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Joyce Endee

Impressive doubleheader sweep for Belmont baseball

Sophomore Bret Spaulding delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of game one against Belmont on May 17 in Meredith. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 23, 2011
MEREDITH If the Belmont High School baseball season has been full of ups and downs, May 17 in Meredith was most definitely part of the former, as the Red Raiders stormed into Prescott Park and left town with not one, but two wins, completing the doubleheader sweep against a very good Inter-Lakes High School team.

"You're looking up at a team like Inter-Lakes in the standings and you know they're a good team so it was a huge day," said Belmont coach Matt LeBlanc. "We came in and were poised all day. We didn't get rattled by any errors that were made and we just kept hitting. Against a team like Inter-Lakes, you need that poise and composure so it gives us confidence going forward."

The Raiders improved to 7-7 on the year with the wins, as they took game one 6-2 and followed with a convincing mercy rule 12-2 victory in the night cap.

Sophomore Bret Spaulding got Belmont off on the right foot in game one, as he tossed his best effort of the year on the mound, striking out seven and allowing just three hits in the complete game effort.

"Absolutely his best game all year," LeBlanc said. "He had really good command and located his pitches well and that's really his strong point."

While Spaulding was mowing down a strong Inter-Lakes offense, the Raiders pieced together some runs to back him up. In a scoreless game, Richie Perez led off the fourth inning with a single and stole second and third base. Shaun Guertin followed with an RBI single to give Belmont a 1-0 lead.

The lead grew to 3-0 in the fifth, when Kaleb Brace drove in Spaulding on an RBI single of his own and scored on an outstanding bunt from Jake Bryant two batters later.

Inter-Lakes came back with two runs in the fifth, taking advantage of a pair of Belmont error to get within one at 3-2. But the Raiders put the game out of reach in the sixth, as Taylor Morrill and Spaulding had RBI singles and Josh Romprey drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to put the visitors ahead for good en route to the 6-2 win.

Game one did feature a 30-minute rain delay in the sixth inning, as the tarps were put on the field during a downpour. But when the clouds cleared a bit, the teams were able to get in the second contest, and Belmont took control immediately.

The Raiders scored four in the first and two in the second to take a commanding 6-0 lead. While starter Bobby Cozzens ran into some trouble in the third, Ian Shaw came on in relief and shut the door as the win came in just five innings due to the 10-run victory.

"(Ian)'s been like that all year, just throwing strikes when we need him to," LeBlanc said. "It's a bonus for us when he can come in and throw strikes and let our defense do our thing."

Eight different players recorded hits in the game two win, led by Spaulding's perfect 3-for-3 day. Morrill drove in three runs in the game, while Austin Wilder and Shaw also registered three RBI.

One department Belmont came up huge in was on the base paths, as the Raiders stole 26 bases between the two wins.

"One of the things we always try to do is be aggressive," explained LeBlanc. "We had the opportunity to be aggressive and we definitely took advantage. When you apply pressure like that it only leads to good things and makes your offense that much more dangerous."

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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