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Plymouth wins 12U district title

The Plymouth 12U Cal Ripken team celebrates its District Eight championship Wednesday night in Wolfeboro. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 04, 2011
WOLFEBORO — For the second year in a row, the Plymouth 12U Cal Ripken team is going to the state championship.

This time, however, the boys are going as district championships.

After getting a bid last year as the District Six runners-up, Plymouth played its way in this year by besting defending champion Mount Washington Valley by a 9-2 score in the final game of the District Eight tournament in Wolfeboro on Wednesday, June 29.

After taking three of four games over the weekend (see last week's edition), Plymouth returned to Wolfeboro on Monday night for the final round-robin game, where they met up with winless Farmington.

In the early going, Farmington didn't make things easy, as Plymouth was kept off the board for the first two innings.

Sam Slaughter had a double in the first inning and Bailey Nangle had a base hit in the second, but neither runner advanced. Farmington threatened in the bottom of the second against Plymouth starter Harry Shamberger, getting a walk and a base hit sandwiched around a strikeout, but catcher Henry Day threw out the lead runner trying to steal third, which came back to haunt Farmington, as the next runner lined a base hit that would've given them the lead. Shamberger induced a pop fly to end the inning.

And then the Plymouth bats came to life.

Dylan Donahue led off the top of the third with a walk and Ethan Lauriat put down a bunt that wasn't fielded cleanly, allowing him to reach. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base and Garrett Macomber entered to run for Lauriat at second. Slaughter followed with a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. Shamberger beat out an infield hit and Cameron Maglio walked to load the bases. A wild pitch plated Macomber and one out later, Nangle reached on an error, allowing two runs to score for a 4-0 lead. Josh Johnston had a base hit and Tyler Mersch beat out an infield hit, but an error allowed two more runs to score and Plymouth had a 6-0 lead before the side was finally retired.

Slaughter took over the pitching duties in the bottom of the third and sent Farmington down in order.

Lauriat walked to open the fourth, but was forced at second on a grounder by Shamberger and Plymouth didn't score.

Farmington had perhaps its best chance in the fourth, as the first three batters had base hits to load the bases with nobody out. Slaughter bounced back, however, striking out the next three to get out of the jam.

Plymouth then did more damage with the bats. Day doubled to open the inning and Nnagle followed with a base hit, with CJ Dodge taking over on the bases. A wild pitch moved Dodge up and a base hit from Johnston plated both runners. Mersch walked and another wild pitch moved runners up before Donahue beat out an infield hit to plate another run. Lauriat doubled to bring home two more and Ryan Finkle was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in another. A wild pitch eventually scored another and Plymouth was up 13-0.

Farmington did manage two runs against Harrison Macomber in the fifth, as a two-run homer cleared the fence with two outs, but that was all Farmington got and Plymouth advanced to the finals as the top seed in the division at 4-1.

The finals were a best two-out-of-three format and Plymouth and Mount Washington Valley returned to Wolfeboro on Tuesday, June 28, for the first two games.

MWV got things started in the top of the first against Day, as a two-out triple and an error allowed them to take a 1-0 lead.

Plymouth came right back in the bottom of the inning, as Slaughter led off with a base hit and Shamberger beat out an infield hit. Maglio blooped a base hit to right to plate Slaughter to tie the game. MWV made a pitching change and the new pitcher set down the next three in order to end the threat.

However, sloppy defense came back to bite MWV in the bottom of the second, as walks to Donahue, Slaughter and Shamberger loaded the bases and Maglio's grounder was booted, allowing two runners to scamper home for a 3-1 Plymouth lead.

Day got some defensive help from Shamberger at shortstop in the top of the third and Plymouth looked for more in the bottom of the fourth. Lauriat led off the inning with a walk and Dodge ran at first. However, he was picked off first for the second out of the inning. Shamberger also walked, but he was stranded on the bases.

