Two of the toughest things for an athletic team – in just about any sport – to find and maintain during a season are balance and consistency.
Coach Dylan Mullin’s Derry Senior American Legion Chase Post 9 baseball squad is standing as a local example of that thus far this summer as it struggles to display good pitching, defense, and offense in each contest and put together a run of wins in tough New Hampshire District B.
The locals had contests with the Exeter Legion and Rochester Legion crews separated by lousy weather last week, and the Derry bunch split those two games to have its District B record level out at 4-4.
The senior legion crew bounded toward the holiday weekend with a record which was a notch above the .500 mark (4-3) thanks to a hit-packed, 10-7 defeat of the Exeter crew in Derry on the final evening of June.
Derry pitcher Josh Yaratz nearly managed a complete-game performance, going 8 2/3 innings allowing six hits, two walks, and four earned runs while striking out six batters. His teammate Matt Tritto pitched to the final batter of the night and got him out to earn the save.
Offensively, Chase Spears and Kyle Albertelli each smacked three hits for the winning side, with Spears hammering a triple and driving in two runs and Albertelli driving in three teammates.
Mullin’s bunch then had a much-anticipated rematch with the Hudson Legion crew cancelled by inclement weather last Thursday, July 3.
And it’s possible that the Derry contingent wished that its home game against the tough Rochester crew never happened at all this past Sunday, July 6, either.
After days of rainy weather, the local hardball squad found itself with a truly magnificent, warm but not steamy day with a pleasing easterly breeze. But the Sunday game started out ugly for the Post 9 side and wound up in an error-filled, 9-4 loss to a Rochester squad which moved to an excellent 6-2 with its victory.
In the top of the first inning, two dropped third strikes followed by errant throws allowed Rochester to score a run without smacking even a single hit. But Derry rebounded in the latter half of the first frame to get that run back when Joe Murphy led off with a single and Ben Curry followed with a base-hit of his own. Moments later that crafty duo pulled off a delayed steal which allowed Murphy to bag the tying run.
But Rochester took advantage of the hosts’ third and fourth errors of the game – in just the top of the third inning – to score twice more and snare a 3-1 lead.
The Derry team answered in the bottom of the third and bagged their first and only lead of the day.
With two men out and two men on in that inning, Pinkerton all-state star Chris Gerossie hammered a long double to left field to score both of his teammates, and Gerossie scampered home himself shortly thereafter when Spears laced a single as Derry snared a 4-3 lead.
But the host team wouldn’t manage even one more run against three Rochester pitchers the rest of the way, and the visitors plated two runs in the fifth, three in the sixth, and one more in the seventh to roll on to their 9-4 win.
The Derry defense ended up committing a total of seven lamentable miscues in the loss, and the fact that Rochester stranded at least one runner on base in every single inning – and a total of 14 – shows that the lopsided outcome could have been even more lopsided.
Chase Spears was on the mound for Derry through the first 5 1/3 innings and took the pitching loss, but reliever Tritto finished up and held aggressive Rochester to just four hits.
One other positive for the host team was the fact that it smacked out a solid nine hits (to Rochester’s 12), with Murphy and Curry each lacing two.