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Joyce Endee

Big inning propels Eagles past Knights

KENNETT’S NICK MASSA crosses the plate with a run as Kingswood catcher Dave Hersey awaits the throw during action Thursday in New Durham. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2011
NEW DURHAM — The Kennett Eagles broke the game open with six runs in the top of the fifth to push past the Kingswood baseball boys by a 10-5 score on Thursday, May 5, in New Durham.

Both teams scored early and Kingswood kept the lead until the fifth, when the Kennett bats came alive again, and the Knights weren't able to catch up.

"We hit the ball well but we've been having a rough time every now and then," Kennett coach Bob Burns said. "But today we got good pitching and a couple of gems on defense to go with that."

"What it comes down to is who makes the plays," Kingswood coach Chip Skelley said. "It was a good game up to that point (fifth)."

Kennett plated two runs in the top of the first inning against Kingswood starter Tom Melnik. Base hits from Austin Weber, Sean Perley, Nick Kevlin and Josh Drew helped push across two runs.

Kingswood responded by plating three in the first against Kennett hurler Nick Massa. Doubles from Cole Swancott and Slayd Dore and base hits from Jake Stout and Tim Campbell pushed across the runs for the Knights.

Kennett then tied the game in the top of the second. Vince Patch walked and base hits from Weber and Alex Milford drove him home to tie the contest at three.

Kingswood pulled back in front with a run in the third inning, taking a 4-3 lead to the fourth.

Matt Gadomski reached on an error to open the top of the fourth, but a strikeout from Melnik and two grounders to Dore at shortstop closed out the inning.

Kingswood also threatened, but a great grab at first by Scott Connor and a great play by Milford at shortstop helped nullify an error that allowed Swancott to reach. Drew also threw out the Kingswood DH trying to steal second.

Then Kennett came to life in the fifth.

Massa had a base hit to start the inning and Perley walked. After a passed ball moved them both up, Kevlin grounded out to plate Massa with a run, tying the game at four. A Drew groundout allowed Perley to score to give Kennett the lead. A Connor base hit, a Gadomski walk and a base hit by Patch pushed across another run for a 6-4 lead for the Eagles.

Brad Riley then replaced Melnik on the hill for Kingswood and Weber greeted him with a walk, Milford then followed with a double to plate three runs, giving the Eagles a 9-4 lead. Riley struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.

Dave Hersey led off with a double for Kingswood in the bottom of the inning, but Massa got a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to get out of the jam.

After Phil Erwin made a nice play in center to open the top of the sixth, Kevlin doubled and a Drew base hit drove him home to push the lead to 10-4. Connor followed with a base hit, but Riley got a pop up and a strikeout to get out of the inning.

Joe Irvine opened the bottom of the inning with a base hit for the Knights and Riley followed with his first varsity hit, a double that chased home Irvine to cut the lead to 10-5. One out later, Swancott grounded out to move Riley to third, but Dore was called out on a swinging third strike on an appeal. The field umpire was between second and third base and called Dore's attempt a swing, though photographic proof revealed otherwise.

Dore made a nice play at short to help Riley get out of a little trouble in the top of the seventh, but Kevlin took over on the mound in the bottom of the inning and shut down the Knights, striking out the final two batters to seal the win.

"We've got a tough group of kids, they can come back," Burns noted. "I am real pleased with the performances as it was not the best day for baseball.

"We've lost some ballgames, so we have to start winning," the veteran coach continued.

"One inning, it comes down to that," Skelley said. "We have to beat the teams that are around us."

He noted that it was nice to see Riley pick up his first varsity hit as well.

"That's a young kid pushing for playing time," Skelley stated.

Both teams had productive games earlier in the week. Kennett traveled to White Mountains and came home with an 11-3 win on Monday, May 2.

Kevlin went five innings to pick up the win as the Eagle bats were strong.

"When you have a few runs to work with, it's easier," Burns stated. "We're playing better ball because we're getting on the diamond. That makes a difference."

The Knights needed a little drama to pick up a 6-5 win over Coe-Brown on Monday, May 2.

The Bears threatened in the seventh inning, but Erwin gunned a cutoff throw from left field and cut down the runner at the plate to end the game.

"The umpire stayed right there and stayed right there," Skelley said, noting he thought the runner was going to be called safe before the out call was made.

Erwin had a two-run single, scored twice and stole three bases to lead the Knights offensively.

Kingswood had a busy week in store, with games after deadline against Oyster River and St. Thomas, before heading to Kennett for a rematch.

Kennett was taking on Plymouth and Oyster River before welcoming the Knights to North Conway.

The two teams will do battle on Friday, May 13, at 4:15 p.m. in North Conway. After that, the Eagles head to Coe-Brown on Monday, May 16, for a 4:15 p.m. game and host Merrimack Valley for a 4:15 p.m. contest on Wednesday, May 18.

The Knights will host Pembroke at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, May 16, and host Plymouth at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18. The Knights also host Souhegan in a makeup game on Thursday, May 19, at 4 p.m.

JV action

The Kingswood JV boys swept a doubleheader from the Eagles on Friday, May 6, in New Durham.

Joel Stout started for the Knights in the first game and picked up the win in a 3-1 decision.

Mike Marzerka got the start on the hill in the second game and got some help from his defense with a double play for the 6-3 win. Asa Stockton closed out the game for the Knights.

Martin Lord & Osman
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