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Valley boys fall one game short of title tilt

AXEL OLSON (far left) is congratulated by his teammates after homering against Hudson on July 14. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 19, 2010
CLAREMONT — The Mount Washington Valley 12U team came up just one game short of the finals in the state tournament last week in Claremont.

After splitting a pair of games over the opening weekend of the tournament, MWV returned to Monadnock Park on Monday, July 12, for a game with Berlin-Gorham.

The two teams battled to a scoreless tie through eight innings of play before MWV came up with three runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Axel Olson was hit by a pitch and Drew McDonald reached on an error. Will Pollard followed with a base hit to plate one run and another run scored on a dribbler by Nate Emerson. Tyler Eaton followed with a triple to make it 3-0 and the lead held up in the bottom of the inning, sending MWV on to the next game.

The next afternoon the boys from the Mount Washington Valley faced off with Connecticut Valley in a rematch of the first game of the tournament, a game MWV won by a 3-1 score.

This time around, however, there was never much doubt about who would come out on top.

With two outs in the first inning, McDonald started the MWV rally with a base hit. Tyler Lund doubled for a 1-0 lead and Pollard doubled to make it 2-0 before Connecticut Valley ever got to the plate.

Lund struck out the side in the bottom of the first inning, pitching around a walk, and MWV tacked on two more runs in the top of the second.

Eaton started the inning with a base hit, but a grounder to second by Kaleb Pepin eliminated Eaton at second. Fritz Carr followed with a sacrifice and Adam Martinese reached on an error to plate Pepin. Back-to-back hits by Olson and McDonald loaded the bases and Lund lined an RBI base hit for a 4-0 lead.

Pollard took over on the hill and pitched around a base hit, striking out two in the inning and getting a nice play from Pepin at shortstop.

In the top of the third, MWV doubled the lead. Emerson led off with a base hit and advanced to third on a pair of passed balls. Eaton walked and both runners moved up on a wild pitch, making it 5-0. After Pepin walked, Carr lined a triple to plate two more runs and Martinese followed with an RBI groundout for an 8-0 MWV lead.

Lund returned to the hill for the third and pitched around a pair of walks to get out of the inning with no runners crossing the plate.

Lund opened the top of the fourth with a walk and moved all the way around the bases on wild pitches, scoring on another wild pitch for a 9-0 lead.

Pollard returned to the hill for the fourth and gave up a leadoff homer before striking out the side to get out of the inning.

MWV went quietly in the fifth and McDonald took over on the mound in the bottom of the inning. Kyle MacDonald made a great catch in right field and Eaton did the same at first base to help keep Connecticut Valley off the scoreboard.

After MWV went quietly in the top of the sixth, Connecticut Valley put a couple runners on base in the bottom of the inning. However, McDonald struck out the final two batters (after a nice play by Carr on a grounder to second) to end the game with the 9-1 win.

The next day MWV met up with Hudson in the losers' bracket finals, with a trip to the championship game on the line.

The game started as a pitchers' duel, as MWV got only an Olson walk in the first and Lund struck out the side in the bottom of the inning.

Pollard and Eaton drew walks in the second, but both were stranded and Pollard set down Hudson in order in the bottom of the inning.

MWV got on the board in the top of the third. With one out, Olson and McDonald had back-to-back base hits. One out later, Pollard reached on an error and Olson scampered home with the game's first run. Emerson looked to add to that lead, but his long fly ball to right was tracked down for the inning's final out.

Hudson answered back in the bottom of the inning. Pollard walked the leadoff batter in the inning and after a force at second, walked another. A delayed steal and a wild pitch made it 1-1 and another walk put two runners on base. The next batter lined a shot toward shortstop that took a wicked hop over Pepin's head and bounced into the gap in the outfield, allowing both runners to score for a 3-1 lead.

Lund replaced Pollard and a double down the right field line plated another run for a 4-1 Hudson lead before Lund struck out the final batter.

With two outs in the top of the fourth, Carr was hit on the head by a Hudson pitch. The ball cracked the MWV second baseman's helmet, but he stayed in the game. However, he was stranded at first.

McDonald took over on the hill in the fourth and after the first batter reached on an error, he got a couple of grounders and a strikeout to end the inning.

Olson led off the fifth with a homer to center to make it 4-2 and after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth, Olson replaced McDonald on the mound. A double that took a wicked hop over Lund's head at third base put two runners in scoring position and the next batter launched a homer that cleared everything in left and appeared on its way to Lebanon, giving Hudson a 7-2 lead. After Olson hit the next two batters, Pepin took the mound and an error and a walk plated another run, bringing Lund back to the hill. After a strikeout, a grounder to third plated another run for a 9-2 lead.

Emerson reached on an error to open the top of the sixth and one out later, Zack Bradley ripped a grounder between shortstop and third. The Hudson shortstop made a great play and a perfect throw to gun down Bradley at first. The Hudson hurler then got a strikeout to end the contest and MWV's run in the state tournament.

The Mount Washington Valley roster includes Kaleb Pepin, Keith Babb, Kyle MacDonald, Drew McDonald, Will Pollard, Tyler Lund, Aaron Lamar, Zack Bradley, Nate Emerson, Nate Lautenschlager, Fritz Carr, Adam Martinese, Axel Olson, Dominic Knox and Tyler Eaton. The team is coached by Erik "Rowdy" Brown, Doc Walker, Adam Martinese and Mandy McDonald and the batboy is Ryan Lund.

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