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MWV eliminated in marathon battle

CASEY SANDMAN connects for a base hit in MWVs marathon match with North Country in tournament action. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 18, 2011
NEW DURHAM — It seemed as if the end of the District Five tournament would never come to an end for the Mount Washington Valley Babe Ruth squad.

The team rallied to win its third game in the final inning, then took another to 11 innings, forcing a stoppage of play due to darkness, before finally falling to eventual champion North Country.

After splitting the first two games over the previous weekend, the MWV boys returned to New Durham on Monday, July 11, to take on Twin Rivers. Twin Rivers pitcher Dahlton Fairbanks had dominated Kingswood in the opening round game, striking out 11 in five innings, but the MWV boys had a bit more luck against him.

Twin Rivers struck first, taking advantage of an error and a hit to plate a run in the top of the first inning against MWV starter Ben Garner.

Fairbanks was fairly efficient for Twin Rivers, striking out two in the first and two more in the second, while allowing only a Christian Rivers walk over the first two innings.

Twin Rivers capitalized on a MWV error in the top of the third, pushing two more runs across the plate to grab a 3-0 lead before MWV got on the board.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, Frankie Drew worked a walk and William Chick followed with a base hit, with Drew coming around to score on an error to cut the lead to 3-1.

Drew took over pitching duties in the bottom of the fourth and surrendered a walk, but a 4-3-5 double play helped get him out of trouble. The ball was grounded to second, where Mike Mosher fielded it and threw to Casey Sandman at first. The lead runner tried taking third and Sandman's throw to Rivers cut him down at third to end the inning.

MWV cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning. Derek Roberts led off with a base hit and took second on a wild pitch. Sandman grounded out to move Roberts to third and a pickoff error allowed him to score to make it 3-2.

Twin Rivers got one run back in the top of the fifth to up the lead to 4-2. MWV got infield hits from Drew and Chick in the bottom of the inning, but a runner's interference call got Twin Rivers out of the inning.

Drew surrendered a base hit in the sixth, but left the runner on and MWV came up with a couple key hits of their own in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Roberts doubled and Dan Nash took over at second. Sandman then delivered a base hit to plate Nash and one out later, Garner delivered a base hit to plate Sandman, tying the game at four.

Roberts came on to pitch the top of the seventh and set Twin Rivers down in order, setting up a dramatic finish for the MWV boys.

Drew led off the inning with a bloop hit, but he was forced at second on a grounder to short by Chick. Chick then stole second and third, but he was gunned down at the plate trying to score on a grounder to short by Tyler Eldridge. Eldridge took second on the play and moved to third when Roberts reached on an error. Sandman followed by lining a shot over the shortstop's head to plate Eldridge with the winning run.

Living to see another day, MWV returned to New Durham on Tuesday, July 12, to take on North Country, who had delivered a 6-1 beating to the Valley boys in the tourney's first game.

This time around, it was a bit closer, to say the least.

Drew got the start on the hill for MWV and his teammates got him some support in the top of the second inning. With one out, Rivers worked a walk and stole second. David Farinella (who's name we inadvertedly left off the roster in last week's story) walked, but Rivers was got trying to steal third. Jacob Remick worked a walk and an infield hit by Nash plated MWV's first run. Drew then reached on an error to drive in two more runs and MWV had the 3-0 lead.

North Country rallied in the bottom of the inning, plating one run to cut the lead to 3-1, but Drew got out of trouble with a grounder to second to end the inning.

MWV answered right back in the top of the third, as Roberts led off with a walk and Jacob Cameron ran at first. One out later, Cameron was forced at second on a grounder to short by Rivers, but Rivers came around to score when Farinella laced a triple to right center field to make it a 4-1 game.

North Country came storming back in the bottom of the third inning, taking advantage of an error, a walk, a couple of hits and a wild pitch to take a 5-4 lead.

MWV didn't stay down long, as Nash beat out an infield hit to open the top of the fourth and Drew followed with a base hit. Chick grounded out, but Nash scampered home with the tying run.

North Country went up again in the fourth inning, again getting an error and a wild pitch to help out a bit to pull ahead by a 6-5 score.

MWV got a Remick walk in the fifth but couldn't score and Roberts came on to pitch in the bottom of the fifth, striking out the side. Chick walked with one out in the sixth and stole second, but he was stranded.

Roberts pitched around a base hit and a walk in the bottom of the inning and MWV came up big in the seventh again. Mike Mosher started the inning with a walk and Rivers lined a base hit to right field. Remick followed with a fly ball to center, plating Mosher with the tying run.

Roberts pitched around a walk in the bottom of the inning and the teams went to extra frames, where MWV had two chances to take the lead and just missed out.

In the top of the eighth, Drew led off with a base hit and stole second. He took third on a sacrifice bunt by Chick. Eldridge flied to right and Drew tagged up at third and sprinted for home. The throw, however, was solid and the North Country catcher got the tag on Drew before he reached the plate and the inning was over.

Roberts gave up a bloop hit and a walk in the bottom of the eighth, but got a strikeout to get out of the inning and MWV put runners on again in the ninth. Roberts walked to start the inning and stole second. One out later, Rivers bounced back to the mound and the alert North Country pitcher caught Roberts in a rundown between second and third, eventually throwing him out. On the next play, Rivers was gunned down stealing second and the inning was over.

Roberts gave up a walk in the bottom of the ninth, but pitched around it. However, the umpires ruled that the darkness was getting to be a bit much and the decision was made to suspend the game.

The two teams returned to New Durham on Wednesday, July 13, to conclude the game, with the winner facing Farmington for the title at the conclusion of the game.

Remick got a one-out walk in the op of the 10th, but he was caught in a double play to end the inning. Roberts struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th and in the 11th, MWV threatened again. Tyler Eaton led off with a walk and Chick followed with another walk. Eldridge grounded to second to move both runners up and Roberts worked a walk to load the bases. However, a strikeout and a pop fly to short got North Country out of the inning.

Farinella took over on the hill in the bottom of the 11th and the first batter worked a walk. He was sacrificed over and an error allowed the runner to come all the way around to score and give North Country the win.

Roberts, playing first base in the final inning, had to be taken off the field in an ambulance at the conclusion of the game, suffering a torn ligament in his leg as he stretched to make a play on the final play of the game.

The MWV team was coached by Jim Eldridge, Rick West and Rick Roberts and the roster included Frankie Drew, William Chick, Tyler Eldridge, Derek Roberts, Casey Sandman, Ben Garner, Christian Rivers, Jacob Remick, Dan Nash, Tyler Eaton, Nate Howard, Cam Kennedy, Jacob Cameron, Mike Mosher, Dillon Sanborn and David Farinella.

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