Plymouth threatened again in the fifth, as Day reached on an error and Nangle had a base hit, with Garrett Macomber running at first. A fielder's choice from Johnston loaded the bases with nobody out, but a strikeout, 5-2 force and a grounder to the mound ended the inning.

However, Day didn't need any more runs, as he got a nice grab from Johnston in left field in the top of the sixth and sent MWV down in order, giving Plymouth the 3-1 win.

After a short break, the two teams returned to the field for another game.

Mount Washington Valley scored first, plating one in the top of the first inning, thanks in large part to a pickoff error. However, Maglio, getting the start on the hill for Plymouth, was spared a 2-0 deficit by a fine play in left field by Johnston on a rocket that appeared to still be moving upward when the Plymouth leftfielder leaped and caught it at the fence for an out.

Slaughter led off the bottom of the inning with a base hit but he was eliminated in a double play. Plymouth turned a smooth 4-6-3 double play of their own in the top of the second, with Nangle making a great scoop at first to complete the twin killing.

Plymouth got base hits from Johnston and Mersch in the bottom of the second and couldn't plate either runner and Maglio pitched around a hit batsman and a walk in the top of the third.

In the bottom of the third, Plymouth finally got on the board. Lauriat led off with a base hit and Garrett Macomber ran at first. Slaughter had a base hit and Shamberger's bunt hit loaded the bases. Maglio then delivered the tying run with a base hit. After a force at the plate for the first out, Nangle reached on an error to give Plymouth a 2-1 lead. A couple of solid defensive plays helped MWV get out of the inning with no more runs crossing the plate.

Plymouth turned another 4-6-3 double play in the top of the fifth, but MWV responded with a 5-3-6 double play in the bottom of the inning.

MWV but the first two runners on base to open the sixth and Plymouth elected to walk the number three hitter intentionally, loading the bases. The next batter laced a base hit to tie the game and two outs later, another base hit drove in two runs and MWV had a 4-2 lead.

Plymouth went quietly in the bottom of the sixth, meaning the two teams were coming back on Wednesday to decide the championship.

Plymouth sent Day to the hill for the final game and MWV doubled its production against him in the bottom of the first inning, scoring twice for a 2-0 lead.

Plymouth put runners on in the top of the first (Maglio and Day) and the second (Johnston and Donahue), but couldn't score a run.

The luck continued in the third, as Slaughter led off with a base hit and moved up on a Shamberger bunt. One out later, Day walked, but MWV got out of trouble to hold on to the 2-0 lead.

Good defense from Mersch helped to keep MWV from scoring in the bottom of the third and in the top of the fourth, Plymouth found its bats.

With one out, Mersch walked and Donahue doubled down the left field line. Lauriat followed with a bunt that was misplayed and the bases were loaded with one out. Slaughter reached on an error to plate one run and Dodge took over at second base for Lauriat. Shamberger reached on an error to push the tying run across. Maglio followed with a grounder to short that appeared to end the inning with a 6-3 double play. However, the MWV shortstop missed second base and the two runners scored for a 4-2 lead before the inning ended.

Day pitched around a walk in the bottom of the fourth and in the fifth, Plymouth added a little insurance.

Nangle reached on an error and Garrett Macomber ran at first. Johnston had a base hit and Mersch walked to load the bases. After a force at the plate for the inning's first out, Lauriat walked to plate a run and Slaughter followed with a grand slam over the fence in left centerfield to make it 9-2. Maglio had a base hit and Day was hit by a pitch, but neither was able to score.

Day set the side down in order in the fifth and pitched around a hit in the sixth to give Plymouth the 9-2 win and the District Eight championship.

The 12U state tournament will take place in Lancaster beginning this weekend. Game times were not known as of deadline.

The Plymouth team was coached by Mike Dodge, Jason Walaskay and Chris Day and the roster includes Sam Slaughter, Harry Shamberger, Cameron Maglio, Bailey Nangle, Josh Johnston, Tyler Mersch, Dylan Donahue, Harrison Macomber, CJ Dodge, Ethan Lauriat, Garrett Macomber and Ryan Finkle.

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