ALTON — The week didn't start out all that well for the Alton Post #72 Legion baseball team, but the boys rallied back with two big wins to end the week, putting themselves in a position to battle for a playoff spot entering the final week of the season.

The week ended with a trip to Concord on Saturday and things looked bleak for the local nine, as the Concord hurler didn't allow a hit through the first five innings, walking only two in that time.

Ethan Henderson started on the hill for the Alton boys and pitched pretty well, giving up three runs over five innings, with two of the runs coming after he walked the leadoff batter in the frame.

Tom Parker pitched the sixth and allowed two runs, putting Concord up by a 5-0 score.

Alton got its first hit in the top of the sixth inning, as Jake DiPrizio beat out an infield hit, but it wasn't until the seventh that Post #72 began to push runners across the plate.

Moose Bourdeau led off the top of the seventh with a solo homer to put Alton on the board.

"Seven runs later, they finally got us out," said coach Gary Noyes, Sr., who watched his team put eight runs on the board in the frame to take an 8-5 lead.

After the homer, the next three batters walked and Tyler Penney chased two of them home when he reached on an error. Andrew Hederman lined a base hit up the middle to plate another run and Brendan Hussey reached on an error to score another run. A Nate Gonya fielder's choice led to another run and Bourdeau plated two more runs with a double to finish off the scoring in the seventh.

Alton added two more in the eight inning. Jake Biscoe started the rally with a base hit and Joey Grasso followed with a base hit. Penney plated one run with a base hit and after a Hederman sacrifice, Hussey was hit by a pitch and DiPrizio launched a sacrifice fly to right to make it 10-5.

Alton added one in the ninth, as Bourdeau doubled, Jeff Runnals sacrificed him to third and Biscoe drove him in with a base hit.

Noyes brought in Penney to pitch the final three innings and he closed out the game by allowing only two hits and two walks in the three innings, securing the 11-5 win.

"It was one of those games," Noyes said. "After the first two games of the week, the end of the week turned out better obviously."

Alton hosted Post #79 out of Manchester on Friday, July 9, with a little different look. After two losses earlier in the week, coach Tim DiPrizio suggested the Post #72 boys use the third base dugout at Prospect Mountain High School, which sits more in the shade.

The switch may have been just the thing the boys needed, as they responded in a good way against the first place team from the state's other district.

Post #79 got a run in the top of the first inning against Alton starter DiPrizio, but he got a 6-4-3 double play from Runnals, Biscoe and Penney to get two key outs and a good catch from Hederman in right field to finish off the inning.

Then the bats came to life. Hussey led off the bottom of the inning with a long single off the left field fence. A balk moved him to second and Runnals reached on an error, moving Hussey to third. Bourdeau grounded to shortstop, forcing Runnals, but plating Hussey to tie the game. DiPrizio then lined a base hit to give Alton a 2-1 lead and one out later, Penney added a base hit to make it 3-1 after one inning.

Henderson made a nice grab in left field to start the second inning and DiPrizio pitched around a hit and a walk to get out of the inning with no trouble.

Hussey got a one-out base hit in the second and scored on a Gonya base hit to make it 4-1 after two innings of play.

The city boys plated another run in the third, as a pair of walks and a base hit allowed the run to score, but DiPrizio struck out the next batter to get out of trouble. Alton couldn't capitalize on a Biscoe double in the third, but DiPrizio pitched around a base hit in the fourth to keep the score at 4-2.

Henderson led off the fourth with a base hit and Hussey followed with another base hit. One out later, Gonya forced Hussey at second, but Bourdeau reached on an error to plate Henderson. DiPrizio then doubled home Bourdeau for a 6-2 lead after four innings of play.

Post #79 closed the gap in the top of the fifth. A pair of hits, an error and a wild pitch allowed the visitors to plate two runs and pull within two at 6-4. Alton went quietly in order in the bottom of the inning and Post #79 plated another run in the top of the sixth to pull to within one at 6-5. DiPrizio pitched out of the trouble with a grounder and a strikeout with a runner on second.

Alton went in order again in the bottom of the sixth and Post #79 put the first runner on with a walk in the seventh. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second, but a great stretch at first by Gonya helped to nail the batter. After DiPrizio hit a batter to put runners on first and second, the next batter lined a shot to third. Hussey stabbed the bouncing ball, stepped on third and fired across the diamond to complete the 5-3 double play to end the inning and preserve Alton's lead at 6-5.

