Suncook's title bid comes up short



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THE SUNCOOK VALLEY 10U team finished as the District Eight runners up. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 04, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Suncook Valley 10U squad coach Bryant Courtemanche was hoping to recreate a little history with this year's team. The coach was on a team that won the district title in 2003 with his grandfather, Bob Vaillancourt, serving as one of the coaches.

Through the first five games of the District Eight tournament in Wolfeboro, it looked like Courtemanche would succeed, with Vaillancourt by his side as an assistant coach.

However, Mount Washington Valley had other ideas and won two out of three games in the finals to win the district title.

Suncook Valley finished up the round robin portion of the tournament on Monday, June 27, with a game against Carroll County, looking to go 5-0 in that portion.

Suncook got off to a quick start, with Kyle Roukey and Matt Place reaching on errors to open the game. One out later, a wild pitch allowed both runners to score. Travis Stockman ripped a triple and scored on an error for a 3-0 lead. Ryan Burns walked and stole two bases and scampered home on an error for a 4-0 lead.

Suncook starter Place gave up a bunt hit in the bottom of the first inning, but got out of trouble by striking out two batters.

Suncook added three more in the second. Jake Ardine led off with a base hit and Roukey walked. Place followed with a base hit and an error plated Ardine. Casey Clark then drove in the next two runners for a 7-0 lead.

Carroll County finally got on the board in the second, taking advantage of a couple of walks and a few hits to push across five runs to cut the lead to 7-5.

Suncook responded quickly in the top of the third. Burns led off with a base hit and Jake Lehoullier ripped a homer for a 9-5 lead. Base hits from Ardine and David Langton led to a pitching change and Dillon McCann reached on an error to drive home both runners. Jacob Jensen beat out an infield hit to plate another run and after a groundout by Stockman moved the runners up, an infield hit by Burns made it 14-5. Lehoullier was hit by a pitch and Ardine lined a base hit to make it 16-5. A groundout from Langton upped the lead to 17-5.

Carroll County came back with two runs in the bottom of the third against McCann, cutting the lead to 17-7. Suncook couldn't plate any runs in the fourth, but Lehoullier struck out two in the bottom of the fourth and got a nice grab from Ardine on a line drive to first to end the game with the 17-7 win.

The win moved Suncook Valley to 5-0 on the round robin portion, putting the team in the finals against Mount Washington Valley on Tuesday, June 28.

Bryan Delaney got the start on the hill for Suncook Valley in the first game of the best-of-three finals and MWV pushed across a run in the top of the first for an early lead.

McCann walked and Clark reached on an error in the bottom of the first, but both runners were stranded.

Delaney struck out the side in the top of the second, though he pitched around a walk and an error in order to do so. Suncook got a two-out triple from Burns in the bottom of the second, but he was stranded as well.

MWV pushed across two more runs in the top of the third inning, taking advantage of an error by Suncook Valley. Clark did make a nice play on a grounder in front of the plate to open the inning.

McCann drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the third and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Delaney, but he was stranded and MWV pushed across three more runs in the top of the fourth against Delaney before Casey Fleming took over on the hill to get out of the inning.

Lehoullier had a base hit in the fourth but was stranded and Fleming pitched around a hit in the fifth.

Suncook finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Connor Blandini and McCann both walked and Blandini scampered home on a groundout by Delaney to make it 6-1.

MWV pushed across two more in the top of the sixth for an 8-1 lead. Suncook put two runners on in the bottom of the inning, as Lehoullier reached on an error and Stockman walked, but Suncook couldn't plate the runners and MWV had the 8-1 win.

After a short break, the two teams got back on the field and this time Blandini got the start on the hill for Suncook Valley.

Suncook got off to a quick start in the top of the first inning. Blandini led off with a double and scored on a base hit by Delaney. Clark walked and a base hit by Fleming pushed across another runner for a 2-0 lead.

Blandini walked two in the bottom of the first but worked around those walks with a pair of strikeouts.

Suncook went quietly in the second but MWV came back with one run in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a couple of walks and a hit batsman. Suncook went in order in the third as well, but Blandini returned the favor by sending MWV down in order in the bottom of the inning.

Suncook's bats struggled again in the fourth, going in order and Blandini worked around a leadoff hit in the bottom of the fourth.

The fifth inning was much better for Suncook. Jensen led off with a walk and after a pair of wild pitches, Roukey also walked. Blandini was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Ardine was also hit by a pitch to plate another run, with Place running at first base. A base hit from Delaney made it 4-1 and a wild pitch pushed across another run. Clark reached on an error and a fielder's choice by Langton plated two runs for a 7-1 lead. A wild pitch pushed across another run for an 8-1 lead.

Blandini got some nice defensive help from Delaney at shortstop in the bottom of the fifth and also got a strikeout to get out of the inning.

Suncook came back with another run in the top of the sixth. With one out, Blandini walked and stole second and McCann also walked. Delaney hit into a force play, eliminating Blandini at third, but Clark followed with a base hit to make it 9-1.

Lehoullier came on in the top of the sixth and set the side in order, picking up two strikeouts to close out the 9-1 win.

With the split of the first two games, the two teams had to return to Wolfeboro on Wednesday, June 29, for the deciding game.

MWV came out swinging against Clark in the top of the first inning, plating three runs while taking advantage of a couple of Suncook Valley errors.

Suncook went quietly in the bottom of the first and Delaney came on to pitch in the second inning. MWV pushed across three more runs to up the lead to 6-0, again taking advantage of an error.

Suncook finally got on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Clark walked and Fleming had a base hit. Two outs later, McCann lined a base hit to plate Clark, though Fleming was gunned down at the plate trying to score.

Blandini made a nice defensive play in the top of the third to help Delaney get through the frame and Suncook came back with another run in the bottom of the inning. Roukey led off with a base hit and two outs later, Delaney followed with a base hit to make it 6-2.

MWV put three runners on base in the top of the fourth, including one on an intentional walk, but Delaney got out of trouble by striking out the side, including two with the bases loaded.

Suncook went in order in the bottom of the fourth and Delaney struck out the side again in the top of the fifth.

Roukey had base hit in the bottom of the fifth, but he was doubled off first on a nice play by the MWV first baseman.

MWV pushed across a couple more runs in the sixth against Blandini and Lehoullier, stretching the lead to 9-2. However, Clark got his team out of trouble by throwing out a runner trying to steal third to end the inning.

Suncook rallied in the bottom of the sixth. Lehoullier started with a base hit and Delaney followed with another hit. Clark's base hit scored two runs and a pickoff error allowed Clark to score to cut the lead to 9-5. However, the MWV pitcher settled down to get the next three batters to end the game and give MWV the championship.

Suncook Valley was coached by Bryant Courtemanche, Bob Vaillancourt and Rodney Stockman. The roster included Connor Blandini, Dillon McCann, Bryan Delaney, Casey Clark, Casey Fleming, Jake Lehoullier, Jacob Jensen, Travis Stockman, Kyle Roukey, David Langton, Jake Ardine, Matt Place and Ryan Burns.

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