Coach Dylan Mullin’s Derry American Legion Post 9 baseball squad experienced an intense high and a frustrating low in its first two contests of the 2014 summer season last week.
The Derry crew, which includes a number of players from the Pinkerton Academy varsity hardball squad that made it all the way to the Division I championship game on Saturday, June 14, hammered its way to a 13-0 demolition of the Exeter Legion squad on the seacoast Thursday, June 19, in the locals’ first game of the season.
But two days later – almost exactly one week to the minute after the PA varsity baseball squad lost to Londonderry High in the D-I title game – the Derry Legion bunch took a 12-2 loss on the chin from a Londonderry Post 27 crew that included a number of players from the state champion LHS contingent.
In the absolute drubbing of Exeter, the Derry squad received a magnificent performance from Pinkerton star Chris Gerossie both on the pitchers’ mound and at the plate.
The skilled righty pitcher twirled a complete game one-hitter with five strikeouts, and in his role as batter Gerossie hammered four hits in four official trips to the plate in contributing to the offensive production.
But the Derry team’s meeting with the Londonderry Legion squad didn’t go anywhere near as well, despite some gutsy pitching work by righty Chase Spears.
Spears wriggled out of early trouble several times, including the first and third frames, in helping his squad to a 1-0 lead.
Londonderry loaded the bases with just one out in the first frame, but Spears managed to get a strikeout and a line-out to end the inning without the hosts scoring.
Derry notched its first run in the top of the third – without the benefit of a hit – against Londonderry pitching ace Rob Del Signore when Joe Murphy reached on a fielder’s choice, stole both second and third, and then sprinted home on a passed ball.
In the bottom of the third, Londonderry got runners on second and third with just one out, but again Spears stranded those runners with a pair of impressive strikeouts.
But the hosts scored four runs on two hits and two Derry errors in the bottom of the fourth, and knocked around two Derry pitchers in the bottom half of the sixth in plating five runs on three hits and one more fielding miscue.
And after Derry plated its second run of the day – on a Spears RBI single – in the top of the seventh, Londonderry kicked the 10-run rule into effect in the bottom of that frame by scoring three more times on four hits and one more Derry error.
The hosts ended up bashing out 13 hits while Derry only managed four, each of which came from a different player.
“That’s a good offensive team, and that’s the level of team we expect to play every single game this season,” said Mullin. “And every game matters if you intend to make it into the tournament.”