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Joyce Endee

Eagle baseball boys best Knights for second time

BRAD RILEY appears to beat the tag of Kennett first baseman Scott Conner, but was called out on a pickoff move in action in North Conway on May 13. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 16, 2011
NORTH CONWAY — For the second time in just more than a week, the Kennett and Kingswood baseball teams got locked into a good game.

And for the second time in just more than a week, the Kennett boys came out on top, this time squeezing out a 4-1 win over the Knights in North Conway on Friday, May 13.

Nick Kevlin took the ball for the Eagles, while Kingswood countered with Slayd Dore and the game moved along pretty quickly from the start.

Kevlin got a strikeout in the first inning and Dore got help from his defense. After Austin Weber led off with a base hit and was forced at second on a grounder by Milford, catcher Dave Hersey gunned down Milford trying to steal second.

Kevlin recorded another strikeout in the top of the second and in the bottom of the inning the Kingswood defense again shined, but this time the shining moment came a batter too late.

Sean Perley reached on an error to start the inning and Josh Drew singled. A sacrifice fly by Kevlin moved Perley to third and an infield hit by Scott Conner plated the first run of the game.

However, the Kingswood defense bailed out Dore with a nifty 6-4-3 double play turned by Phil Erwin, Tom Berry and Tim Campbell.

Kingswood promptly came back and tied the game in the top of the third. Campbell started things with a walk and one out later, Joe Irvine lined a base hit. After Erwin walked to load the bases, Hersey lifted a fly ball to left. Campbell tagged and trotted home with the tying run.

Dore got a strikeout in the bottom of the third and also got a nice scoop from Campbell on a throw to close out the inning.

Chad Peterson reached on an error to open the top of the fourth, but the Knights couldn't bring him home and Kennett took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Perley lined a base hit and Drew followed with a base hit, moving Perley to third. Drew then got caught in a rundown between first and second and Perley dashed home with the go-ahead run.

Walks to Brad Riley and Irvine put two runners on in the Kingswood fifth, but Kevlin got out of the jam with a strikeout.

Kingswood's best chance came in the sixth. With one out, Cole Swancott worked a walk and Peterson laced a base hit. Tom Melnik bunted and beat out the throw, loading the bases with just one out.

Kevlin got a strikeout and a grounder to short to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, back-to-back base hits by Milford and Nick Massa put two runners on and a Perley sacrifice bunt moved both runners up. Drew then drove them both in with a base hit. Kevlin was hit by a pitch, but the Kingswood defense came up with its second double play of the night to end the inning.

Pat Smith caught a fly ball to deep left. Drew tagged up from second and Smith hit Erwin on the cutoff and the shortstop gunned a throw to Peterson at third, who applied the tag for the third out of the inning.

Erwin walked in the top of the seventh and stole second. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Hersey, but the Knights couldn't get him home and the Eagles took the 4-1 win.

"That was a good game on both sides," Kennett coach Bob Burns said. "There were some good plays."

"We made a lot of mistakes at the plate," Kingswood coach Chip Skelley stated. "We could've got some walks and we did a lot of little things poorly."

He noted that the Knights missed bunts in the key sixth inning, which hurt their chances of taking the lead.

"Chip does a good job with them, they don't make many mistakes so you're going to have to do what we did, which is get the clutch hit," Burns said. "That was a big win for us, it gets us back to .500."

Burns noted it was big for his team to bounce back after a loss at Oyster River two days earlier and credited Kevlin with a solid outing to help lead the team.

"I thought Kevlin pitched a gutsy game," Burns said. "That was a huge K in the sixth. The bases loaded and one out at the point of the game, that's crucial."

For the Knights, the Kennett game was the end of a tough week that saw them drop a 4-2 decision to Oyster River and a 10-2 decision at St. Thomas.

"Both games had big innings from them," Skelley said.

In the St. Thomas game, Peterson had three hits and Dore had four, but the rest of the lineup produced zero hits.

"We can't play that type of game with just one or two guys," Skelley said.

Wes Fisher did pitch well in relief at St. Thomas, giving up just a couple of runs.

Kennett split its earlier games, falling to Oyster River by a 7-5 score and besting Plymouth by a 9-5 tally.

Kingswood finishes the season with a home game today, May 19, at 4 p.m. against Souhegan. On Monday, May 23, the Knights head to Laconia for a 4:15 p.m. game and on Thursday, May 26, they wrap up the regular season with a 4:15 p.m. game with Goffstown.

Kennett will host Laconia on Friday, May 20, at 4:15 p.m., then travels to Laconia for a 4:15 p.m. contest on Tuesday, May 24. The Eagles wrap up the regular season on Wednesday, May 25, at home against St. Thomas at 4:15 p.m.

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