PA Baseball Rolls to Pair of Fine Tournament Wins

In just his second season at the helm of the Pinkerton Academy varsity baseball squad, coach Steve Campo can already say he brought his Astros within spitting distance of a state championship.

The third-seeded academy crew made its way into the D-I semifinals this week by driving past the number 14 Manchester Central Little Green and the 11th-ranked defending state champs from Exeter High in preliminary and quarterfinal-round contests last week.

The Astros had little trouble getting past the preliminary round of the D-I tournament, handing the   Little Green a humbling, 11-1 defeat in Derry on Thursday, June 5.

Neither side did any scoring until the top half of the third inning, when the Manchester side plated its lone run. But Pinkerton answered with the tying marker in the bottom of that frame, and the locals later exploded for five runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to make the game a blowout.

Pinkerton starting pitcher John Polichetti pitched 3 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before turning over the pitchers’ mound to Chris Gerossie, who hurled the remaining 2 2/3 and allowed three measly hits as his offense got untracked and won the tourney contest.

The victorious Astros bashed out 11 total hits, with eight players collecting them. And that charge was paced by Chase Spears, who smacked three safeties and drove in two runs. Tom Diskin collected two hits, claiming one RBI.

The two teams had met up on May 5 in the Queen City, with the academy side bagging a 12-7 victory.

The defending state champions from Exeter – who lost a lot to graduation following their spring 2013 title win, including D-I Player of the Year Ethan Joyce – gave Pinkerton a considerably larger challenge in quarterfinal-round play last Saturday, June 7, in Derry.

But some simply masterful pitching from veteran Connor Donahue, superb defense in his support, and just enough offense led the locals to a 4-0 tourney win that ended the Blue Hawks’ hopes of a 2014 title repeat.

Righty hurler Donahue spun himself a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings on the balmy afternoon, losing the no-no on a ringing single to left field by Blue Hawk Colin Graham in the seventh frame.

But that was one of very few hiccups for Donahue and his teammates on that day, as the pitcher struck out six batters, walked four, and allowed only one hit in bagging the complete-game victory.

“I felt really good the whole way,” said Donahue. “Its been a week since I pitched, so I felt strong from the start.”

The Astro offense supported its hurler with a single run on three hits in the third inning, two more markers on three hits and one of Exeter’s three errors in the game in the fifth, and one final run on two hits and another Blue Hawk miscue in the sixth. All in all, the confident and determined hosts smacked out eight hits and played flawless defense themselves.

“In the tournament it’s not the best team that wins, it’s the team that executes best that wins. And we executed well today,” said Campo.

The run that wound up being the game-winner for the Astros came in the third inning when Spears led off with a double, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Riley Cahill, and scored on a single by Ryan Day.

Pinkerton added two more runs in the fifth when Spears started off with a single and scored moments later along with Cahill on a two-run single by Joe Murphy.

And Donahue was able to take pride in the fact that he helped to pad the lead further in the bottom of the sixth by lacing a double that scored run number four.

In the wake of the win, the team learned that their semifinal-round tournament opponent would be the seventh-ranked Alvirne High Broncos. That game was slated for Nashua’s Holman Stadium Wednesday, June 11, after Nutfield News press time.