Bourdeau doubled to lead off the bottom of the seventh and then scored on a base hit by Biscoe one out later. After another out and a wild pitch, Grasso came to the plate. He lined a shot over the shortstop's head, plating Biscoe from second. The throw came to the plate and Grasso raced to second. As the throw soared past the Post #79 catcher, Grasso headed to third. The catcher tried to gun him down, but the throw soared into the outfield and Grasso raced home for a 9-5 Alton lead.

"That was big, Grasso running the bases," Noyes said, praising the youngster's hustle.

Hussey took over on the hill in the eighth and looked strong, striking out two and getting a grounder to third. Alton then added to the offensive attack in the bottom of the inning. Hussey walked and stole second, then scored on a throwing error for a 10-5 lead. Gonya and Bourdeau had RBI hits to up the lead to 12-5.

Hussey gave up a walk and two base hits in the top of the ninth, then hit a batter and surrendered another base hit, allowing Post #79 to ct the lead to 12-7. Noyes had Henderson warming in the bullpen for Saturday's start, but brought him in to try and close out the game. He gave up a hit and a sacrifice fly to make it 12-9, but a grounder to third forced a runner at home and a popup to second ended the game with a 12-9 win for Alton.

"I sent him down there to get ready for tomorrow," Noyes said of Henderson. "Thank goodness I did."

"Well that was exciting for the fans," Noyes stated. "That's baseball."

The Alton coach stressed the importance of plating the three runs in the first inning, which gave his team a little momentum.

"They were in first place in their division," Noyes said. "You know how many teams are going to thank us?"

Alton traveled to Rochester on Wednesday, July 7, and came away with a 7-3 loss, the key blow coming in the seventh inning, when the hosts got a three-run homer to break the game open a bit.

Exeter came to town to open the week on Tuesday, July 6, and things didn't go Alton's way, as the visitors left with a 13-2 win.

Alton got a nice 4-6-3 double play from Biscoe, DiPrizio and Penney to finish off the first inning and couldn't take advantage of two runners in the bottom of the first, as Hussey walked and Bourdeau reached on an error.

Hederman made a nice grab in right field to help Runnals stay out of trouble in the top of the second, but again, Alton couldn't capitalize on a base runner, as Henderson had a two-out hit in the bottom of the inning.

Exeter got on the board in the third, as a hit, a walk and a pair of two out bloop hits plated three runs. They added a run in the fourth on a base hit, a wild pitch and an infield hit, stretching the lead to 4-0.

Alton got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Bourdeau doubled to open the inning and DiPrizio reached on an error. Bourdeau stole third and scored on a double play by Biscoe to make it 4-1.

Exeter opened up the lead a bit in the fifth. A couple walks, an infield hit and a wild pitch plated one run and a grounder to third pushed across another. Another base hit made it 7-1 but a nice defensive play from DiPrizio at shortstop got Runnals and Post #72 out of the inning with no further damage.

Hussey walked with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and took second on a passed ball. He raced to third on a wild pitch and after Runnals walked, a pickoff error allowed Hussey to score, cutting the lead to 7-2.

Hussey took over on the hill in the sixth and surrendered a couple of base hits, which allowed Exeter to plate another run for an 8-2 lead. A wild pitch after an error made it 9-2.

DiPrizio walked and Biscoe had a base hit in the bottom of the frame, but again Alton couldn't score. Exeter added a run in the seventh on an error and a double for a 10-2 lead.

Alton put runners on in both the seventh and eighth innings. Runnals had a base hit in the seventh but was stranded. In the eighth, Bourdeau was hit by a pitch and DiPrizio singled, but a 3-6-1 double play ended the inning.

Bourdeau came on to pitch the ninth and surrendered three runs to push the lead to 13-2, where it ended.

"I don't think we were ready to play, that's the bottom line," Noyes said. "With a tournament spot on the line, we have got to show up."

He praised the Exeter defense, which seemed to make all the plays on most of Alton's bids for hits.

"We had chances at the beginning of the game and nobody came through for us," Noyes added.

Alton had a big game with Rochester after deadline Monday in the Lilac City.

"We have to beat them to have a shot to get in (the tournament)," Noyes said of the first-place team in the division.

Alton played after deadline Wednesday as well as at home against Portsmouth and will finish up the regular season with a home game against Dover at 5:15 p.m. today, Thursday, July 15.

Littleton Chmber
Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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