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Joyce Endee

Red Raiders baseball captures two wins in double dip with Gilford

Chris Brace started both games of Belmont’s doubleheader on May 2, as the Red Raiders swept Gilford. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2011
GILFORD – With two games on the bill, May 2 in Gilford was an important date on the schedule for the Belmont High School and Gilford High School baseball teams. Despite playing both games on the road, it was the Red Raiders who got out of town with a pair of wins, as Belmont swept the doubleheader with 11-1 and 7-3 wins at Gilford Village Park.

"Two wins was big for us today," said BHS coach Matt LeBlanc. "After that bad loss to Somersworth last week, we wanted to get back and play right away so it feels good to get back in the win column."

While the first game saw Gilford score an early run then Belmont erupted to pull out the 10-run win, game two was a much different game. Gilford starter Phil Gangi was on his game early on, as he allowed just one hit in the first three innings, keeping Belmont off the scoreboard.

On the other side, Belmont pitcher Chris Brace started both contests, picking up the win in game one before tossing the first three innings in the night-cap.

"Chris ended up just over 100 pitches for the day so he gave us great production," said LeBlanc. "We have a lot of games this week so for him to give us eight innings total, that was big."

The Golden Eagles struck first in game two, as Cameron McGonagle walked and moved to second on a Connor Brullotte sacrifice bunt in the third inning. With two outs, leadoff batter Gunnar Stecher lined a single up the middle, scoring McGonagle to give Gilford a 1-0 lead.

But like it did in game one, Belmont had a quick answer. In the top of the fourth, Brace led off with a single. Bobby Cozzens singled to right and his shot got past the right fielder, allowing Brace to come all the way around and tie the game while Cozzens motored into third base. Catcher Taylor Morrill bunted Cozzens in, as the throw from Gangi to Stecher wasn't in time and Belmont led 2-1. The Red Raiders weren't done however, as the squad put up all seven of their runs in the frame, with Austin Wilder and Brace each driving in two runs with singles.

"We spotted them a run each game but then we hit and scored runs like we are capable of doing," LeBlanc said.

The Golden Eagles battled back in the sixth inning, as Sean Callinan's fly ball to right field was dropped, giving Gilford bases loaded with no outs. Ben Whitaker's bomb was caught just shy of the fence in deep left field, and his sac fly cut the deficit to 7-2. Gangi would follow with an RBI groundout as Gilford wasn't able to get any closer than 7-3.

"We played a little better defensively in game two but if we want to start winning games, we have to be more consistent with our defense," said Gilford skipper John Lord. "We made some mistakes in that fourth inning and that's been our problem all year long."

Ian Shaw came on in relief of Brace to grab the win for Belmont in game two while Gangi went the distance for the Golden Eagles in defeat.

"We've got enough arms to sustain having to play so many games now," said LeBlanc. "We've got dependable guys who can give you innings and especially when you play a doubleheader, you need that kind of production."

Brace, Wilder and Cozzens led Belmont offensively with two hits apiece, while Stecher's single was the lone Gilford hit of game two.

Derek Malburne and Callinan combined to pitch game one for the Golden Eagles, as the squad dropped to 0-6 with the losses.

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